5 surprising habits that can improve well-being

Grandfather and grandchild signing together

We all know that eating well, getting regular exercise, taking steps to reduce stress, staying connected to friends and family,  clocking 7-9 hours each night, and going to the doctor for regular visits and age-appropriate screenings are important ways to help you stay healthy. But there are some other surprising things we can do to help improve our mood and overall well-being.

Delaware Psychological Services1 suggests we try adding some of these simple activities into our lives. They can help us appreciate small moments of joy and ground us in the present moment—and improve our mental health in the process.

  1. Sing more often. We all know how great it feels when we belt out show tunes in the shower or turn up the car radio and sing along at the top of our lungs. Well, it turns out there’s a good reason it feels so great! Research has shown that in addition to vibrations that move through the body and produce a calming effect, singing also causes our bodies to release feel-good endorphins and the anxiety-alleviating hormone oxytocin. Consider joining a singing club or community choir, or simply make a point of cranking up your favourite songs and singing out loud as often as you can.
  2. Be silly and spontaneous. As adults, we have a lot of very grown-up responsibilities and we’re used to operating on a strict routine out of necessity. The problem is, we also all have an inner child who misses joyful moments of play and unstructured, spontaneous fun. Try to bring some of that back into your life as often as you can. Stop working for a few minutes or set aside some time each evening to play a quick game, do a puzzle, colour in an adult colouring book, ride your bike around the block, or even jump around and act silly!
  3. Take up knitting. Recent studies2 show that knitting has many therapeutic benefits, including calming anxiety, relieving stress and improving cognitive function. But if yarn isn’t your thing, consider delving into another creative hobby that keeps your mind focused on a pleasurable, productive task. Photography, drawing, creative writing, woodworking, gardening or even reading fiction are all great pastimes to explore.
  4. Talk to yourself. We’re usually embarrassed when we get caught talking to ourselves, but in fact this is a habit that can actually be good for you. Our thoughts sometimes race when they’re quietly rolling around in our brains. But when speaking out loud, we’re forced to slow those thoughts down and process them in a completely different way.
  5. Clean something. Doing a chore might not seem like a fun way to relieve anxiety and improve well-being, but the satisfaction of completing a necessary task and the feeling of accomplishment when you see a clean, organised space can help to improve your mood and reduce stress. If you don’t have a lot of time or energy, just pick one corner of a room, or even a junk drawer or bookcase. Cleaning, organising and decluttering allows you to take control over your physical environment. That empowerment can be a big mood booster, particularly when you might be feeling powerless in other areas of your life.

If you’re a Foresters Financial member, you should also check Lifelong Learning; a great benefit that can also help improve your overall well-being.

That boost you get from learning something new and the joy of sharing a new discovery isn’t just fun—it also benefits your physical and mental health. Lifelong Learning is an easy-to-use library of courses that Foresters members can access anytime, anywhere. With a huge selection of complimentary courses that cover a wide range of topics, members can choose courses and explore an interest, work towards a professional goal or just have fun learning something new.

Incorporating simple, healthy habits into your life is a purposeful way to help yourself feel more relaxed, less anxious and happier. And if can be as simple as belting out your favourite 80s ballad or playing a round of solitaire in between meetings, why not give it a try?


1 https://www.delawarepsychologicalservices.com/post/2019/09/05/10-surprising-and-unusual-ways-to-improve-your-mental-health

2 https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.4276/030802213X13603244419077

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