If you’re constantly feeling frustrated, stressed, or riddled with anxiety, it’s time to take a step back and focus on how to improve your mental health.
To that end, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tips on how to karate chop stress, depression, and anxiety like a badass mental health ninja. There are 33 tips in this article, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.
So explore beyond what you read today. The most important thing is that you find what works best for you. After all, you deserve to be happy, even if you’re a part-time @sshole.
33 Kickass Tips To Improve Your Mental Health Right Now
Remember to breathe when you’re feeling down and out. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain that it’s time to calm the f*ck down (except not in those exact words.) If you need some extra help in this department, check out my seven breathing exercises that’ll help slow down your heart rate and lower your stress levels in a jiffy.
It’s no secret that exercise unleashes endorphins within your body like an army of rabid “Pacmen” that devour little snack pellets of stress, depression, anxiety. According to WebMD, “many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.”
Your body needs plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants (looking at you, blueberries!), omega 3 fatty acids (sup, flaxseeds?), lean proteins (hey, beans, peas, and lentils), and whole grains like oats and quinoa to help improve mental health. Eating right will give your brain more of what it needs to function at its best and keep you feeling great.
Here’s a crazy idea: Make time to communicate with people who make you happy. Having positive relationships in your life will improve your mental health, so get out of that toxic relationship you keep returning to and start socializing with people who add value to your life rather than those who drain your positivity to feed their inner demons.
If you inspect my closets and drawers, you’ll find the figurative words “Marie Kondo Was Here” etched into the furniture. There is indeed life-changing magic in the art of tidying up. I don’t know about you, but living in a decluttered space has helped me feel more relaxed and relieved of stress, especially when the chaos of the outdoors starts to get too overwhelming.
Make Your Bedroom a Haven
Since you spend approximately one-third of your life in your bedroom (unless you sleep in a yurt), why not turn it into a feel-good haven? Whether it’s creating a cozy space to read, scenting your pillows with lavender oil, or hanging up beautiful images of places that make you happy, a supportive bedroom environment is a fantastic way to boost your mental health.
Practice Mindful Meditation
This is by far one of the best ways to improve mental health. Meditation has been known to reduce stress, boost emotions, and help practitioners of this ancient artform maintain a healthy weight. It can also improve your attention span and help you handle tough emotions with more grace and ease, not to mention give you a better night’s sleep.
Speaking of a better quality of sleep, skimping on those much-needed ZZZs is a surefire way to build up stress and anxiety. So be sure to get enough deep, restorative sleep each night. If you’re having trouble counting sheep, check out QWERTYdelight’s Sleep Collection in the Archives. You’ll be yawning blissfully before you know it.
Get Into Nature
A 20-minute dose of sunshine (or moonlight, depending on the season) has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and elevate mood. So be sure to get outside at least once a day, and feel free to toss on some lightweight clothes for this one (weather permitting.) Let your skin soak up that vitamin D and allow your eyes to drink in the beauty of your surroundings. (And then go write a poem, should be so inclined.)
Keep a Journal
If you’re not already an avid journal writer, start by completing QWERTYdelight’s six journaling exercises to improve your life. Countless medical sources agree: Journaling about your feelings is linked to decreased mental distress. In one study, researchers found that those with various medical conditions and anxiety who wrote for 15 minutes three days a week over 12 weeks had increased feelings of well-being and fewer depressive symptoms after just one month.
They say that laughter is the best medicine. To get some chuckles out of your desperate state of mind, check out some of the best comedy specials available on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and other streaming platforms. These can help counteract mental fatigue while improving your mental health (just go easy on the popcorn.)
Consider planning a getaway with friends or family. This time away from the reality of your everyday life can completely change your mindset and help you realize that there’s more to life than work.
Show Some Love
People with low self-esteem, or simply those who are going through a tricky time, are vulnerable to depression and anxiety. So make sure you’re constantly showering your friends with love. Give them compliments. Get them a friendship card from Target. Heck, you can even send them a barrage of lovey-dovey emojis via text messages. What you give, you get back. Belee dat.
Get a Pet
Dear Vernie (my dog), thank you so much for your unconditional love. For your awareness when I’m feeling down. The way you approach me gingerly when I’m about to lose my sh*t. For gazing at me with those puppy dog eyes ringed in Egyptian mascara (click for example.) In short, thanks for being a bundle of joy. In return, I will continue to spoil you until you start getting too soft on me.
Cigarettes won’t only cause your mental health to atrophy. It makes you age faster than an avocado left out in the blazing sun. Appearances aside, I must remind you that cigarettes cause more than 480,000 deaths per year, according to the CDC. It also increases your risk of developing a suite of unfortunate diseases, including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, diabetes, and chronic bronchitis.
Take a Bath Once a Week
Soaking in a hot bath is a great way to relax and unwind. Consider using this time to meditate and listen to soothing music for added relaxation. You can also mix in some rose clay or eucalyptus bath bombs for an extra spa vibe.
Fight Off Daily Stress
Worrying about daily stresses is a straight path to anxiety. To reduce your stress levels, start by breathing and mentally distancing yourself from whatever’s giving you grief. Then, take a trip to the gelato store or practice some good ole retail therapy. Taking time to relax and unwind can make a huge difference in improving your overall happiness and well-being.
Break From Monotony
Doing the same thing over and over can lead to boredom and make you feel wildly uninspired. To break from monotony, consider planning a special outing once a week with friends or loved ones. This can be a trip to the museum, botanical gardens, scenic overlook, etc.
Practice Active Listening
Try your best to give others your full attention when they speak. This can be difficult, but listening carefully and acknowledging what someone else is saying shows that you give a f*ck, whether or not you agree with what the person’s saying. For five active listening skills that’ll boost your well-being, check out this article in the Archives.
Some people take pride in perfectionism (good for them!) The downfall is when it causes them stress and anxiety because things are never good enough. Here’s a mind-blowing thought (shared by many creatives, including Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love”): Good enough is good enough. Get things done by letting go of perfectionism.
Don’t Blame Yourself
Don’t blame yourself all the time. Don’t tell yourself that you’re useless, incompetent, or anything else that’ll chip away at your mental health with a “failure ax.” Everyone makes mistakes, so take the time to forgive yourself and move on.
How many times have you missed out on wonderful opportunities because you couldn’t stop overthinking about the possible (negative) outcomes? Here’s the deal: Thought suppression doesn’t work in improving your mental health. In fact, overthinking can lead to more anxiety because it ends up taking over your thoughts. The key is to realize that it’s okay not to have all the answers. Sometimes, going with the flow is the only thing worth thinking about.
Limit Social Media Use
Turning to social media sites when you’re feeling sad or depressed is like trying to catch a luscious bronze tan after applying 1000 SPF. Unless you’re joining feel-good groups that post things like, “Funniest Cat Videos Volume 127,” social media can make you feel shittier than you did a few minutes ago. So do yourself a favor: limit time spent on social networking sites and focus more on improving your mental health.
Don’t Dwell On The Past
Have you ever felt that you would be happier if you could go back in time and change the past? People who blame themselves for things that happened in their lives cling to this feeling. They tend to get stuck and unable to move forward unless they can right some wrongs, even if they have no control over the situation. The simple fact is that the past can’t be changed, no matter how many Marvel movies tell you otherwise. So try your best not to add more pain by dwelling on the past.
Understand the Difference Between “Shoulds” and Obligations
It’s important to understand the difference between things you should do and things you feel obligated to do. “Shoulds” often come from our egos, telling us we need to achieve certain goals so that people will think highly of us. The truth is that this can bring us more misery than happiness. So please, stop “shoulding” yourself to death.
Take Up A Hobby
Do you feel like your life is too monotonous? If so, taking up a hobby can be a great way to spice things up. This can also help reduce stress, fend off daily boredom, and improve your overall happiness and well-being. So pick up an instrument, learn a new language, or do some oil painting with a group in a BYOB environment (just don’t get too drunk.) Looking for a special deal? Groupon is your BFF.
Forgiveness is an important practice to master in your journey toward improved mental health. Think about it. If you’re constantly holding on to grudges and resentment, how can you expect to move forward or grow in a positive direction? Holding on to anger and bitterness is carcinogenic (in my opinion), so ask yourself if holding on to anger is really worth it.
Get Rid of Toxic People
To improve your mental health, you have to surround yourself with people who are actually good for you. In other words, it’s time to rid your life of toxic people who suck the happiness out of you and bring only negativity. This can be difficult when family members are involved, but it’s something you have to do if you want to improve your mental health.
Exit the Echo Chamber
Echo chambers are formed when your set of principles, beliefs, and value systems are reinforced by others who share the same set of principles, beliefs, and value systems. In these chambers, alternative ideas aren’t welcome. The ones that rule are the ones shared by all. Needless to say, this is a shitty way to stifle progress and deprive yourself of gaining new perspectives on life. To exit the echo chamber, check out this article in the Archives.
Silence the Fear-Mongers
Fear-mongering is a form of manipulation that elicits or arouses fear in others by using exaggerated rumors or falsehoods of impending danger. It can be easy to give in to fear-mongers who will tell you that all of your problems have no end, but this is hyperbole at its worst. Fear mongers exert control by inspiring fear, which is a powerful emotion. Thankfully, these five badass steps will help you kick some major fear-mongering ass, thus allowing you to live your absolute best life.
Avoid the Traps of Time
There’s a notion shared by many people that their time on Earth is limited. As a result, they have to make their mark quickly while there’s still a chance. But this is a bunch of malarkey. You have plenty of time to do amazing things that will improve your quality of life. Don’t sink into a deep and dark depression because circumstances in life got in the way of manifesting your wildest hopes and dreams. I’ll say it again: there is time yet, dear reader. So hang on!
Get Help If You Need It
If you’re struggling with improving your mental health, it’s always a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional and find help. I hope this list makes a positive impact on your life. If you have a favorite tip, let me know in the comments. 🙂