From workplace stress and fast-paced 21st-century lifestyle to traumatic experiences and death of family members, the number of issues that can chip off chinks of your mental health is quite lengthy. Still, it doesn’t always take a tough psychological test to shatter one’s mental fortitude: in some cases, even a few minor factors combined can send peace of mind out the window. For this reason, it’s safer and more efficient to keep tabs on everyday factors that play an important role in mental health than to risk coming down with a psychological issue that may take years to overcome. Here are the most important aspects of your everyday life than can make – or break – your mental health.


  1. Dietary Habits

Although you may not exactly be what you eat, the type of fuel you’re feeding your body affects your emotional shape and cognitive function. According to the Mental Health Foundation, poor nutrition can contribute to the onset of a range of psychological problems, such as depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. To keep mental glitches at bay, stock your plate with foods rich in lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat such as fish, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate and avocado, and cleanse your menu of heavily processed foods, empty calories, and takeout meals with low nutrient value.


  1. Physical Activity

If you think physical activity levels have little to do with mental health, you’re terribly mistaken. Various studies have shown that physical activity can do wonders for mood, cognitive function, and overall psychological shape. According to a 2006 study, regular exercise has a similar effect on mental health as antidepressants, which is why you shouldn’t skip your workouts if you want to stay fit and strong, both physically and psychologically. If you can’t fit gym trainings into your busy daily agenda, you can walk or bike to work, climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, and spend more time leisurely strolling in the park.


  1. Work Environment

Work environment affects your mental health more than you can imagine. High levels of work-related stress have been linked to increased incidence of depression and anxiety, which is why you shouldn’t take workplace atmosphere lightly if you want to stay in optimal mental shape. If possible, take time off work every 4-6 months, avoid conflicts at the office, and try to keep tabs on daily workload and interaction with your colleagues and superiors.


  1. Substance Abuse

Alcohol abuse and smoking are another important piece in the mental health puzzle, and though many people claim that an odd cigarette or a glass of whiskey helps them wind down, this is not exactly true. In fact, alcohol and nicotine act as both stimulants and sedatives, and studies show that chronic substance abuse can increase the risk of comorbid mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. If you’re a smoker or brewsky lover, you may be cheating yourself out of mental health, so ditch the negative habit(s) now if you want to hack long-term psychological wellbeing.


  1. Sleep Quality

Sleep quality is another factor that has a hand in your psychological shape. According to Harvard University experts, not only are sleep and mood closely related, but low quality of nighttime rest can also contribute to development of anxiety, depression, and various mood disorders that can take years to heal. Instead of spending your cash on liquor or high-end trip arrangements, invest your funds in the quality of your Zzzz sessions and get the best mattress for the money. It may sound frivolous, but sleepless nights can really become a menace unless remedied timely, which is why it’s better to stay on the safe (and comfy) side of the bunk if you want to preserve your physiologically fitness and high energy levels.


  1. Social Life

Relationships and social interactions also play an important role in mental shape. According to a recent study, exposure to peer abuse and bullying in childhood years can have drastic effects on long-term psychological health. On top of that, victims of domestic abuse often require years of therapy to restore psychological equilibrium, which is why you should strive to make yourself a part of healthy interpersonal ties and avoid conflicts and toxic relationships both at work and in your private life.


  1. Relaxation

An Ommm session a day can help keep the shrink away – or at least that’s what mental health professionals say. According to the Harvard Medical School experts, mindfulness meditation can help prevent and ease intensity of anxiety, depression, and mental stress, all of which are known to have a detrimental effect on psychological shape. Meditation, yoga, tai-chi, and other ancient relaxation techniques are therefore your mental health’s best ally and you should practice them daily to build strong psychological muscles.



Your mental health is the result of multiple factors, and you should keep an eye out on each and every one of them if you want to stay in peak psychological shape in the years to come. Eat well, be physically active, get enough sleep, keep tabs on workplace stress, go easy on the bottle and cigarettes, cleanse your life of unhealthy relationships and don’t forget to meditate every day – your future self will be grateful to you for the effort.

Author's Bio: 

James D. Burbank has worked for years in traditional as well as online marketing. He has worked in Central Asia, Europe and Australasia in recent years.