Positive habits are a major part of healing your mindset and, I daresay, mental health.
Well, by implementing good habits into your life, you create a positive, healthy routine to stick to, which is crucial for our mental health and mindset.
Why are positive habits good for our mindset?
Positive habits don’t just teach us little ways we can live our lives in a mentally, emotionally, and physically healthier way, they also help us build a positive routine, which, is EVERYTHING when it comes to our mindset and mental health.
One of the best acts of self-care I ever gifted myself was a routine.
I get up around the same time, go to sleep at the same time, eat my meals around the same time, work out around the same time, meditate around the same time, journal at the same time, practise self-care at the same time… you get the picture.
While this may sound a tad boring to some, I find that having this routine gives me a purpose and keeps me motivated.
Most importantly, it keeps my mindset and mental health in check.
It takes the stress out of winging it throughout the day after waking up at some random time having no idea where my day’s going.
Some people might thrive off of that kind of lifestyle – as a teenager I did too – but now I’m over 30, stability, sleep, and productivity are what keep me going.
Whenever my routine gets messed up, even for a day, it seriously messes with my mind.
What’s more, by creating positive habits, we also tend to push out negative habits.
For example, instead of getting drunk in the evening, I now do yoga.
I know, who even am I?
What are some positive habits?
Here are some of the best positive habits that I’ve worked really hard on over the years and, as a result, have changed my mindset, mental health and entire life.
#1. Started a Journal Habit
I’ve always kept a journal, ever since I was a child, but, if I’m being completely honest, it was always more of a diary than a journal or planner.
Now, I use my journal for a range of things, including:
- Practising Gratitude: Reflecting on what I’m grateful to have in my life, from tiny things to much bigger things. Practising gratitude is one of the best things you can do for your mindset and was even recommended to me by my therapist.
- Goal-Setting: I set a few goals each day. Depending on how I’m feeling, these goals might be smaller (e.g. to simply get out of bed and brush my teeth, if I’m feeling depressed) or much larger (e.g. to complete a blog post). I always set intentional goals with a clear outcome.
- Affirmations: I write down my affirmations in my journal, as well as say them in my head or, sometimes, even out loud. (I sell affirmation art printables, if you want to check them out.)
- Shadow Work: Assessing and deep-diving into my toxic traits so that I can grow as a person.
While this might seem like a lot, journaling in the morning and before bed has been a really positive habit for me to implement and, honestly, it only takes a few minutes.
#2. Making my bed
To people who don’t struggle to motivate themselves just to get out of bed in the morning, it might sound obvious. However, a massive positive habit to get into is making your bed as soon as you get up.
Even if your mental health is sh***y and you’re just going to crawl right back into it in an hour (or less), just making your bed means you’ve accomplished something for the day. It helps you feel that bit more put together, even when your brain feels anything but.
It sounds simple, right? How can just making your bed complete change your mindset? I don’t know, but it bloody works!
#3. Move Your Body In Ways That Feels Good
Before you roll your eyes so hard you can see what you ate for breakfast: I’m not saying you have to become a marathon runner or powerlifter.
What matters – and what creates the positive habit – is finding a way of moving your body and exercising that you enjoy, makes you feel good, is accessible, and you look forward to.
If you find a form of exercise, whether that’s gentle yoga, swimming, walking, weight lifting or dancing around your kitchen to Megan Thee Stallion, that you genuinely love, you’re much more likely to remain consistent with it. Therefore, it’s much more likely to turn into a positive habit that you keep up for the rest of your life.
A 2011 study found that, ideally, we should be getting around 30 minutes of exercise a day to encourage the release of endorphins, so there’s no need to spend hours jogging on a treadmill – unless that’s what you enjoy, of course.
Endorphins are your ‘happy’ hormones, responsible for your overall sense of wellbeing and positive thinking.
When you release endorphins, you not only feel a little bit better about life, you also feel far more capable of dealing with natural dips in your mental health and problems that do come your way.
#4. responsibility + Accountablity: Tackle problems head-on
A few years ago, I read Mark Manson’s, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck.
In his book, Manson explains how humans learn happiness from solving problems and taking responsibility, rather than blindly skipping through life being mindlessly ‘positive.’
Positive thinking is great, obviously, but not when you start to blindly block out anything even remotely negative that might affect your life. This is when healthy positivity becomes toxic positivity.
Not only is being perpetually high on life in the name of positivity unrealistic (and a little unnerving), it also suggests you’re in denial. Instead of tackling your problems, you’re just burying your head in the sand.
Mark Manson believes that true happiness is gained from experiencing the lows that come with life. If you don’t experience those lows, tackle those problems and face responsibilities, you don’t have anything to compare your highs to. Therefore, you don’t know REAL happiness.
Sure, cut negative, toxic people out of your life – that’s positive, and actually a form of self-care – but don’t put off speaking with your partner about something that’s really bothering you just because you don’t want to appear negative, man.
Get that s**t sorted you’ll feel 100x better, I promise.
I used to be in the habit of stamping down any negative emotions and pretending that my problems didn’t exist, which meant they usually only grew bigger.
Learning to ‘feel to heal’ and to tackle problems head-on instead of ignoring them and allowing them to fester has been a major positive habit for me.
#5. Unplug from social media – Social Media Self-Care
As amazing as social media can be for making friends, finding like-minded people and promoting your business, it can also be toxic.
We’re a competitive bunch. We compare everything about ourselves from looks to income, belongings, and success.
People only show themselves living their best life on social media.
They take selfies when they’re about to go out and have their make-up on point; they post about success as and when it happens, and they only show their wins, not their losses.
I’m guilty of doing this in the past – big time. I think we all are.
The problem is, this causes others looking at our social media accounts to judge their own lives in a negative light.
Even the most secure of us can’t help but compare ourselves once in a while, particularly after a bad day.
So, unplugging and switching off from social media, even if it’s only for a few hours, is a really positive habit to get into.
Switch your phone off – or at least set it aside – and go for a walk or spend some time with a loved one.
Watch a movie or read a book.
If you’re feeling really crazy, clean your kitchen or cook a meal without feeling the need to document it on your Instagram stories.
Get some perspective, realise that your life isn’t actually all that bad, stop comparing yourself to other people and spend time with real earthlings in real life.
#6. Prioritise self-care
I bang on about self-care a lot but it’s a massively important positive habit to get into.
It’s great for your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing and seriously improves your mindset and mental health because you finally start to realise your self-worth.
When you start to value yourself and realise how important self-care actually is, amazing things happen to your outlook on life.
Self-care doesn’t have to be wallowing in a bubble bath getting jacked-up on the scent of bath bombs every night, it could just be:
- Making sure you speak with a loved one over the phone if you live alone
- Washing your hair even though you really can’t be bothered
- Cooking a tasty, hot meal
- Getting a good nine-hour of sleep
- Enforcing boundaries
- Seeing your therapist
- Keeping up-to-date with medication
- Learning to say ‘no’ to situations you’re uncomfortable with
- Shadow work
Putting myself first and making self-care a priority was a seriously positive habit for me and it should be one that you implement ASAP.
#7. Challenging negative self talk
Negative self-talk is our inner voice that tells us that we’re not good enough, that we’re ugly, or useless, or any number of awful things.
Often, our inner voice is more negative and nastier than the worst bullies.
Getting into the habit of challenging this negative self-talk has been a crucial, life-changing positive habit for me as I used to beat myself up on the daily for… basically everything.
Whenever a negative, unwarranted comment about myself pops into my mind, I observe it objectively and challenge it.
I then repeat a positive affirmation to neutralise the negative thought.
Most of the time, challenging the negative thought results in me realising that it’s completely ridiculous and unfounded and that I’m actually pretty awesome.
When you get into the habit of doing this, it becomes second nature and soon the negative self-talk becomes mostly a thing of the past.
Your mind stop automatically going to that dark place because you’ve basically rewired how you think about yourself.
#8. Daily Meditation
I used to think that meditation was a bit ‘woo-woo’ and not really for me.
Boy was I wrong.
I started off small by simply meditating for a few minutes at the same time everyday and then built the time up to 15-20 minutes.
By doing it at the same time every single day (I set an alarm), I got into the habit of doing it pretty quickly.
I never miss a day.
Sometimes, I can only fit in five minutes, but I ALWAYS do it.
Meditation helps settle my mind, feel present, and basically relaxes me beyond belief. I’m so glad I found it.
#9. Repeating affirmations
Just like meditation, I thought affirmations were a bit too ~out there~ for me but, out of desperation to stop hating everything about myself, I finally gave them a go.
Even though I talk to myself inside my own head (and sometimes out loud) every single day, I felt a bit silly repeating these positive, powerful statements when I was feeling the opposite.
After reading advice from experts who believe that affirmations are an amazing positive habit for us to get into in order to heal our relationship with ourselves, I decided to stick with it.
Before long, I no longer felt silly or like a liar for repeating these affirmations about myself. I started to believe them and feel more positive about who I am as a person.
Now that I’ve gotten in the habit of repeating at least one every morning, affirmations have become a massive part of my morning routine and everyday life.
If you want to check out my affirmation art printables, which help you remember powerful affirmations, they’re currently up on Etsy for instant download.