11 'Emotional Hygiene' Routines The Happiest People Practice Daily

You brush, floss and shower daily, but what about your emotional health?

Woman happily nourishing her body with food RossHelen | Canva

Your life is yours. You are in charge, and it is up to you to discover what you need to improve your emotional hygiene. Assessing your strengths and weaknesses can easily identify areas for improvement and skill development.

As you explore your assessment, you will discover where you need to learn and improve your mental health. To help you out, I've shared twelve habits I've found particularly habit, especially when done daily as part of a routine.


Similar to how we floss and brush our teeth daily, wash our faces and moisturize, we can create emotional or mental health hygiene habits that help improve our long-term health and happiness. To help you get started, I've created a list of eleven daily emotional hygiene habits to start practicing daily. This list is far from exhaustive — in fact, you can try any number of healthy new habits and see which ones work best for you. 

Mental health hygiene habits help people stay healthy — here are 11 anyone can try: 

1. Get plenty of sleep.

If you get enough sleep, you will likely be mentally healthy. Often, sleep problems suggest you may have mental health issues.


Sleeping well can help you deal with stress better. When you sleep, your brain and body recharge and prepare for the next day. Sleep helps you focus, feel happier, and make more intelligent choices. If you don't get enough sleep, you might feel foggy, cranky, and overwhelmed. That's why it's essential to prioritize your sleep and make it a routine to help strengthen your mental health hygiene.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Create Emotional Strength That Lasts A Lifetime

2. Eat nutritious food

To improve your mental health, you should eat food that nourishes your brain. Some examples are fatty fish like salmon, trout, and sardines, which have omega-3 fatty acids that support brain health.

Coffee can also help you feel more alert and happier thanks to caffeine. Leafy greens have antioxidants and other nutrients that protect your brain from damage. Nuts and seeds have vitamin E, preventing cognitive decline as you age. Whole grains have vitamin B6, which helps make serotonin, which regulates mood.




3. Drink plenty of water

Drinking water is super important for your mental health. Your brain needs water to work well. If you don't drink enough, your thinking skills degenerate. More water means more happiness and more serotonin in your brain, strengthening your mental health and hygiene.

4. Cultivate self-awareness

You are the most excellent expert on you! You can learn to observe yourself in action.

One of the most powerful tools is to learn about yourself through the Enneagram. The Enneagram suggests that early in life, you are given one of nine personalities.


Your personality type helps you to notice when you get stuck in your ego. As you become more self-aware, you can eventually catch yourself when you go to automatic mode. In automatic mode, you do things out of habit and often without awareness.

Working consciously with the Enneagram can help you become freed up to be your true self. You learn to catch yourself when you get stuck in old ways of thinking and unconscious habits and behaviors.

As you get healthier in your type, you become stronger in all nine Enneagram Types.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Combat The Long-Term Effects Of Overwork & Burnout

5. Practice self-love and compassion

Learning to love and respect yourself is critical to your mental health hygiene. You are human. To be human is imperfect. The only way to learn is through making mistakes. Accept your humanity with grace.


Remember that some of the most significant discoveries have come out of mistakes.

Learn to love yourself as you are. Do your best. Learn from your mistakes. It is your imperfections that make you uniquely you.



6. Move your body

A great way to quiet your mind and let go of stress is by exercising.


Often, stress gets stuck in the muscles of our body. The more you exercise, whether through walking, sports, running, tai chi, dance, gymnastics, golf, or badminton, the more you can release the stress.

Moving your body helps you to find more energy. It gets the blood flowing through your body, bringing nutrients to every muscle and organ.

7. Routine of meditation and prayer

Whether or not you are part of a religious community, you can benefit from prayer or meditation.

If you are part of a religious community, check out your traditions to see if they are helpful. If you are a Christian, you can check out Contemplative Prayer. 

Contemplative prayer is simple. You find your word or phrase through prayer. Once you have your word or phrase, you use it to open your heart to God. When you get caught up in a thought, repeat your word or phrase to get you unstuck. The beauty of this prayer is that you don’t have to empty your mind. Allow your thoughts to pass by, like the credits at the movie's end. 


A great meditation for everyone is through mindfulness. This is a tool to quiet your mind and works for both the religious and non-religious. Meditation and prayer can enhance our mental health hygiene.

8. Cut back on social media

Instant communication through social media can be very stressful. Social media can be very confusing. What do you believe? Who do you believe? It tends to attract more extreme stories that can impact our mental well-being. 

Notice when you feel overwhelmed. Maybe you need a break from social media.

For the people you want to stay connected with, invite them to stay in touch through email.

RELATED: The 7 Stages of Change — And How To Cope With The Emotions Of Each


9. Know when to reach out

You are not alone in the world. You have family, friends, and colleagues to support you. You have professionals who are happy to help you to maximize your mental health.

Don’t be afraid to reach out. You reveal your courage when you risk reaching out.

Imagine you are looking for a professional to find someone you feel safe to work with. When you meet them for the first time, you are both discerning if you are a good fit.


A good coach or therapist will let you know if they don’t think they are a good fit for you and be able to suggest other people. A good coaching relationship enhances your mental health and hygiene.

10. Strengthen your relationships

You need friends whether or not you are in a long-term relationship. Make sure you take time to nurture your friendships. Who are the people you trust? Who are the people who care about you and want the best for you? Who are the people who equally give and receive over time?

You need people you trust with whom you can be open and vulnerable. Often, we are so close to our problems that we need someone outside of our close relationships to give us the bigger picture.

11. Know when to take a break

Are you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted? Maybe it is time to take a break. Don’t hesitate to ask your boss for a few days off to rest and relax. If you are part of a union, check out if you can access mental health breaks.


During your break, focus on activities that bring you peace and joy. Don’t be afraid to cancel anything you have planned. Good friends will respect your need to take care of yourself. This is a vital part of our mental health hygiene.

Your life is precious. Don’t waste a moment. To get the best out of life, take care of your mental health. This is just the beginning of the journey. Invest in your mental health hygiene and make the best of your life.

RELATED: 13 Brilliant Ways Your Inner Wisdom Shows Up (Without You Even Realizing It)

Roland Legge is an author, certified spiritual life coach, and teacher of the Enneagram. He helps people connect to their inner selves and find alignment with their highest purpose and values.