There are many aspects of today’s world that can undermine your well-being: high stress levels, excessive busyness, fewer social interactions, and so on. And not to mention a global pandemic that is happening all around us! Your well-being and quality of life are essential to your happiness and health. Self-care is difficult in today’s busy world, but forming habits that automatically enhance your well-being will make self-care a bit easier. Read on for ideas about 5 habits that enhance well-being. And for more on how to make self-care a habit this year, check out a recent blog of ours.
1. Be aware of your thoughts
You may not always realize when you get stuck in a negative thought cycle or are experiencing racing thoughts. Being more aware of your thoughts can help you stop rumination and obsessive or repetitive thoughts, which can lead to more control over your mind and increased mindfulness. Trying starting a mindfulness meditation practice to become more aware of your thoughts and increase self-awareness.
You also may be having critical or negative thoughts. Increasing your awareness of negative thoughts gives you the opportunity to replace those thoughts with positive ones. Negative thoughts may also focus on the past or future. Increasing awareness about negative thoughts and even letting them go can help you live in the present. This can increase your sense of calm, your happiness, and ultimately your well-being.
2. Be creative
Being creative and making things with your hands can be rewarding. Making art can allow for increased expression and even allow you drop into a flow state. Creativity has many benefits, and art-making can be a safe way to express your thoughts and feelings. Writing can be cathartic, and journaling can improve cognitive processing and increase self-awareness.
When looking for ways to be creative, you may also discover or rediscover something you are passionate about, which can then lead to greater quality of life and more satisfaction. Engaging in hobbies or passions can also strengthen your brain and improve your mood.
“Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” says John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Exercising can not only improve mood and help you feel more energetic, it also can protect your body from injury and help prevent disease. The easiest way for many people to exercise is to go on a morning walk. Try to make a habit of going on a walk every day–in the morning, after dinner, or whenever works best for you.
Exercise also helps us deal with daily stressors. Stress can reduce well-being and quality of life, and exercise can act as a buffer against stress. If you are able to exercise outdoors, spending time in nature is can be an added benefit for many and can contribute to enhancing well-being.
As many have unfortunately experienced during the global pandemic, isolation can increase levels of mental and physical illness. Those with strong social ties have been shown to be happier and live longer. Though it may be difficult, make it a habit to consistently improve your relationships. This can include learning to set boundaries, being assertive about your needs, reaching out to those you care about, and being vulnerable with people you love.
Spend more time with people who are positive and supportive. Acceptance and friendship are powerful in increasing quality of life, and many people find that connection with others lowers their stress level. Spend less time with those who are judgmental and toxic and less time with those whose company you don’t enjoy.
5. Practice gratitude
One simple and quick way to enhance your well-being and increase your happiness and quality of life is to practice gratitude. Regularly practicing gratitude can rewire your brain to seek out the positive in your life. As your perspective changes, so will your outlook on life. Practicing gratitude can also decrease anxiety which can improve your mood.
Best of all, it only take a couple minutes. Every morning when you wake up, write down three things you are grateful for. You can also try this every night before you go to sleep. The most important part of this exercise is to allow yourself to experience the feelings of gratitude. If you are thankful for a warm, cozy bed, close your eyes and let yourself feel the gratitude for how cozy your bed is in that moment. This practice only takes a few moments, but can lead to more happiness and better well-being.
Are you looking for more support during this stressful time? Please reach out to us. Our team of therapists is here to provide support and guidance. We look forward to connecting with you.
Kate is the Founder and Clinical Director of Sage House Counseling & Art Therapy. With nearly ten years of clinical experience, I partner with you to connect back to your authentic, true self. The self that desires happiness, abundance and greater self-compassion. I work with clients just like you because I believe we all have the innate ability to heal and grow when we are heard and supported.