50+ Habits to Improve Mental Health, Sleep Quality, and Heart Health

In this article, I will cover more than 50 self care habits to improve mental health, sleep quality, and heart health. You deserve to take some time to learn how to manage your health better and develop good self care habits.

Women today often neglect to take care of their basic needs such as mental health and sleep habits. These two factors play a significant role in heart disease in women. Therefore, it’s vitally important to make some changes and learn to take care of yourself. Focus on YOU because you deserve a little self care.

These three components of health go hand-in-hand and should always be priorities in your self-care routine.

women laying on beach reading a book peacefully showing habits to  improve mental health
Take time to focus on your self care and personal needs for your overall health and wellbeing.

50 Self Care Habits to Improve Mental Health

The Number 1 item on almost all lists of habits to improve mental health is get plenty of sleep! Given a recent personal experience I had with my health, I can understand why! More on that later…

Read through this list of habits to improve mental health and then learn about my personal experience and how I discovered the important connection between mental health, sleep quality, and heart disease.

social gathering of friends sharing healthy foods on a table
A photo captures the essence of #11, #12, #13, #17 and #28 from the list below. Enjoy happy, healthy time with friends!

Here’s a list of 50 easy, healthy habits to your improve mental health:

1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

2. Make your sleep area comfortable and cozy.

3. Create a regular bedtime routine.

4. Add regular exercise to your daily routine.

5. Take time to appreciate the little things in life and always find the silver lining.

6. Perform random acts of kindness to improve your overall mood.

7. Do deep breathing exercises on a daily basis.

8. Eat breakfast first thing in the morning as part of a balanced diet.

9. Spent as much time as possible with pets/animals.

10. Be mindful and present to reduce stress levels.

11. Eat healthy foods that support brain function.

12. Drink plenty of water. (Feed your body, fuel your brain.)

13. Don’t skip meals — it messes with your energy levels.

14. Practice gratitude — it’s the best way to develop a healthy mindset.

15. Limit alcohol — too much alcohol hurts the human brain.

16. Reduce processed foods — it has a negative effect on your brain.

17. Socialize and develop positive relationships with people.

18. Eliminate toxic people and situations from your life.

19. Laugh more — it’s an effective way to reduce symptoms of depression.

20. Go outside more to get fresh air and Vitamin D.

21. Reduce multitasking — it doesn’t align with living in the present moment.

22. Plan an adventurous vacation or fun activities often.

23. Smile more — it’s good for the soul.

24. Practice forgiveness to maintain healthy relationships.

25. Add self love and self care to your daily habits.

26. Be more generous and kind in everyday life.

27. Use positive affirmations daily to support your emotional health.

28. Practice hygge and enjoy your comfort zone.

29. Set goals and create a to-do list each day. (Live with intention.)

30. Learn new things everyday to support healthy cognitive function.

31. Utilize your five senses — smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing.

32. Think positive, happy thoughts.

33. Take a break and enjoy some alone time when you need it.

34. Be open and ask for help from family members and loved ones when needed.

35. Meditate for your mental wellness.

36. Do yoga to release negative emotions.

37. Listen to music as often as possible — it’s a great way to relax.

38. Dance like no one is watching — anytime, anywhere.

39. Let go of anger because negative thoughts don’t align with good mental health.

40. Stop smoking — it’s not part of a healthy life.

41. Call a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while.

42. Seek professional help if you experience mental health issues.

43. Join community groups and activities for your social well-being.

44. Improve your posture.

45. Reduce screen time by taking social media and technology breaks.

46. Don’t believe everything you think.

47. Don’t overthink — it has a negative impact on your mental state.

48. Use a stress ball or fidget toy to relieve anxiety.

49. Set boundaries with people and your time.

50. Use a daily journal to focus on positive emotions.


Related Article: 49 Best Health and Wellness Journal Ideas and Prompts


young woman doing yoga on lavender yoga mat for physical and mental health
Image captures the essence of #4, #7, #10, #23, #25, #36, and #44 above. See how easy it is!

The Connection Between Mental Health, Sleep Quality, and Heart Health

I had a personal issue with insomnia recently. After the events, I decided to share it because it seems to be applicable to so many people. I never knew how insomnia can effect your health in so many horrible ways! Thus, I want to address overall habits to improve mental health, while also addressing the very important related issues of heart health and sleep hygiene.

First let me start by briefly sharing what happened. Then we’ll discuss my research and the information my doctor shared with me.

I had a traumatic brain injury four years ago. Since that time, I’ve had difficulty sleeping at times. I’ve had headaches every day. And I’ve had memory, executive functioning, processing, and communication issues.

Recently, I had four episodes of insomnia during a four-week time frame where I didn’t sleep for 30-36 hours. When I finally slept, it only lasted for 4-6 hours and I was back up again. I went on with life for the most part but realized along the way that I wasn’t feeling well.

My heart would start racing at random times. I had strange headaches that were different and lasted longer than usual.

My brain fog was worse than usual. My memory was horrible and I was driving myself, and my family, crazy because I couldn’t get my words out!

I was not eating or drinking properly because of nausea and crazy sleep habits. My balance was horrible and I kept bouncing into walls.

I was having trouble making decisions about something as simple as what to watch on television. Basically, I felt like a total mess!

Then I had two more episodes of insomnia and my symptoms got worse. I finally decided to go to the doctor!

I had not associated my mental and physical health with the insomnia!

little girl with hands over her eyes pouting and tears drawn on her hands like she is having a mental health breakdown
This is a pretty accurate representation of how I was feeling! (only she’s much cuter:)

How Sleep Problems Effect Physical and Mental Health

After I told my doctor about my symptoms, she explained that a lack of sleep can cause every single one of these problems. She also said a lack of sleep and heart health are closely associated so we needed to get my sleep habits straightened out, plus people often have headaches from lack of sleep.

My physical and mental health was in jeopardy. I had to work on habits to improve mental health and physical health.

The effects of not sleeping at night are tremendous on your physical, mental, and social health. The symptoms include:

  • memory issues
  • mood changes
  • trouble with thinking and concentrating
  • trouble with reasoning and problem solving
  • weakened immune system
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • stroke
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • weight gain
  • poor balance
  • digestive problems
  • hormone production
  • accidents
  • trouble with decision-making and judgement
  • headaches

Look at just how many of these sleep deprivation symptoms are directly connected to mental health and physical health! We should all start making sleep hygiene an important part of our habits to improve overall health and wellbeing!

For additional information about Sleep Hygiene, click here for a great article from the Sleep Foundation.

young women sleeping on white sheets showing habits to improve mental health
Quality sleep hygiene is essential to your mental and physical health.

How Serious is Sleep Deprivation?

My doctor explained that all my issues were side effects of not getting enough sleep. It all came down to sleep deprivation and I had not even given it any thought! I assumed it was all due to a hormone imbalance caused by not having a thyroid anymore and I just needed an adjustment in my thyroid replacement medication.

My doctor explained that sleep deprivation is very serious. She gave me several documents about sleep deprivation and strategies to improve sleep hygiene. We reviewed the documents together and then she recommended two medications to help get me back in a normal sleep pattern. I would use the medications temporarily along with the strategies we discussed for better sleep habits.

I think you will find this website very helpful in assessing your sleep habits as related to your overall health and wellbeing. It includes a handy Sleep Hygiene Worksheet that has very helpful tips!

top view of a wooden heart shaped bowl with fresh fruit and vegetables in it and an apple sitting next to it with a stethoscope wrapped loosely around the apple
A heart healthy snack.

Sleep Habits and Heart Health

Insomnia is directly linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Poor sleep habits can also lead to unhealthy diet choices and less physical activity, which negatively impact heart health. It becomes a vicious circle.

Good sleep habits help your work function properly rather than over-exert itself. A good night’s sleep gives your heart a rest since your blood flow and heart rate goes down during sleep.

When you suffer from sleep deprivation, your heart is in a constant state of elevation and requires more work.

Since your heart is the organ that makes sure all other organs get the oxygen they need to function properly, the importance of keeping your heart healthy cannot be over-estimated. Developing habits to improve mental health will naturally help your physical health.

Check out this article by Sleep Foundation, How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Heart. It has a phenomenal amount of information about sleep deprivation!

It says, “Sleep provides time for the body to restore and recharge, playing a key role in nearly all aspects of physical health. For the cardiovascular system, insufficient or fragmented sleep can contribute to problems with blood pressure and heighten the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and stroke.”

This article very clearly answers the important question, “How does sleep affect your heart?”

I think you’ll see that most all of the habits to improve mental health also apply to good heart health and overall wellness. So let’s seriously consider incorporating these habits into our lives!

light blue background with a mental health quote and flower pots of leafy flowers
“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared, and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative personal. It makes you human.” ~Lori Deschene

Final Thoughts: Habits to Improve Mental Health, Sleep Quality, and Heart Health

I am an advocate for do better, be better, try harder, and work toward progress, not perfection! In any article I write, I provide ideas and information to help us all work toward progress, not perfection. Myself included.

I am also a firm believer in “it’s okay to not be okay” and encourage you to always feel your emotions rather than ignore them. This is part of the process of being OKAY! No one is perfect. So please always give yourself grace and just do the best you can do in whatever aspect of life you are working on!

I hope I’ve given you tips to improve your mental health, as well as some valuable information about how sleep deprivation affects your mental and physical health. It was certainly something I had not considered in the past. That’s why I wanted to share it with you!

We now all know a lack of sleep and headaches are connected; sleep deprivation and heart health are connected; and even a lack of sleep and mental health are connected.

I believe sleep hygiene is far more important than any of us ever realized. Sleep will naturally give our bodies and brains the boost we need to stay healthier!

Sleep will even help us function better when we are not “okay” and help us deal with our emotions much better!

Now that you know how sleep deprivation affects your body and mind, let’s promise to all work on improving our sleep habits! Start making sleep hygiene a part of your habits to improve mental health and heart health!

Good luck!

Love to ALL! ~Susan

You may enjoy these related articles:

Habits to Improve Mental Health, Sleep Quality, and Heart Health: How Are You Taking Care of Your Mental Health?

Did you realize there was such a close connection between mental health, sleep, and heart health? Have you had any personal experiences? I would love to read about your experiences if you can share in the comment section below:)

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2 Comments

  1. This article was such a timely find for me! I’ve been really struggling with sleep and my heart has been feeling the effects. Thank you for the list – I’ll definitely try some of those.

    1. Thank you for the kind comment, Jo… you have a beautiful website! You offer great tips for Pinterest users! I will visit often! Hope you feel better soon! xoxo

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