10 Power Habits for Optimal Mental Health in 2024 And Beyond

The New Year is almost upon us so it’s time to start thinking about what you want your 2024, and beyond, to look like. While creating goals in all areas of your life are important, developing optimal mental health should be on the top of your priority list.

Why Focus on Optimal Mental Health?

According to the CDC “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act.” In other words, it is an essential part of being a happy, healthy, and thriving human being.

So having the goal of developing optimal mental health should be a focus of anyone who wants to thrive in 2024 and beyond.

Today, let’s look at ten power habits you can use to get yourself feeling mentally great in the new year, and beyond.

Use a journal to perform a “brain dump” at the end of each day.

Our days can be very hectic, and, after a busy day, your mind may continue to race with thoughts about your activities. Sometimes these thoughts can affect your sleep.

Rather than letting these thoughts about your concerns, troubles, responsibilities take over, get into the habit of performing a “brain dump” when you get home.

To dump your brain, grab a pen or pencil and start journaling. Note any reflections or important thoughts you had about your day. This process helps by getting the thoughts out of your mind and onto paper.

Once they are out of your mind and on paper, you can revisit these thoughts later.  Now you’ll be able to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.

Allow yourself to feel all your big, challenging emotions as they come up.

While it’s often tempting to take the “easy route” when faced with big, challenging emotions, becoming mentally healthy requires that you face these issues head on.

Here’s why.

Have you ever tried to hide or ignore your biggest emotions? I’m sure you’ll agree that this is very an ineffective method for handling them. Often, those big feelings come thundering back, making you feel even worse than ever.

To develop optimum mental health, get into the habit of feeling those big, challenging emotions in real-time. You can use mindfulness to process your emotions as you feel them. While this may be difficult to do while they are happening, this is a much healthier way to handle them.

Let others know how you are feeling.

Most people have a hard time communicating their feelings to even those closest to them. Like a small wooden sliver can cause a huge infection, hiding your feelings can develop into huge problems that can eventually spoil your relationships.

Don’t let unsaid feelings spoil your relationships. Instead of hiding your feelings, communicate how you feel with others. This is especially true when those feelings relate to that other person.

Yes, talking about feelings can be tough but not talking about them is a recipe for disaster. Letting others know how you feel can prevent a lot of trouble and misunderstanding.

This is good for everyone’s optimal mental health.

Optimal mental health requires getting plenty of good, quality sleep.

Getting plenty of good, quality sleep is one of the best habits you can form. According to the NIH, “Good sleep improves your brain performance, mood, and health.

Not getting enough quality sleep regularly raises the risk of many diseases and disorders. These range from heart disease and stroke to obesity and dementia.”  

In addition to improving your health, when you’re well-rested, you perform much better. You can think clearly, make better decisions, and focus on the tasks at hand.

For optimal mental health, get into the habit of making sleep one of your most important priorities.

Practice deep breathing exercise techniques.

Deep breathing exercises are a central part of mindfulness and have been a part of meditation practices for thousands of years. Other names for deep breathing include diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing and belly breathing.

Deep breathing helps by developing the skill of relaxing your mind and body. You can use it to “rein in” a racing mind or heartbeat when they feel like they’re plunging out of control.

By can use the habit of deep breathing to develop optimal mental health. Practice taking long, deep, and measured breaths when you’re feeling stressed out.  This will help you to relax and regain control of yourself.

Ask for help.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “Mental health stigma is a huge barrier on why many people don’t seek help. We don’t want to be judged for seeking treatment. We don’t want to be defined as weak or incompetent, or even worse, seen as unable to take care of ourselves.”

Many of us have been told that if we seek help for things that are bothering us, we must be weak. As a result, we never get the help we need.

But if you had a deep cut on your arm, wouldn’t you go to a doctor or someone to get it taken care of?  You wouldn’t let it get infected, would you? You’d get help, right?  

Of course, you would.

So why wouldn’t you get help for your mental health?

Just like there is nothing wrong with you getting help for that deep cut, there is no shame in asking someone for help when you need it.

You don’t have to face your mental health struggles alone. Get into the habit of reaching out to someone you know and trust for support.

Optimal mental health includes knowing who you can turn to in times of trouble. Knowing you have someone to lean on can provide you with a sense of assurance and relief.

Identify the people in your circle of support. Once you do, develop a plan with them on how you can reach out when you need their help.

Speak kindly and respectfully to yourself.

Self-talk, the way you speak to yourself, has a massive impact on your mental well-being.

Speaking to yourself critically can cause you to have a negative image of yourself. It can even make you feel depressed.

You can change this. To develop optimal mental health, get into the habit of speaking to yourself with kindness and respect.

Think about it like this.

Let’s say you were speaking to a small child. If they made a mistake, would you tell them they were stupid or useless?

Of course not!

So why are you doing this to yourself?

Make a commitment to develop the habit of being kind and respectful to yourself.

Build yourself up.  

Choose your words wisely.

This habit can not only transform your mental health, but it can also completely change your overall sense of well-being.

Make time for things you like to do.

We all have lots of demands and obligations. If we let them, these activities can completely take over our lives.

This can take you straight down the road to burnout.

Make time to do the activities and hobbies you love most. Having the opportunity to enjoy time doing your favorite activities is a great way to develop optimal mental health. Whether it’s playing sports, making music, watching movies, or whatever, make sure it is a priority item in your calendar.

Don’t push aside what you love to do in favor of getting more done. Be sure to make time for your favorite hobbies and activities. Once you do, respect that time and then actually use it for that activity.

Schedule breaks and take them.

Taking breaks is the cornerstone of the Pomodoro method. Using this method, you schedule regular break times within your day. Then, when the time comes, you take the break.  

Not feeling tired and overworked will help you get more done.

Getting into the habit of taking breaks regularly during the day will not only help you develop optimal mental health, but it will improve your overall productivity.

Step away from stressful situations so you can give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts.

Stressful situations can cause your fight-or-flight response to kick in which can cause an amygdala hijack. This can make it difficult or impossible to think straight and can lead to all kinds of unexpected and unwanted results.

So, when you find yourself in a difficult or stressful situation, make a habit of stepping away for a few moments. The space you create by doing this can give you the time you need to calm down and gather your thoughts.

When stressed, it can be easy to feel pressured to react ASAP. But unless it is a life and death situation, make a practice of stepping away, Use this break to gather your thoughts so you can regain control of yourself and consider your options in the situation.

Practicing this habit will not only help you develop optimal mental health, it will also prevent you from accidentally causing more issues for yourself in the long run.

Use These Tips for Developing Optimal Mental Health in 2024 and Beyond

Would you like to be able to develop optimal mental health in 2024 and beyond? If you do, then you’re going to need to put in some time and effort by using the tips you’ve found here today.

Make it a point to journal daily.

Find healthy ways to process your emotions.

Be honest about your emotions with others.

Make sure you’re getting enough restorative sleep.

Practice mindfulness and deep breathing exercises.

Remember to ask for help when you need it.

Practice self-compassion.

Look for activities you enjoy and do them.

Take regular well-deserved breaks.

And finally, step away from stressful situations.

Using these tips, you can foster peace of mind and live a life that is balanced and meaningful.

Make 2024 your best year ever!

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