Tips for Better Mental Health -- Live a Healthier Life

Struggling with keeping a positive outlook? These tips for better mental health were developed to assist people in dealing with mental and emotional stress.

We all struggle -- to some degree -- with keeping a positive outlook and maintaining our mental health. Some of us struggle more than others, but mental health is something everyone should monitor and try and improve.

Mental health problems arise when certain events -- family or relationship issues, job stress, or the holidays -- cause unexpected demands and emotional friction that can make even those with the strongest of minds suffer setbacks.

These tips for better mental health were developed to assist you in dealing with times of increased mental and emotional stress, but don't just save them for dealing with the rough times as these tips can also help you practice and maintain better mental health every day of your life.

If you are in crisis, please call 988, which will connect you with a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline counselor. If your mental health issues are the result of trauma, please consider starting a healing journey.

Tips for Better Mental Health

Mental Health Tip 1: Develop Relaxation Techniques

Whether it's learning a few simple breathing exercises or practicing meditation techniques, your goal should be to discover the best techniques to help you relax and calm down. Anxiety and stress can cloud our minds and lead to bad decisions -- and more stress. Furthermore, relaxation techniques have other health benefits, such as helping lower blood pressure, slowing heart rates, and reducing muscle tension.

Hint: One relaxation method is the progressive muscle technique, in which you tighten (5 seconds) and relax (30 seconds) the muscles in your toes, progressively working your way up to your neck and head. For better results, repeat the process if you have time.

Mental Health Tip 2: Focus on the Big Picture

Remember what Richard Carlson says in his best-selling book of the same name: don't sweat the small stuff -- and it's all small stuff. It's easy to let a bunch of small setbacks build up into something that drags us down, but you should always try your best to see the bigger picture, pushing aside the insignificant issues so that you can focus on the things that really matter in your life.

Hint: Setting your sights on the important stuff will help you rise above the sea of smaller aggravations.

Mental Health Tip 3: Take a Moment

Remove yourself from the stress -- even if just for a short while. In anger management, participants are told to count to 10 before reacting because even that short a period of time allows the brain time to sort through the issue. Rather than having a mental meltdown or spewing a litany of negativity or anger, take a moment to remove yourself from the stressful situation and allow your brain to process the stress and deal with it properly.

Hint: Whenever possible, combine this tip with any of the others in this article to truly guard your mental health.

Mental Health Tip 4: Get Some Exercise

Exercising (anything from walking to yoga to kickboxing) offers many benefits for your mental heath. First, engaging your body and muscles helps push stress and tension out from your system. Second, achieving a certain level of performance releases endorphins in your brain, triggering happy feelings (and in some cases, to induce pure euphoria). Third, an exercise session often clears your mind, leading to creative and unexpected solutions to the problems that have been nagging at you.

Hint: Make the time -- 30 minutes to an hour -- to exercise daily for better mental and physical health.

Mental Health Tip 5: Escape Through Daydreaming

If you're like most people, you probably daydreamed a lot as a child -- but not so much now that you're an adult. Embrace your inner child. Taking time out to imagine yourself as a superhero saving the world -- or something more simple, such as vacationing on your favorite beach or mountaintop -- can provide you with a few minutes of peace and fill you with happiness. Daydreaming is escapism, but there is nothing wrong with escaping reality when your mental health depends on it.

Hint: Keep your daydreams short -- not like the wonderful (and fictional) daydreams created by James Thurber for his Walter Mitty character -- and use a visual aid (such as a favorite photo) to spark your daydreaming.

Mental Health Tip 6: Use Positive Self-Talk

To paraphrase Al Franken's fictional character Stuart Smalley -- which he made famous on Saturday Night Live -- say something to yourself every day like... "I'm good enough and gosh darn it, I deserve it." Positive affirmations and self-talk are proven methods of improving both mental outlooks and actual behavior. Positive affirmations are designed to lift your spirits and mentally pat yourself on the back.

Hint: If you want to write your own affirmation, it's best to use the present tense, keep it short and specific, and, of course, create positive affirmations rather than negative statements. (For example, "I am a good and honest person, with many great attributes.")

Mental Health Tip 7: Take One Thing at a Time

Sometimes it's not the negativity (of ourselves or others) or the magnitude of something that affects our mental health, but our inability to handle the pressure of seemingly having too many things to do at one time. This issue may be part procrastination and part time management and part circumstances, but regardless of the cause, your mental focus must be on each project's deadlines -- and to not let the sense of being overwhelmed freeze you into inaction and negative thoughts.

Hint: When things get really stressful, use something as simple as a to-do list or master calendar to keep everything in order.

Mental Health Tip 8: Seek Out Greatness

Taking a break from your routine to watch a great (or favorite) movie, listen to inspiring music, laugh at your favorite comedian, or view some beautiful art can be a great uplift. Not only will you have a temporary diversion from your troubles, but the strong emotional reaction you receive from the source can provide just the lift you need to tackle the troubles you face.

Hint: Being inspired can have benefits well beyond lifting your spirits and improving your mental health (because experts theorize endorphins are released in certain situations) so seek out greatness regularly.

Mental Health Tip 9: Pamper Yourself

Do something to treat yourself, such as eating a favorite little (healthy) snack, taking a 30-minute nap, catching a movie matinee, indulging in a massage, or relaxing with a warm bath. Doing something just for you -- taking care of yourself -- away from the stresses and rush of the day can be doubly rewarding as it not only breaks the routine of the day, but also allows you to do something just for yourself.

Hint: Dark chocolate is not only healthy for you in small bites, but it also triggers a small endorphin release in your brain -- a win-win! But remember to only eat no-sugar chocolate, such as Lily's.

Mental Health Tip 10: Feel the Love

One of the biggest emotional rushes can come from the love of a significant other, parent, child, sibling, as well as from friends -- and even your dog or cat. Seek out someone who will not be judgmental, but will give you some moments of unconditional love and support. Avoid the emotional blackmail folks who appear to be providing you with love and support, only to put you down or make you end up feeling worse.

Hint: Nothing beats the unconditional love of a dog or a child for an immediate injection of love and belongingness. Make it a point to have a hug-a-day -- at a minimum.

Final Thoughts on Improving Mental Health

While easier said than done, you can take positive actions to change your mental outlook in both the short-run and long-term. The greatest part about these tips is that none of them takes much effort to accomplish -- while providing you with at least a temporary reprieve from the things that are troubling you -- and giving you the mental boost you need to carry onward with your life.

Finally, these tips can work for everyone, but obviously people who suffer from mental depression or other mental ailments will need more than these tips to lead a normal and healthy life. In these situations, please seek the counsel of mental health professionals to diagnose and prescribe the care needed.

Please look into starting a healing journey and consider all of the wholesitic modalities for healing. Finally, I would be remiss in not highlighting the amazing research in the power of psychedelic substances to assist in healing past trauma, improving mental health, and removing the need for pharmaceutical support for your depression or anxiety.

Finally, please remember to practice good mental health habits daily.

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.