Here are some simple and easy habits that are scientifically proven to make a real difference to your mental health
Making mental health part of your routine 🔁
Everyone has mental health, and just like your physical health, you can do small things everyday that help to keep it in check. It’s all about being proactive so that you are less likely to suffer from poor mental health.
We’ve done a little research on things that you can do to help support your mind. We haven’t forgotten about spending less time on social media and drinking less alcohol, but we wanted to offer some different ideas which are also scientifically proven. Here are just a few.
Connect with others 💚
Humans are social beings and our brains crave social interaction. Connecting on the phone or via social media isn’t always going to cut it, you need good old face-to-face contact to keep your brain happy.
In her book “The Village Effect”, Psychologist Susan Pinker writes that face-to-face contact releases a whole bunch of neurotransmitters that “act as a vaccine” and protect you now, and well into the future, from the effects of stress. These clever chemicals are so good for us that they can even help us to recover from illness more effectively.
Robert Waldinger, the director of a 75 year Harvard Study of Adult Development, found that being socially connected is good for happiness, physical health and can help with your memory too.
Here are some simple suggestions to help release your inner social butterfly and enjoy the amazing benefits of human connection:
🦋 Switch off your phone when you meet with friends
🦋 Save your news & gossip for a face to face chat
🦋 Arrange a regular meet up, to make things more routine
🦋 Get out of your comfort zone and try something new - to meet new people
Get creative 🎨
From staying socially connected to something you can do at any time, in your own space and mindset. Next on our list is getting creative.
Did you know that being creative can help:
Doing something creative has been compared to meditation due to it’s calming effects on the brain.
Research has found that spending time doing something creative hugely helped individuals to cope during the pandemic too. This is supported by Smith (2016) who observed that taking part in a creative act helps to manage emotions in a more positive and productive way.
And the best bit? Anyone can get creative! Here are some ideas that you can do to get that creative flare going. And remember, there doesn’t need to be an end goal - the aim of the game is to enjoy wherever your creativity takes you!
Enjoy the great outdoors 🌳
Spending time in nature is perhaps one of the most scientifically proven concepts when it comes to looking after our mental wellness. It's also easy, free, accessible and best of all - totally enjoyable!
Studies have found that spending time outdoors - whether that be in your garden, a park, or simply a short walk outdoors during your break - can help us to destress, unwind and regain mental clarity.
You don't need to drive to a well known beauty spot either - any green space amongst nature and wildlife will do the trick.
Learn more about the connection between nature and mental health in our article below.
Listen to a podcast 🎧
Something easy and accessible to everyone - podcasts are great for you and your mind in real-time.
Whether they are dishing out self-help tips on how to better yourself, teaching you something new or just there to get you laughing, they are a great (and free!) way of exercising your mind and getting those feel-good, happy brain chemicals flowing.
We love to enjoy a podcast when we're doing some cleaning, cooking a meal or taking a walk. You can even seek out a calming, meditative podcast to help you unwind before bed - for a deep and restorative night's sleep.
Here are some of team Rheal's favourite podcasts:
What to read next 📚
Now that you're armed with expert knowledge and practical advice, let's turn those good intentions into actions.
Check out our article below to learn how you can create healthy habits that will last - to nurture better mental health and much more.
- Pinker, S. (2015) The village effect: Why face-to-face contact matters. London: Atlantic books.
- Waldinger, R. (no date) What makes a good life? lessons from the longest study on Happiness, Robert Waldinger: What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness | TED Talk. (Accessed: 14 September 2023).