It is easy to forget the importance of your mental and emotional health amidst the media focus on your physical appearance. Your emotional and mental health, however, are essential to your happiness and overall wellness. The challenge to building healthy mental habits, just like healthy eating habits, is starting.
So how do you create healthy mental habits for yourself? Start by changing the way you think about yourself by using these four simple steps to make your new healthy mentalities habit. Then you can check out our top mental habits that can help improve your mental and emotional health.
4 Steps to Creating Healthy Mental Habits
Change your life and way of thinking with these four steps to improve your mental and emotional health:
1. Decide You Want to Make a Change
Every change or new habit is reliant on one person — you.
Changes start because your decisions no longer provide the same benefits. Each night, for example, you have some wine to relax, but now you are groggy and slow at work. Your work performance now outweighs the wine’s benefit.
Decide to make a change and then discover what needs to change.
2. Identify What Needs to be Adjusted to Cause a Change
Find what you need to change to create a catalyst in your life.
You may say, “I want to drink less,” without thinking about why the habit started. Understanding your behaviors is key for how to be emotionally healthy.
Witness consciousness is a behavioral analysis of yourself, without rose-colored glasses. You may find, for example, your underlying motivation for drinking is because of unhappiness in your relationship. The cause of your habit may surprise you, but it is important to know it so you can make a change to improve your mental health.
3. Shift Your Focus
Shift your focus to explain why you are ignoring instead of solving a problem.
In the ongoing example, perhaps you use alcohol instead of communication because you are worried about a potential separation. Maybe you fear others will see you as a failure, or you are afraid of being alone later in life.
Use this newfound understanding of yourself to build a new habit, such as communicating more with your partner or starting anew.
4. Reframe, Script and Rehearse Your Change
Set yourself up for success by reframing, scripting and rehearsing your change.
Reframe your expectations by believing in yourself. Remember, for example, that you successfully communicate with people every day or recall your accomplishments before your relationship.
Support your change with an inner monologue script. Use your script to stop old habits and embrace your new ones. Commit and establish your new habit by rehearsing and enacting it. Instead of pouring another drink, tell yourself to stop and talk to your partner.
Persistence and consistency are key to forming a new habit and abandoning old ones.
5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health
Healthy mental habits are key ways to improve your mental health. Here are our top five mental health habits:
1. Learn From Your Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. It is a part of learning. Avoid opening yourself to a wave of self-criticism by looking at your mistake as a learning opportunity.
Create a list of what you did right and what factors were within your control. Now, what on the list can you improve or change for the next time? Add those improvements to your list to train your skills and boost your future successes.
2. Find Meaning in Loss and Tragedy
A loss can be devastating to your mental and emotional health. It takes time to adapt to your new way of life, but it is important you find meaning and grow after a loss.
Look at what you have learned or gained since the tragedy. Maybe you have a greater appreciation for life or have become more involved with your local community, for example.
3. Nurture and Grow Your Self-Esteem
How to be emotionally healthy in the long-term depends on breaking the habit of beating yourself up for every mistake. Treat your emotional and mental health as an immune system. Protect it just like you do your physical immune system.
Nurture your emotional immune system and handle your negative internal comments as if your best friend were saying it to himself or herself. What would you tell them? Write that down and save it for yourself.
4. Resist the Urge to Focus on the Negatives
Mistakes or embarrassing situations are easy to focus on non-stop. Do not beat yourself up over the negatives. Concentrate on how to improve and learn from the mistake.
And then move onto to other things, beating yourself up does not help you move forward.
5. Disrupt Self-Defeating Behaviors
Self-defeating behaviors, like isolation, form unhealthy habits. Isolation, for example, is used to protect yourself from rejection, but it only increases loneliness.
List and recall the qualities and things you admire about yourself to stop your self-defeating behavior. You have something worth saying, so write out why.
Be Mindful of Your Mental Habits
How you create healthy mental habits starts with awareness. Understand how your individual habits, such as your reactions to events or situations, affect your personal mental and emotional health.
Form healthy habits using the above ways to improve your mental health. Strong mental health and consistent, beneficial habits help promote overall mental wellness and a healthy emotional immune system.