Taking care of yourself includes pursuing activities that naturally release endorphins and contribute to feeling good. In addition to physical exercise, endorphins are also naturally released when we:
Do things that positively impact others. Being useful to others and being valued for what you do, can help build self-esteem.
Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
Learn new things. Think of it as “intellectual candy.” Try taking a cooking class or swimming, learning a new language, or simply traveling somewhere new.
Enjoy the beauty of nature. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. The same goes for admiring architecture or sitting on a beach.
Manage your stress levels. Stress takes a heavy toll on mental and emotional health, so it’s important to keep it under control. While not all stressors can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.
Limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. Try to avoid negative thoughts about yourself and the world. This can drain your energy, and trigger feelings of anxiety, fear, and depression.
Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it—things like gardening, drawing, writing, or playing an instrument.
Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them, like watching a funny movie. Doing things just because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.
Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Meditate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.