1. Social Belonging.
Do people want to spend time with me? Belonging to friend groups and having people want to spend time with us is critical for our mental health and wellbeing. Instead of adding positive people, try focusing on quality and removing negative people.
2. Find Great Comparisons.
Comparing ourselves to others is an inescapable part of human life (John makes more money than me, Suzy is prettier than me, Steve is smarter than me). Our comparisons can either make us or break us. Instead of letting unconscious comparisons control our lives — we can proactively pick who and how we compare. Find people you aspire to be like and model their thinking and behaviors.
3. Challenge Yourself.
Our brain is wired to be productive and progressively grow. Therefore, engage in activities that stretch ourselves to create a sense of accomplishment and value. It can be as simple as taking the stairs to reading a book, or working harder at the office. Maybe take a course you know nothing about or travel somewhere you have never been. Stretch yourself!
4. Do Work you Love.
We spend the majority of our awaken life working. Choosing work that is meaningful–where we feel our actions create impact–is a profound way to feel valuable, experience purpose in life, build friends, and impact others. Don’t sacrifice money for meaning.
5. Meaningful Consumption.
Buying things is a way to reward ourself. And we all deserve meaningful rewards. 1) Buy experiences (instead of possessions), 2) Focus on quality (instead of quantity), 3) Reward purchases with progress (e.g., Buy watch when you hit a promotion), and 4) Give to others (e.g., donate to charity).
6. Put Yourself in Other’s Shoes.
Perspective is a powerful tool. Nothing is more humbling and energizing than understanding how others see the world. Empathizing can enable so many benefits to more friends, deeper relationships, to improving our thinking. Ask more questions and trying seeing other’s rationale for why they do what they do.
7. Find the Silver Lining.
My brother died at 16 from a rare disease. To me his death has been the best thing to ever happen to me. I embrace his loss and use it to empower my life. To my mother the death was negative, enabling a nervous, fearful view of the world and excessive worrying about the worst outcome. How we see the world is a simple matter of perspective.
8. Move the Body to Move the Mind.
The #1 reason I exercise is for my mind —it stimulates ideas, creates clarity of mind, builds energy, and makes me feel on top of the world feeling. Don’t care for going to the gym? Try Yoga (meditation) or running (runners high). Try sitting less. Move more to gain mental health benefits.
9. Reduce Reliance on Technology.
Technology is a time suck. Smartphones are quickly consuming a large portion of our daily attention-spans and energy reserves. Reducing distractions is a quick way to minimize stress, and open up time for building authentic connections. Slowly reduce the reliance.
10. Financial health.
Most of daily life includes decisions about spending and saving. I have yet to meet anyone not skilled in spending. However, saving, excess consumption, and money management is something that causes unnecessary financial stress that can deteriorate our lives. Learning basic money management can reduce stress and enable, health living.
BONUS. Build Grit & Resilience.
The pinnacle of mental health is bouncing back in the face of adversity. Life will be certain to knock us down, but being able to get back on our feet and smile is the ticket.