Small Steps, Big Impact: Embracing Healthy Micro Habits

Did you know that 81% to 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail? Adopting better, healthier habits is a good undertaking but they can be difficult to commit to, especially if they’re big, sweeping changes. The answer is taking smaller, more gradual steps called micro habits.  We’ll shed light on this new (and very exciting) subject; it will help you get better at one half of mental vs. emotional health – which are crucial for living a life rooted in purpose & having a sense of contentment. 

What Are Micro Habits?

Because micro habits are so small and so insignificant, there’s little risk of veering away from your goals, so you’re much more likely to achieve the changes you want.

But wait, it gets better. 

When you accomplish a micro habit, your brain releases the feel-good chemical dopamine, giving you feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. This motivates you to keep going, creating a snowball effect that can lead to some serious benefits. 

Small Changes, Big Impact: Exploring the Relationship Between Healthy Habits and Mental Health

Habit formation can have a long-term impact. The best part of it is it becomes part of your routine. Data suggests that while it is initially cognitively effortful, automaticity soon sets in. Behaviors become second nature, worming their way into your brain so you’ll soon feel uncomfortable if you didn’t do them.

Think of the benefits you stand to avail from it!

If your mind skipped to the physical aspects, you’re not alone. It’s easy to judge the efficacy of something when you can see its effects. But we must also examine its relationship with mental health. 

In a comparative associative study, for example, healthy habits like moderate and high levels of physical activity were found to be significantly and inversely associated with anxiety and depression. Another study suggested that healthy lifestyle choices can improve psychological well-being and lead to fewer mental health difficulties.

While these were conducted on university students from various demographics, research showed that the power of the mind and habit change holds just as much weight for the other populations. 

Do 20 minutes of low-intensity exercise, and it will increase your energy levels by 20% and reduce fatigue levels by 65%. Spend 10 to 20 minutes sitting or walking in nature, and it will lower tension-anxiety, fatigue, and confusion, increase vigor, and give you higher feelings of comfort and calm. These are small changes, but they can lead to significant improvements in your well-being.

Which Habits Are Best for Microdosing Wellness?

Here are some self-healthy micro habits you can start with:

Start Flossing 

Flossing removes food particles stuck between the teeth that your toothbrush can’t remove. Make it a part of your daily routine to keep plaque at bay and to achieve a brighter, more attractive smile. 

Express Gratitude 

An “attitude of gratitude” can transform your life for the better. Set aside a few minutes each day to develop a grateful mindset, and it will reward you with lower levels of depression and better heart health by reducing overall biomarker concentrations. And when you focus on positive and thankful thoughts before bed, you’ll also fall asleep faster and sleep longer

Make Exercise Fun

Our mental patterns are the reason why obesity rates are rising worldwide. If you hate exerting yourself, commit to short workouts. For example, research has found that 11 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity, such as a brisk walk, can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers while helping you lose inches!

Keep Things In Their Place 

We unknowingly create clutter in our homes which can lead to cognitive overload and have far-reaching consequences on our mental health. Tidying up can help you maintain order — something our brain thrives on, as it helps it make sense of the world around us. So, give everything a home and dedicate 5 minutes a day to declutter your home; it will help you reduce stress and provide a sense of control.

Add a Veggie To Your Meal

Have you decided to eat healthier this year? It’s a great way to nourish the body and the brain. But instead of doing a complete 180 on your eating habits, find ways to add a new veggie to your meal. They’re packed with good-for-you vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, which are guaranteed to keep you in tip-top health.

If you’re not a fan of produce, here are 17 creative ways to introduce veggies to your diet.

Eliminate Negative Self-Talk

Having a negative internal dialogue can seem pretty harmless. After all, nobody can hear you criticize yourself, right? But it sneaks up on you, stealing your happiness, confidence, and self-esteem. It also leads to stress which can manifest physically. So, the next time you catch yourself being unkind to yourself, distract your mind with positive thoughts instead.

Read a Couple of Pages Every Day 

Reading stimulates your brain, sharpens mental acuity, and expands your capacity to learn. It’s a great habit to cultivate, but instead of over-committing (and putting yourself up for failure), start with a page or two a day and increase the page count gradually.

Meditate for 1 Minute in the Morning 

Developing mental toughness and resilience calls for self-awareness — and meditation can help you with that. It has many health benefits and can give you a sense of calm and peace, even when your world is chaotic and imbalanced. You might find it difficult to meditate at first, so instead of trying too hard to control your mind, start with just 1 minute a day. Try different techniques to see what works best.

Get Quality One-on-One Time With Nature 

Nature heals. It can amp up your physical and mental health, improve your attention span, increase self-esteem and confidence, and enhance your well-being. 

To be nurtured by nature, draw your curtains open to let the morning sun in and listen to the sounds of nature as you make your bed.

Drink a Glass of Water as Soon as You Wake Up

Dehydration can negatively affect cognitive function, impair your performance and lead to brain fog, rendering you incapable of making better decisions. So, if you’re having trouble meeting your recommended daily water intake, start hydrating when you wake up to improve judgment calls. As a bonus, it will kickstart your metabolism, aid digestion, flush out toxins, and rehydrate your body.

How To Maintain Healthy Habits Over the Years

Here are some simple tips that will undoubtedly set you up for success.

1. Identify Your Goals 

People who are mentally strong manage their behaviors in a way that contributes to their well-being. As a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, your goals should revolve around ways you can keep your body and mind in excellent condition. For example, getting 8 full hours of sleep. Working out. Eating healthy, plant-based foods. Maintaining a healthy weight. Avoiding alcohol.

2. Break It Down

Having a growth mindset is great for developing mental strength, but you have to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Instead of pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, break your goals into small, actionable steps that can be easily incorporated into your current lifestyle. For example, if you want to eat healthy but are at the office 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, don’t expect to eat 3 well-balanced meals a day off the bat. Start by snacking on tasty fruits during your breaks.

3. Build the Habit Into Your Schedule

Mental power can feel like rocket science, but it is a skill that can be mastered with consistency — which can be hard to ensure when you’re exhausted. 

That’s why you need to take excuses out of the equation by pairing new habits with an activity that has been ingrained in your daily routine. For example, if you take a bath or shower first thing in the morning, try to focus on the sensations you feel. There you have it—you’ve meditated AND you’ve got your grooming done. 

4. Reward Yourself 

Keep track of your progress to remind yourself of how far you’ve come. 

This doesn’t automatically mean journaling, though it does help enhance your mental strength and resilience by helping you develop coping mechanisms and make decisions backed by reason. You can, instead, put a simple check mark in a notebook or the note app of your iPhone to show that you’ve soldiered on.

And once you’ve reached a specific milestone, reward yourself with something nice. It will boost your self-command and motivate you to get back to the grind. 

In Conclusion

A healthy micro habit a day can keep brain fog away. If you find it difficult to learn how to be and feel better, the MentalPower app can be of aid to you. Download it today to get into the practice of using tried-and-true techniques to increase mental clarity and unlock the infinite power of your mind —- your physical fitness will undoubtedly follow.