These 2 Science-Backed Daily Exercises Dramatically Improve Mental Health

These 2 Science-Backed Daily Exercises Dramatically Improve Mental Health

There are lots of articles out there claiming to proffer ways to boost your happiness and wellbeing.

Some are good; some not so.

But if you stick to the evidence-based suggestions, of which there are many, there’s little doubt you’ll find lots of great ways to create more happiness and wellbeing, better mental health and resilience …

via Inverse by Rachel Goldsmith Turow

Mindfulness and self-compassion are now buzzwords for self-improvement. But in fact, a growing body of research shows these practices can lead to real mental health benefits. This research – ongoing, voluminous, and worldwide – clearly shows how and why these two practices work.

One effective way to cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion is through meditation.

For more than 20 years, as a clinical psychologist, research scientist, and educator, I taught meditation to students and clinical patients and took a deep dive into the research literature. My recent book, “The Self-Talk Workout: Six Science-Backed Strategies to Dissolve Self-Criticism and Transform the Voice in Your Head,” highlights much of that research.

I learned even more when I evaluated mental health programs and psychology classes that train participants in mindfulness and compassion-based techniques.


Mindfulness means purposefully paying attention to the present moment with an attitude of interest or curiosity rather than judgment.

Self-compassion involves being kind and understanding toward yourself, even during moments of suffering or failure.

Both are associated with greater well-being.

But don’t confuse self-compassion with self-esteem or self-centeredness or assume that it somehow lowers your standards, motivation, or productivity. Instead, research shows that self-compassion is linked with greater motivationless procrastination, and better relationships.


I didn’t like meditation – the specific practice sessions that train mindfulness and self-compassion – the first time I tried it as a college student in the late ‘90s. I felt like a failure when my mind wandered, and I interpreted that as a sign that I couldn’t do it.

In both my own and others’ meditation practices, I’ve noticed that the beginning is often rocky and full of doubt, resistance, and distraction.

But what seems like impediments can actually enhance meditation practice because the mental work of handling them builds strength.

For the first six months, I meditated; my body and mind were restless. I wanted to get up and do other tasks. But I didn’t. Eventually, it became easier to notice my urges and thoughts without acting upon them. I didn’t get as upset with myself.

After about a year of consistent meditation, my mind seemed more organized and controllable; it no longer got stuck in self-critical loops. I felt a sense of kindness or friendliness toward myself in everyday moments, as well as during joyful or difficult experiences. I enjoyed ordinary activities more, such as walking or cleaning.

It took a while to understand that anytime you sit down and try to meditate, that’s meditation. It is a mental process rather than a destination…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE