Although my blog has been around since the start of 2019, I’ve not really written an article like this one before. But I thought it might be time to collate some of the mental health articles I’ve written. I’ll also add some additional information to complete these mental health hacks.
What Are Mental Health Hacks?
As complex as our brains are, the right techniques can easily trick them. That’s why illusions work. Mental health hacks are simple things we can do that allow us to hack our brains and improve our mental wellbeing.
Mental Health Hacks
We often use affirmations without realising it, accept those affirmations tend to be negative ones. You might know these better as negative intrusive thoughts. Don’t let these negative thoughts dictate what you think about yourself. Instead, start using positive affirmations, either by saying them in your head or allowed, or by writing them in a journal. But, do it everyday so you can build a habit of it and make these positive affirmations become part of who you are.
A self-care jar is a simple way to add variety to your routine. All you need to do is create a self-care jar and fill it with self-care activities you’d like to do. Then, each day, you pick one at random and you do that self-care activity. To find out more about creating a self-care jar, click here.
There is a lot of overlap between breathing exercises and meditation, that they can basically be the same thing. A lot of the breathing exercises used come from meditation. Breathing exercises can be used to manage stress, such as when you’re going to an interview. They can also help with panic attacks. But they’re also good at helping us relax and re-centre ourselves.
Thus, adding this to your daily routine, especially after work, will help you put a line between your work/personal time. So why not end your workday with a nice relaxing breathing exercise? If you’re interested in trying out some breathing exercises, then I’ve got an article that outlines 10 breathing exercises. Click here to read it.
We all consume far too much negative news, because doomscrolling is more attention grabbing. This is where cheerscrolling comes in. Cheerscrolling is the act of looking and reading positive news instead of negative news. So, if you add cheerscrolling to your day, especially at the start of your day, then you’ll feel more positive.
5 a day
In the UK, with have the five fruit and vegetables a day campaign, which is based on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO; NHS). I don’t expect you to go from not having any of your five a day to the full five right away, but just attempt to get at least one a day to begin with. Then increase that as and when you feel ready. If you go all out at the start, you’ll end up giving up. This is why diets don’t work. It’s all about gradual lifestyle changes.
Creating a simple morning routine can help you form a habit that makes starting your day a lot easier. For example, you could start your day by cleaning your teeth, then going to the toilet, washing, and then having breakfast. Keep to this routine for long enough and I’ll became a habit that your brain will always choose to do. Habits are the brain’s energy saving shortcuts.
Sleep can be a major problem for a lot of us, but there is a way to have better sleep. First, establishing a waking up and going to bed routine by getting up and going to bed at the same time, no matter what. This will train your brain to know when your sleep time is. By using a morning routine as outlined above, it’ll enhance your sleep routine.
Creating a night routine will also help establish your sleep routine. Much like the morning routine, create one for getting ready for bed. A simple routine could be to clean your teeth, go to the toilet, wash, change into your nightwear, and then go to bed.
Journalling is the go to self-care strategy. There’s so many things you can do with journalling that can benefit your mental health, from writing about your thoughts to tracking the things you’re grateful for. I even wrote an article about 8 of the best journalling ideas to help get the ball rolling for you. Just click here to find out about these 8 journal ideas.
One really simple thing to do each day is to drink more water. This makes drinking water the simplest hack of the mental health hacks. We often confuse hunger with thirst, so drinking the right amount of water each day can help you feel better. Now, some places say you should drink 2 litres of water a day. However, if you’re eating things like fruit and vegetables, then you’ll be getting a lot of your water from the food you’re eating.
Waking is something almost all of us can do. The simple act of walking can help improve your wellbeing with minimal effort. You could go for a walk around the block, walk a neighbour’s dog, or get off the bus or the tube a stop early and walk home. There’s so many ways to add a bit of walking to your day.
Green spaces do wonders for our mental health, and if you haven’t read my article on this topic, then you should. You can find that article here. Instead of sitting at home or in a cafe drinking your coffee, try to find a green space to sit and enjoy it. And, when you go for that walk, why not go for that walk in a park or at some other green space?
Also, if you’re looking for something to do while enjoying the good weather, you could try going for a picnic in the park. During the pandemic, my friends and I started going out for picnics so we could see each other when the rules allowed us to. It was a great way to socialise and get that the benefits of nature.
This is a simple positive psychology approach to improving your wellbeing, making it one of the easiest mental health hacks. A gratitude diary involves writing about the things you feel grateful for, which are quick to complete and easy to use (O’Leary and Dockray, 2015). This is another great reason for having a journal, because you can use this as your gratitude diary. Each day, write one thing you’re grateful for, and you’re done.
Track your achievements
We often forget to pay attention to our achievements, especially if your mental health is suffering. To combat this, start tracking your achievements, no matter how small, in an achievements diary. This, again, is something you can use a journal for.
Humans are social creatures. A lack of socialising can cause our mental health to suffer, which the pandemic hammered home for all of us. You don’t have to go out and meet people every day, but why not check in with a different friend each day, either by message, a call, or video chat instead? This would help strengthen your social support network, which will increase your resilience to life’s difficulties (Verywell Mind).
It might not seem like much, but music has a powerful hold over us and our emotions. Music can enhance an emotion or be used to change an emotion. So start listening to more music. Create playlists, like a happy playlist and a get pumped up playlist. Just add more of the music you like to your day and you’ll feel better.
The saying that laughter is the best medicine exists because it can be really affective. That could involve watching something that’s comedic, telling a joke or a funny story to friends and co-workers, or watching funny pet videos. Find a way to sprinkle some of that laughter into your daily life, and feel your wellbeing improve.
Mental health hacks have many benefits to our wellbeing. There are many ways you can hack your mental health so you can feel happier and more positive. This list of ways to hack your brain doesn’t end with my list.
You don’t have to do all of these every day, but find the ones that work for you and then find a frequency that works for you as well. I you want to do at least one or two that would work will for you daily. But if you wanted to try them all, then you may want to spread them out over a week.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with using mental health hacks in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.
O’Leary, K., & Dockray, S. (2015). The effects of two novel gratitude and mindfulness interventions on well-being. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(4), 243-245. Retrieved from https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2014.0119 and https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Karen-Matvienko-Sikar/publication/273380512_The_Effects_of_Two_Novel_Gratitude_and_Mindfulness_Interventions_on_Well-being/links/57fbf3df08ae6ce92eb2b2f4/The-Effects-of-Two-Novel-Gratitude-and-Mindfulness-Interventions-on-Well-being.pdf.