African American man talking to his friend in wheelchair during their walking in the park

The 3 Easiest Habits You Can Adopt for Your Mental Health in 2024

Whether you’re a person who sets New Year’s Resolutions or not, you are probably thinking about some things you can do to make this year better than the last. While change can be overwhelming, especially if you try too much at once, these are three simple habits you can adopt to improve your mental health in 2024. 

Take a Morning Walk 

While many of us want to exercise more, we can get overwhelmed by the number of plans, gym memberships, and classes available to us. Here is a simple idea: just go for a brief walk every morning at sunrise. 

Not only will you feel more awake right away, but you’ll also feel more energy throughout the day. Early morning sun exposure increases your serotonin levels which helps you feel calmer, more focused, and in a better mood.  

Related: The ‘Stupid Mental Health’ Walk Trend 

Practice Deep Breaths 

While everyone breathes, not everyone breathes the same way. In fact, most of us breathe from our chest which gives the breath a shallow quality. This leads to feelings of breathlessness, stress, and anxiety. 

Deep breathing does just the opposite of that! Taking time each day to practice deep breathing can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and stress and anxiety. Here’s how to do it: 

  • Start by taking a comfortable seat. 
  • Breathe into your belly. If you can’t feel it at first, gently rest a hand on your stomach. 
  • Follow the breath into your belly and out again through your nose. 
  • Repeat for a few cycles. 

After even one deep breath, you may notice your jaw unclenching, your shoulders relaxing, and an overall calmer feeling in your mind and body. Try this a few times a day and start to notice how different you feel when you practice this consistently. 

Watch: Dr. Karin Ryan on Breathing Exercises  

Related: Breathing Exercises for Anxiety & Stress 

Reach out to a Friend at Least Once a Week 

We know that friendships are super important to our mental well-being and even our physical well-being. In fact, the US Surgeon General said that loneliness is as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Another study found that close friendships are even more important for health outcomes than diet and exercise. So, how can we keep ourselves connected? 

The best way to ensure you’re getting enough social connection is to try and see a close friend at least once a week. Whether you are meeting up for coffee, going for a walk, or talking on the phone, the most important thing is that you spend time with someone you can be yourself around. 

If you find it difficult to make friends, check out How to Make Friends as An Adult, for some quick tips. 

Related: How to Maintain Friendships 

A Word from Nystrom & Associates 

Improving your mental health in 2024 is not easy, but with these three simple habits, you’ll be well on your way. However, if you find yourself struggling to reach your goals and you're not sure what to do, please reach out! Call 1-844-NYSTROM or request an appointment online, and we’ll find you a match with a person who can help you become the best version of yourself in 2024. 

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