Health and fitness

5 Surprising things you can do to maintain mental health

Doing little things that take your mind off daily concerns is the proverbial apple that keeps the stress away.

Samantha Z. Beltran

In need of a pick-me-up? You’ve likely heard of the ways you can improve your mental wellbeing—practicing yoga, meditation, saying the things you’re grateful for out loud, indulging in skin care, seeing a therapist or a mental health counselor, and sharing your feelings.

That said, there are more ways to keep your mental health at bay—and some of them may even surprise you. These small, everyday practices can help you get through the day, ward off negative thoughts, and help put your mind in a state of calm. Certain activities, especially ones that encourage routine and repetition, can reduce stress and ease a restless mind, fitting for those particular days when work or other aspects in life make you feel stressed.

In case you’re thinking of other activities to try to improve your mental health, don’t overlook these unexpected methods.


1. Work on an adult coloring book

Looking for a sit-down activity that can bring peace to a frazzled mind? Clear out the work on your desk and make room for a page or two of an adult coloring book. Like children who calm down after running around, coloring can have the same effects on you as meditation, as it helps you center your attention by channeling it into the present moment. Repeated strokes, as well as the low-stakes nature (you’re not getting in trouble if you color outside the lines!), can relax the brain and create a calmer state.


2. Get into gardening

No wonder plantitos and plantitas sprouted about during the pandemic: gardening—and even just plants—can put you in a positive and stress-free mood. Gardens provide a certain restorative quality that rejuvenates your mind. But even if all you have is room for a potted plant or two, you can still reap the mental health benefits of botany. The presence of plants can help people relax and de-stress, as simply being close to nature can lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Even the routine of caring for plants, and receiving oxygen can help your brain function better.


3. Bake bread—or anything


As it turns out, the smells of sugar, butter, and flour can do favors for an agitated mind. Ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon, have warm and fragrant scents that can be comforting, while other aspects involved in the baking process can be therapeutic as well—from folding ingredients to kneading dough, as well as watching your dough (or batter) transform through heat and time.

Although cooking and baking can be enjoyable tasks for the foodie at heart, baking has more repetitive motions and a certain rhythm that can put you in a mindful state.


4. Listening to an ASMR audio or podcast

We know the hordes of ASMR videos that have been uploaded to YouTube can be quite ridiculous now, but don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. Short for an autonomous sensory meridian response, ASMR works by setting off a bunch of “triggers” that create tiny shivers from the scalp down to the spine.

For many viewers, these tickling sensations can bring a calm and pleasurable feeling. Some studies have shown that ASMR can slow down the heart rate and keep people’s minds at ease. It can ward off anxiety and even aid those who have trouble sleeping.


5. Go bird watching


No wonder there are groups dedicated to the noble hobby of bird watching. Watching these creatures fly into the distance can lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. It also helps that a bird-watching environment is typically quiet and undisturbed places where you can peacefully watch these winged warblers in your habitat.

You don’t need to put on a safari hat and purchase some fancy binoculars However, even just watching the local maya fly in front of your room window or around the neighborhood can lower your stress levels. This has likely to do with the idea that being near nature can improve one’s mood, as we are supposedly wired to want to understand or be close to nature.

Who knew that these activities can immediately boost your mood and mental health? There are so many other activities that can lower our stress levels and improve your mental and emotional wellbeing.

But hey, don’t just focus on that! There are three other pillars of total wellbeing you need to develop—physical, social, and financial. You need to take care of all four pillars to achieve total wellbeing and be able to celebrate living.

For financial wellbeing, go for insurance plans that financially protect you from any eventualities. Get in touch with us and schedule a financial planning session to know which FWD health protection plans suit you.