8 Best Mental Health Activities

The significance of mental health 1has been recognized right from ancient Greek times, but it has taken a long time to understand its importance. Let’s learn about some mental health activities which will be helpful for your well-being.

Over the years, science has shown over and over again the strong connection between our body and mind. Most often, when we are down and when we really don’t know the reason for it, positive thoughts are not the solution.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is try something different from your mind rather than your body. There are plenty of mental health activities 2formulated by health experts that could come to our rescue in times of distress. These mental health activities also greatly aid in our day-to-day well-being.

1. 8 Best Mental Health Activities For Your Well-Being

Here is a list of 10 effective mental health activities that can be easily incorporated into your routine and could be the best stress reliever for anyone on any given day.

1.1. Gardening

Mental health activities
Photo by Markus Spiske, Unsplash, Copyright January 2018.

Many people take up gardening as a hobby, but most people don’t know that gardening is easily one of the best mental activities for anyone to calm their minds. It also comes with many benefits like exposure to fresh air, vitamin D, and essential body movement.

Research studies have found that gardening reduces cortisol levels in individuals and makes them feel more relaxed and calm when they spend some quality time in the garden.

Apart from that, it was also found that gardening helps extend an individual’s attention span. Spending significant time around greenery reduces the symptoms of ADHD3, which is a major contributor to mental health in people worldwide.

1.2. Reading

Photo by Matias North, Unsplash, Copyright April 2020.

Organized or voluntary book reading is also one of the mental health activities that help relieve any difficulties related to mental health.

Research has found that a simple act of reading calms the mind and relaxes the body of individuals, thereby reducing the symptoms in an individual. It reduces blood pressure and slows the heart too.

Reading works of fiction can be more advantageous, according to many research studies. Travelling along with a fictional character makes the readers more empathetic, increases their level of interpersonal understanding, and also aids in their development of social skills.

When everything around feels too overwhelming, it is best to dive into a book, which will help anyone get back on track.

1.3. Walking

Mental health activities
Photo by Arek Adeoye, Unsplash, Copyright February 2017.

Many research studies have found physical activities as effective for mental health. And it does not need to be intense cardio workouts4. Just a simple act of walking will help.

Studies have found that walking 200 minutes a week, which is around 30 minutes a day, will greatly help reduce symptoms of depression and improve the overall quality of an individual’s life. It is as effective as being on antidepressant medication.

Apart from improving our mental health, taking regular walks is good for our physical health and boosts our emotional health.

1.4. Exercising

Mental health activities
Photo by Jonathan Borba, Unsplash, Copyright October 2019.

Exercising is one of those activities that may need a bit of pushing to get yourself started, but once you are into it, you will start enjoying it and being glad that you got into it.

Exercising has been shown to boost your mood, according to studies. Simple exercises like cycling, jogging, and swimming will help in reducing depression and anxiety5 in a person.

Apart from these, they will also give the following results:

  • Good sleep – lack of sleep leads to high rates of depression, according to researchers.
  • Better mood
  • Enhanced energy
  • Improved stamina
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Better heart health

Setting apart a few minutes every day for a little bit of exercise can beat the stress away and also keep you in shape.

1.5. Breathing

Mental health activities
Photo by Ale Romo, Unsplash, Copyright June 2020.

Poor mental health can have adverse effects on your mind as well as your body. One such effect is affecting the immune system, which can make us fall sick very often.

One of the best ways to deal with it is by establishing healthy ways of life, such as practising deep breathing. By inhaling and exhaling slowly, the air slowly fills up your lungs. It helps to slow down the heart rate, therefore, lowering the blood pressure as well.

The American Institute of Stress states that supplying more oxygen to the brain can cause stimulation in the nervous system, which will, in turn, encourage a more relaxed state of mind.

By regularly indulging in breathing techniques, one can feel more connected to their body and also drive away all the worries running through the mind.

However, it is also important to practice deep breathing in quiet places so that the body can respond accordingly.

1.6. Social Interaction

Mental health activities
Photo by Helena Lopes, Unsplash, Copyright November 2017.

Though numerous mental health activities can be done alone individually, one cannot do everything alone, nor are we supposed to do so. Humans as a race, are a community, and one of our basic needs is connections.

When our mental health is declining, our natural instinct is to zone out and withdraw from everything around us. But in most cases, social interactions help us get back on track.

Many studies have also found that having quality relationships with family members and friends are a major factor in leading longer and more satisfying lives. On the other hand, people with not-so-positive relationships with others have more chances of poor mental health.

Individuals who have good social relationships also have higher confidence levels and self-esteem, are more trustworthy, and tend to be good team players.

Especially in today’s virtual world, it is very important to invest quality time with your family and loved ones amidst the busy lifestyle. Maintaining positive relationships 6with others will ensure your mental and physical well-being.

1.7. Listening To Music

Mental health activities
Photo by Laura Chouette, Unsplash, Copyright May 2021.

It is a generally known fact that listening to music can boost our mood and instil in us positive feelings. Evidence from research studies also suggests that incorporating music into our everyday lives can improve our mental well-being.

If you are feeling down or having a bad day, it’s best to play uplifting music in the background and sing along to it as loud as you can. Or, on days when you feel lazy, play soft music in the background to get your chores done.

Music can also stop you from feeling isolated or lonely to a great extent and is also said to increase the efficiency of the brain, making individuals more creative.

Music therapy is also used by many health professionals to treat anxiety, trauma, and stress. It is also regarded as one of the best mental health activities that instantly yield results.

1.8. Practising Yoga

Relaxing Yoga for Better Mental Health | Yoga For The Soul | Hindustan Times

Among the many mental health activities that are used, yoga has become increasingly popular in recent times.

In today’s world, there is hardly anyone who is not affected by anxiety and stress. Yoga may not be a cure for these problems, but practising yoga regularly has a positive impact on the overall well-being of a person.

Laughter Yoga or Hasya yoga is a concept in yoga where a combination of laughing, breathing, and other exercises are used. It serves as an instant stress buster as it drives away our internal worries. During this process, our body releases endorphins that drive away all the stress and instil a positive mindset in us.

Laughter yoga in recent times is emerging to become one of the favourite activities because of its fun nature. It is mostly held in a group setting and an instructor guides everyone throughout the process.

Practising laughter yoga for about 10 to 15 minutes on a daily basis can be a life-changing experience as it not only drives our stress away but also reduces blood pressure, boosts our heart rate, and eases our pain.

Laughing your heart out every day has a healing effect on your mind and body, and nothing wrong could ever possibly come out of laughing wholeheartedly.

1.9. Raise A Pet

Spending time with pets also stands out as a favourite yet effective one among the other different activities.

7 Ways Having a Pet Can Improve Your Mental health

Pets have the ability to motivate individuals. Studies have shown that just sitting next to the pet, stroking it, or playing with the pet has a calming effect on the individual’s mind.

Caring for the pet daily gives you a purpose to live, a sense of reward and achievement. It also makes you value yourselves.

A pet comes with numerous mental health benefits and does not necessarily have to be a dog or a cat; even watching a fish in a bowl lowers the pulse rate in an individual. Pets also serve as great listeners and never tend to criticize us, unlike humans.

Having a pet will definitely add real meaning to one’s life and gift you, unconditional love.

2. In The End

These mental health activities are greatly helpful for maintaining good mental health. However, they are not the permanent cure for long-term mental illnesses or disorders.

Mental health issues can at times get very serious and require professional help. Getting help is not a weakness but only a sign of strength. Getting appropriate help at the right time can save lives and lead to a satisfying life.

2. Frequently Asked Questions

2.1. What Are the 4 Types of Mental Health?

Mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder) anxiety disorders. personality disorders. psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia).

2.2. Why Mental Health Is Important?

It helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.

2.3. What Is Positive Mental Health?

It Includes feeling in control of your life and personal decisions and being able to cope with life’s challenges and stresses. functioning well mentally, such as being able to focus while at work. being generally optimistic about life events.

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  1. Rosenberg, Morris, and B. Claire McCullough. “Mattering: Inferred significance and mental health among adolescents.” Research in community & mental health (1981). ↩︎
  2. Layous, Kristin, Joseph Chancellor, and Sonja Lyubomirsky. “Positive activities as protective factors against mental health conditions.” Journal of abnormal psychology 123.1 (2014): 3. ↩︎
  3. Lewandowski, Lawrence J., et al. “Symptoms of ADHD and academic concerns in college students with and without ADHD diagnoses.” Journal of Attention Disorders 12.2 (2008): 156-161. ↩︎
  4. Kravitz, Len, and Micah Zuhl. “High Intensity Interval Training vs Continuous Cardio Training: Battle of the Aerobic Titans.” (2014). ↩︎
  5. Martinsen, Egil W. “Physical activity in the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression.” Nordic journal of psychiatry 62.sup47 (2008): 25-29. ↩︎
  6. Canary, Daniel J., and Marianne Dainton. “Maintaining relationships.” The Cambridge handbook of personal relationships (2006): 727-743. ↩︎

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