How to Practice Mindfulness at Home: 10 activities to help improve mental health
Mindfulness is the art of becoming more aware of where you are and what you are doing. Studies suggest that being more mindful can drastically improve mental health. According to mental health charity Mind, people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. Therefore, we’ve collated a list of activities to try at home, that can help improve both mindfulness and mental health.
Research shows that consistent meditation can lead to improvement in conflict resolution, anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue. You can meditate from the comfort of your home or garden, and all you need is yourself and some peace and quiet. Here are some of our favourite resources for guided meditation:
- Calm – This award-winning app has been downloaded over 50 million times. Not only does Calm teach you how to meditate from the comfort of your own home, but it can also help you sleep, exercise and relax.
- The Honest Guys – Amassing over 300 million views, this YouTube channel guides you through meditation techniques designed to work in harmony with your mind, body and spirit.
- Headspace – According to Headspace, just 10 days of using their app can increase happiness by 16%. This app exhibits a variety of free, effective meditation resources.
2. Read a book
Open a book, flick through the pages and immerse yourself in another world. Studies show that losing yourself in a great book can reduce stress levels by 60%. With so many books available to you, both print and digital, it can be difficult to know where to start. Take a look at the following resources, to help you find your next page-turner.
- Goodreads – Become a member of the world’s largest community of book lovers. Goodreads allows you to keep a log of the books you’ve read, find books you want to read and discuss the books you’re reading with the rest of the world.
- Kindle App – You don’t need an Amazon Kindle tablet to access millions of books. Download the Kindle app and download books straight to your phone.
There are few greater feelings than feeling the thud of your beating heart after an exhilarating workout. Exercise is not only good for our physical health, but our mental health too. It can decrease the risk of heart disease, as well as alleviating stress, depression and anxiety. We’ve collated a comprehensive guide to the best ways to exercise at home. Also, here are some of our favourite exercise resources to get started:
- Nike Training Club – Participate in home workout routines led by celebrity athletes such as Serena Williams on this free downloadable app.
- Couch to 5k – This NHS programme aims to take you from the couch, and over the course of nine weeks, trains you to run five kilometres without stopping.
4. Write a journal
The University of Rochester have proclaimed that keeping a journal can have endless benefits for your mental health. If you struggle to express your thoughts, feelings and emotions verbally, writing them down in a journal can help solve this problem. Their research shows that keeping a journal can help to prioritise problems, fears and concerns. We’ve collated a few of our favourite journaling resources:
- Penzu – Over 2 million people use this online journal and diary to log all their personal thoughts. Customise your journal to how you want it to look and start writing.
- Day One – This award-winning app converts your phone into your own private journal. The minimalist design allows you to organise your daily thoughts with ease.
- One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book – This journal asks you to write just one line each day for five years. At the end, you can look back and examine the ups and downs of every day life.
5. Baking and cooking
The emotional benefits of baking and cooking are countless. Following a recipe is not only therapeutic and expressive, but you end up with something delicious to eat at the end. Research shows that baking and cooking is a great creative outlet that focuses negative energy. If you’re not sure where to start in the kitchen, try one of these innovative food resources:
- Kitchen Stories – This website and app offers inspiring videos and photos, taking you through the simple process of cooking your favourite recipes.
- Tasty – With over 18 million subscribers and 4 billion views, Tasty is YouTube’s most popular food channel. Follow one of their tutorial videos to create a variety of dishes.
- Yummly – Find new recipes, design meal plans and create your own recipes on this innovative app and website.
Creating art is a great method of expressing emotional energy. According to Harvard University, drawing or painting can have endless mental health benefits. If you’re thinking that you’re not too handy with a pencil or a paint-brush – try one of these tools that are aimed at absolute beginners:
- Wow Art – With nearly 2.5 million subscribers and over 200 million views, Wow Art uploads daily challenges, starting with challenges for amateurs and gradually exploring professional techniques.
- Krita – This free painting program offers the chance to create art and animation on your mobile, tablet or computer instead of your canvas.
- RapidFireArt – Darlene is a self-taught portrait artist who decided to help others learn how to draw. She has since amassed almost 50 million views on her YouTube channel, with videos showing viewers simple drawing techniques.
7. Listen to a podcast
In recent years, listening to podcasts has become more and more popular. Each week, around 7 million people in the UK listen to a podcast. If you feel like life is getting you down, put your headphones in and let the podcast engage you in another world. With access to more than 500,000 active podcasts in over 100 languages, it can be hard to know where to start. Take a look at the BBC Sounds app for some great British podcast content. If you’re looking for a podcast to help improve mental health, here are some of our favourites:
- BBC Sounds – Download the BBC Sounds app onto your phone or tablet and begin streaming award-winning podcasts covering topics from sport and comedy to news and music.
- Happy Place – Having written two books on mental health, television and radio presenter Fearne Cotton began recording her own podcast. Each episode looks at the life of a different guest, as they discuss life, love, loss and everything in between.
- Feel Better, Live More – Dr. Rangan Chaterjee is a GP with over 16 years’ experience and in this podcast he advises listeners on how to improve mental and physical health.
According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), gardening can improve mental health and more specifically help with anxiety, bereavement, stress and serious injury. Gardening is also a great way of improving physical health, as digging, cutting grass and weeding require lots of muscular exertion. Here are some of our favourite resources if you’re new to gardening:
- RHS Beginner’s Guide – The RHS have put together a comprehensive guide for those of us picking up a shovel for the first time.
- RHS Gardening Podcast – The RHS are at it again, bringing us digestible podcasts on all aspects of gardening
- Garden Answer – With over 120 million views, Garden Answer is one of the most popular gardening YouTube channels in the world.
9. Learn a new skill
As previously mentioned, people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. If you’ve not currently got a hobby, why not take some time to learn a new skill. Whether it’s learning an instrument, or picking up a new language, focusing your time and energy into a new skill can be a great way of improving mental health – and you have picked up a new skill at the end!
- Masterclass – These online classes are led by the world’s leading experts for students of all skill levels. Take cooking lessons from Gordon Ramsey, acting classes from Samuel L. Jackson and tennis classes from Serena Williams.
- Yousician – This interactive music service teaches students how to play various instruments, including guitar, piano, ukulele, bass and voice.
- Duolingo – Choose from over 30 languages to learn on this free mobile app, taking you from complete novice to proficient with daily bite-sized lessons.
Comprising strength, flexibility and breathing, yoga is an ancient form of exercise that improves physical and mental wellbeing. Evidence shows that regularly practicing yoga can be help people with heart disease, high blood pressure, aches and pains, stress and depression. Practice yoga from the comfort of your own home or garden, with the help of a mobile app or YouTube video:
- DoYogaWithMe – Over half of the content on this website is free and offers some tutorials by some of the world’s best yoga instructors.
- Yoga with Adrienne – Adrienne Mishler is one of YouTube’s most popular yoga instructors, teaching people how to do simple but effective yoga exercises for free.
- Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion – Written by the experts at the world-renowned Sivananda Yoga Vedanda Centre, this book will be your ultimate yoga companion.
If you’re looking for more ways to stay active while on holiday or at home, take a look our guide on how to exercise at home. If you want to read something to inspire your next holiday, take a look at our favourite travel books.