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Habits to Improve
Mental Health

Listen. Habits, they’re inseparable parts of our lives. They dictate our routines, our actions, and our thoughts. And you might ask, why does this matter? It matters because our habits have a profound influence on our mental health and happiness. This blog is dedicated to understanding the science behind habits, examining our own routines, and discovering how we can master habits to build a strong foundation for mental health and happiness.
In the complex landscape of our brains, habits are the routines that have been etched into the neural pathways. They’re formed when a behavior becomes so ingrained that we do it without conscious thought. The repeated activation of these pathways strengthens them, making it easier for us to repeat the behavior in the future. Habits, thus, play a critical role in our actions and decision-making process.
Moreover, habits contribute significantly to maintaining our mental health. They provide structure and predictability to our lives, which can reduce anxiety and stress. When we perform a habitual behavior, our brains also release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. Thus, good habits can be a path towards a healthier, happier mind.
However, not all habits are beneficial. Some can have negative impacts on our mental health and overall well-being. Recognizing these unhealthy habits and understanding their triggers are the first steps towards change. The following exercises can help you reflect on your current habits:
Breaking free from unhealthy habits is not an overnight process. It takes patience, perseverance and the right strategies. Here are some tips:

Create a Replacement Behavior

Find a healthier behavior that can fulfill the same need as your unhealthy habit. For example, if stress triggers your habit of smoking, you might consider taking a walk or practicing deep breathing exercises when you feel stressed

Manage Your Environment

If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional.

Reward Yourself

Positive reinforcement can motivate you to stick to your new behavior. Reward yourself each time you successfully avoid the unhealthy habit.

Seek Support

Modify your environment to remove triggers or cues associated with the unhealthy habit. If you often snack on junk food while watching TV, try keeping healthy snacks in your living room instead.
Creating new habits, especially ones that promote mental health and happiness, is a worthy endeavor. You need to choose the right habits to focus on, ones that resonate with your values and goals. It can be helpful to start small, with habits that are easy to incorporate into your daily life.
Once you’ve chosen your new habit, set achievable goals. If your new habit is to exercise more, you can start with 10 minutes of exercise a day and gradually increase the duration as the habit becomes more ingrained.
Creating a plan for implementation is crucial. This plan should include when and where you will perform your new habit. Consistency is key to habit formation.
In the journey to mastering habits, consistency is your friend. A consistent routine provides predictability, a comforting aspect for our brains.
But staying consistent can be challenging, especially when faced with obstacles or distractions. Here are some tips:

Download for an ebook Eliminating Distractions

Habit stacking, an interesting concept, can supercharge your efforts towards building new habits. It involves pairing a new habit with an existing one, creating a powerful trigger for the new behavior.
For example, if you’re trying to develop a habit of daily gratitude, you can stack this habit onto your existing habit of having morning coffee. As you sip your coffee, take a few moments to jot down things you are grateful for. This way, your morning coffee acts as a trigger for your new gratitude habit.
Habit stacking not only makes it easier to remember to perform your new habit, but also strengthens the neural connections associated with the behavior, making it more likely to stick.
Accountability, a powerful tool, can support your habit-forming journey. By holding yourself accountable, you increase your commitment to your goals. You can do this by sharing your goals with a friend or family member, or by joining a group with similar goals.
Support systems and resources can provide encouragement and guidance. Celebrate your progress, irrespective of how small. These victories are evidence of your resilience and strength.
Habits aren’t set in stone. They require ongoing evaluation and adjustments. It’s important to stay motivated and committed to your goals.
Maintaining and refining habits, it’s part of the process. Sometimes, you may need to tweak your habits to better fit your lifestyle or to overcome new challenges. Always remember, habits are a tool to enhance your life, not a strict regimen to be followed without flexibility.

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In summary, mastering habits is a rewarding pursuit that can create a strong foundation for mental health and happiness. With patience, perseverance, and the right strategies, we all have the capability to shape our habits and, subsequently, our lives.
So, embark on this journey to master habits. Not just for the sake of getting better at things, but for mental health, happiness, and ultimately, a fulfilling life. Because, after all, aren’t we all in pursuit of that?