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Activities to Improve Your Mental Health

You can start today! “Mental health is much more than a diagnosis.” -Patricia Harteneck, Ph.D., MBA

Check out her article on 9 ways to improve your mental health today:

For more information, read NAMI’s article here.

Table of Contents

  • Value yourself
  • Write down something you’re grateful for
  • Be mindful of the present moment
  • Take care of your body
  • Spread kindness and positivity

Value yourself

Treating yourself with kindness and respect and avoiding self-criticism can improve your mental health by improving your self esteem and confidence. Read more on NAMI’s blog here.

  • Meditation*
    • Tension Release
      • Inhale while lifting shoulders and exhale when relaxing.
      • Clenching fists (5 seconds) then relax hands. Feel the contrast between tension and relaxation.
      • Read more here.
      • Find which method suits you the most!
    • Apps
      • Buddhify Meditation app designed to fit into a busy modern lifestyle
      • Headspace Guided meditations for work, kids, sleep, focus, stress, and anxiety
      • Calm Focuses on mental fitness, relaxation, and sleep
      • Explore which one works best for you!

*Mindfulness is the awareness of “something”, while meditation is the awareness of “no-thing”. For more information, check out this article here.

Note: You don’t have to stick to one type of journaling. You can mix it up or stick to the same one every day. Whichever one works best for you.

Note: You do not have to have essential oils to practice relaxation techniques and vice versa. Essential oils can be used to improve quality of sleep as well.

  • Maintain self-care routines
    • Self-care is very individualized, and it comes in all kinds of forms. As long as you are doing an activity that benefits your wellbeing, there is no wrong way in practicing self-care. Read more here.
    • Some ideas are…Anything on this page!

Note: Self-care does not have to be fancy or expensive. It can be something as simple as journaling.


Write down something you’re grateful for

Practicing gratitude helps reduce negative emotions, which can improve one’s mental health and wellbeing. Read more on NAMI’s blog here.

Be mindful of the present moment

Mindfulness* activities helps manage thoughts and feelings, which help ease mental stress and anxiety. Read more on NAMI’s blog here.

  • Breathing Exercises
    • Deep Breathing: Take a deep breath. Hold it for about 3 seconds. Exhale and think calm. Repeat a few times.
    • Focus Breathing: Close your eyes. Focus on breathing in. Focusing on breathing out. Repeat several times.
    • 4-7-8 breathing: Place one hand on belly and other hand on chest. Take a deep breath from belly and silently count to 4 as you breathe in. Hold breathe and silently count for 7 seconds. Breathe out all air by the time you silently count to 8 seconds. Repeat until you feel calm.
    • More breathing techniques can be found here.
    • Breathing exercise videos are also available on YouTube.

*Mindfulness is the awareness of “something”, while meditation is the awareness of “no-thing”. For more information, check out this article here.

Take care of your body

Mental and physical health are closely connected, so it is important to take care of both. Read more on NAMI’s blog here.

Note: Treat yourself occasionally. This is one way of treating yourself with kindness.

  • Drink plenty of water

Note: You’re welcome to enjoy and consume other drinks as well, such as tea, smoothies, and drinks with electrolytes.

  • Practice good sleep hygiene*
    • Nap, if necessary, for 20-30 minutes for an energy boost and improve mental performance.
    • Clear mind and relax before going to sleep.
      • Meditation (Check out the options above!)
      • Journaling (Check out the options above!)

Note: You don’t have to do meditation or journaling before going to sleep. Just make sure you are relaxed and calm before going to bed.

*Sleep hygiene: The combination of behaviors/habits and environment surrounding sleep.


Spread kindness and positivity

Sharing is caring. It helps build meaningful and supportive relationships as well as communities for everyone and anyone. It’s also a friendly reminder that you are not alone. Read more on NAMI’s blog here.

  • Podcasts
    • Psychology in 10 minutes Focuses on mental illness stigma
    • Hardcore Self Help Hosted by psychologist Robert Duff talks uses his professional perspective in an approachable way that makes you feel heard.
    • The Struggle Bus Cohosts Katherine Heller and Sally Tamarkin talks about mental health, self-care and “just getting though the damn day”.
    • Check out more mental health podcasts here.

Note: Lots of different mental health podcasts can be found on Google, Spotify, websites, etc.

Make plans with supportive family members, friends, or seek out activities, such a classes or support group

  • Cooking classes
  • Picnics
  • Check in with friends, families, people in general whom you care and love
  • NAMI Support Group
  • NAMI Classes
  • Lots of activities to do with positive people you care and love. Ask and follow through with your plans!
  • Volunteer

NOTE: Not all activities above will work for you and not all activities above work for everyone. If you have any other ideas, suggestions, activities that help improve your mental well being and would like to share it with the public, please feel free to send them to


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