Building healthy habits: Sustainable practices for mental wellness

Building healthy habits: Sustainable practices for mental wellness

Habits are powerful. They can either help or hinder our progress in life. The habits we develop can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health, relationships, and productivity. However, building healthy habits that promote sustainable mental wellness is not only achievable but also essential for leading a fulfilling life. 

Understanding mental wellness

Mental wellness refers to a state of wellbeing in which an individual can cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, and contribute to their community. It is not merely the absence of mental illness but involves the presence of positive characteristics such as a sense of purpose, life satisfaction, and the ability to manage stress.

Sustainable practices for mental wellness

1. Exercise

The key is to find the right type of exercise for you – whether that means joining a casual sports team, going for walks with a friend or a pet, or doing yoga from the comfort of your own home. Physical activity has been shown to help clear the mind, improve self-worth, and reduce depressive and anxious feelings.

2. Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. It can help reduce stress, enhance emotional regulation, and improve overall mental wellbeing. Meditation, a practice often associated with mindfulness, can help calm the mind and increase self-awareness.

Start with just a few minutes of mindfulness or meditation each day and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable. There are numerous apps and online resources available to guide you through the process.

3. Sleep

Earlier, research suggested that poor sleeping habits were caused by mental health disorders, but more recent research suggests that poor sleep can be the cause of mental health problems or make them worse. Following a healthy bedtime routine could make you feel happier and calmer and more focused throughout the day. 

4. Nutrition

Your diet is a significant part of your life. Cut down on sugary foods and replace them with nutrient-rich foods like fish, veggies, and foods that have healthy fats such as avocados. These habits have been shown to reduce depressive symptoms in adults.

5. Community and relationships

Whether the support comes from family, a partner, friends, coworkers, or even pets, feeling connected to those around you can increase a sense of purpose and love in your life. Identify ways to create community.

Humans are inherently social creatures, and maintaining strong social connections is vital for mental wellness. Make time to connect with family and friends regularly. Join social groups or clubs that align with your interests, and don’t hesitate to seek support when you need it.

6. Journaling

Journaling is a great tool that allows you to reflect and process your thoughts and emotions. Sifting through these complex feelings can help you relieve stress, identify problems more clearly and improve your self-awareness.

Journaling can even promote positive thinking, allowing you to focus and declutter your mind. So remember, journaling isn’t just for when you’re feeling sad, stressed or anxious, it can be used as a daily ritual to help you support your overall mental wellbeing.

7. Professional help

Sometimes, self-care practices are not enough, and professional help is needed. Therapists, counsellors, and mental health professionals can provide valuable support and guidance. Therapy can help you understand your emotions, develop coping strategies, and work through mental health issues.

8. Relaxation and recreation

In our busy lives, it can be easy to forget about the hobbies we used to love or to make time to sit down and enjoy a book. Building in time to do the things you enjoy will give you a happier frame of mind and give you more energy to deal with difficult emotions when they arise.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that mental health is closely tied to physical health. Treating them both with care and working on your overall wellness will make you feel better in several ways.


Building healthy habits for sustainable mental wellness is a continuous journey. It involves making intentional choices and creating routines that support your mental health. By incorporating regular physical activity, mindfulness, adequate sleep, a balanced diet, social connections, and professional help when needed, you can foster a resilient and fulfilling mental wellness. Remember, small, consistent changes can lead to significant improvements in your mental health over time.


1. How long does it take to form a new habit for mental wellness?

Forming a new habit can vary from person to person, but research suggests it takes about 21 to 66 days to establish a new behaviour. Consistency and commitment are key to making these habits stick.

2. Can diet affect my mental health?

Yes, diet plays a significant role in mental health. Nutrient-rich foods support brain function and can help reduce symptoms of mental health disorders. Conversely, a poor diet high in processed foods and sugars can negatively impact mood and energy levels.

3. What if I don't have time for exercise or mindfulness practices?

Even small amounts of exercise and mindfulness can be beneficial. Try to incorporate short bursts of physical activity or brief mindfulness sessions into your day. For example, take a 10-minute walk during lunch or practice deep breathing exercises for five minutes in the morning. Every little bit helps.