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Be kind to your mind

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  Be kind to your mind! Nurturing your mind is as important as nurturing your body, and it will make you better able to handle whatever life throws at you. When it comes to taking care of ourselves, we often focus more on our physical body. However, maintaining your mind is just as important, and there are things we should be doing everyday to improve our mental health. Just like our body needs to get into a routine, so does our brain, and taking the steps to ensure our optimal mental health can have us feeling just as healthy as eating a good kale salad. What better way than to start off small and add in little activities each day? To boost your overall happiness, lower your stress, and even improve your physical health, do these 10 things daily that can help your mental health...
  1. Laughter is the best medicine: Find a reason to laugh every day, several times a day. We all love to laugh and it makes us feel good, but the mental health benefits go beyond us just having a good time. Laughter increases your ability to learn, improves your short-term memory, and reduces your stress levels.
  2. Sit up straight! If you’re someone who slouches at work, you may want to work on your posture. A study published in the journal Health Psychology found that sitting in a slumped position makes you feel more sluggish, fearful, quiet, and hostile than sitting up straight, which instead elicits more happy and powerful emotions.
  3. Exercise daily: Studies have consistently shown us that exercise has positive effects on brain function, anxiety and self-image. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout, but getting your heart rate up and moving your body for at least 20 minutes a day makes a world of difference for your mental health.
  4. Express gratitude: Consider keeping a journal where you write down what you are grateful for daily or even weekly. It can be easy to focus on negatives, but incorporating even a 5-minute gratitude practice into your day can completely alter your mindset. Regular expression of gratitude can help lower stress levels and even improve your immune system.
  5. Spend time outside: Even just spending five minutes in nature can boost not only your mood, but your self-esteem as well, according to research published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Sun exposure will help your brain release the hormone serotonin, which is a natural mood enhancer. So take your lunch or make that business call outside.
  6. Guilty Pleasures! Make a list of up to 10 personal “guilty” pleasures and pursue one every week.
  7. Practice doing small “daily good deeds” everyday: Omitting kind acts can not only benefit someone else, but it can make you feel better as well. Research from the University of British Columbia found that people who regularly do nice little things for people such as holding the door experience reduced anxiety and an increase in mood. Give compliments along the way in your day. Why? Because making others feel good feels good.
  8. Meditate: Add mini relaxation sessions (2-3 minutes each) to your day. Close your eyes, relax, breathe slowly and imagine yourself in a peaceful and serene place. Many studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can ease anxiety and regulate stress, according to Harvard Health.
  9. Sleep: Just because you have other things on your plate doesn’t give you an excuse to put sleep on the back burner. Sufficient sleep energises your brain cells, keeps up your motivation for daily life activities, and gives you a more peaceful feeling about your day.
  10. Read! Turn off the TV, put down your phone and iPad and read a good book.
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