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7 Healthy habits for better mental health

In today's go-go-go, always-on and plugged-in world, mental health pays the price, and it’s gaining more attention than ever.

In today's go-go-go, always-on, and plugged-in world, mental health pays the price, and it’s gaining more attention than ever. As we navigate daily challenges and responsibilities, it's crucial to prioritize our well-being, particularly emotional wellness. 

Luckily, there are some proven strategies to reinforce mental health, which we’ll explore in this article. From the positive impact of regular exercise and limiting screen time to the vital role of quality sleep and stress management, we have eight science-backed strategies to help you cultivate a healthier lifestyle that nurtures your mind and helps restore balance and harmony.


  1. Move Your Body

Exercise is not just a boon for physical health; it also plays a crucial role in improving mental well-being. Research has shown that regular physical activity can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, elevate mood, and boost brain health. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week—more if possible—and prioritize both strength and cardio training.


  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

The food we eat has a profound impact on our mental health. A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins provides essential nutrients that support optimal brain function. Studies have linked certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish, to improved mood and cognitive function. A recent study highlighted the positive effects of a Mediterranean diet on mental health outcomes, specifically anxiety, depression and stress. 


  1. Prioritize Getting More Sleep

Quality sleep is vital for mental health and well-being. We’re talking seven to nine hours a night—as often as possible. Poor sleep can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression, impair cognitive function, and increase the risk of mental health disorders. Research published by emphasizes the importance of establishing a consistent sleep routine and practicing good sleep hygiene to promote restful sleep and enhance mental health.


  1. Manage Your Stress Levels

Chronic stress can take a toll on our mental health, leading to a range of emotional and physical problems. Implementing stress management techniques such as mindfulness meditation, breathwork exercises, or yoga—are proven to be effective for managing stress in this 2021 study—may help regulate your nervous system and better cope with stress.


  1. Stay Socially Connected

While you might be tempted to cancel plans and stay in, forcing yourself to connect with friends and family—at least on occasion—goes a long way for mental health. Maintaining meaningful relationships with friends and family, participating in social activities, and fostering a sense of community can provide emotional support and combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Recent research published in Frontiers highlighted the association between social connectedness and improved mental health outcomes.


  1. Limit Screen Time

Excessive screen time, especially on social media, has been linked to increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Setting boundaries for screen use, engaging in offline activities, and practicing digital detoxes can help individuals maintain a healthy relationship with technology and protect their mental well-being. Research consistently underscores the importance of limiting screen time for better mental health.


  1. Seek Professional Support

And remember, there’s no shame in therapy; thankfully, that stigma is being dismantled in today’s day and age. Seeking help from a mental health professional is a powerful step in managing mental health challenges. Therapists, counsellors, and support groups can provide valuable support, guidance, and resources to those struggling with mental health, and it’s firmly backed by science. Research has consistently shown the effectiveness of psychotherapy and counselling in treating various mental health conditions. 

About the Author


Alicia is a journalist and editor in digital and print media specializing in health, nutrition, fitness, and wellness. She was previously the Editorial Director of Clean Eating and Vegetarian Times. Her work has also appeared in Hone Health The Edge, Yoga Journal, Women’s Running, and Oxygen, among others. In addition to being a content creator, she's an ISSA-certified nutritionist, certified personal trainer, and fitness studio owner in Toronto. Alicia loves spreading the word about helpful, science-backed health information, and she can be contacted via her website at