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Energy, Stress and Mood
How to Improve Mental Wellness
Swanson Staff • March 20, 2024

Three Universal Methods That Improve Mental Wellness

Mental wellness (or mental health) may not always be the first thing we consider when it comes to our lifestyle. It’s easy to go through our day focusing on the hustle and bustle rather than checking in on ourselves and how we feel. When our mental health needs go unchecked, they can carry over into our daily needs and can leave us feeling fatigued, down in the dumps or just “off.”

However, the uptick of interest in prioritizing mental wellness is groundbreaking and can make a big difference when it comes to our quality of life. Small changes in our routines can lead to large impacts that can leave us feeling happier and more fulfilled.

When you put your needs first you may find that you’re more able to feel your best, work your best and live as the best version of yourself, rather than coast through your day-to-day.

There are three areas of focus that directly affect mental wellbeing: sleep, stress and cognition. When we take time to practice healthier habits that nourish these needs, we’re taking the action required to live healthier starting from an often-neglected foundation—our mind.

Restful Sleep and Mental Wellness

We’ve all had restless nights where we’re left tossing and turning. How do you usually feel when you haven’t had restful sleep?

Some of us are left completely exhausted, making any small task seem like a herculean feat and causing us to procrastinate even with important tasks. For others, we’re unable to think straight and don’t quite feel right throughout the entire day. And some of us are just plain irritable and lack patience with little things that don’t usually bother us.

Regardless of how fatigue hits you, when we don’t get restful sleep, our mental wellness is impacted.

The Sleep Health Foundation recommends that adults aged 18-64 should get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. When we don’t get restful sleep, our bodies create more cortisol, a hormone associated with stress which impacts mood, cognitive function and even getting better sleep the next night.1

On the flipside, when we do get restful sleep, we’re more able to have a healthy response to stress, our mood is more balanced and we have more cognitive clarity throughout the day.

Healthy sleep hygiene is an important part of getting the sleep we need. By keeping your room cool, dark and quiet, you’ll have an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep. You can also build a nighttime routine that helps you wind down. You can take a warm bath a couple hours before bed, read a book or listen to relaxing music.

A great rule of thumb for anyone is to turn off any screens or sources of blue light at least 30 minutes before bed. Blue light can trick our mind into thinking it’s daytime and also keep it engaged, making it difficult to fall asleep quickly.2

You can also add supplements to your evening that can help relax your mind. Look for ingredients like chamomile, valerian root, melatonin and 5-HTP to help get better sleep.

Healthy Stress Management and Mental Wellness

Stress is sometimes unavoidable and can throw our days off completely at times. It can cause us to buckle under pressure, feel helpless and can also cause physiological changes like higher levels of glucose in our bloodstream due to heightened cortisol levels.

The American Psychological Association also suggests that stress can impact multiple facets of wellness like experiencing physical tension and negatively impacting heart and digestive health. When we leave our mental health unchecked, stress can continue to pile on and, in turn, drain us of mental energy, make it more difficult to fall asleep later and even impact our ability to concentrate the following day.

Managing stress and maintaining a healthy response to stress is crucial for ensuring that our cortisol levels remain reasonable so that we can keep a clear head, slow racing thoughts before bed and complete tasks with ease.

While methods for winding down can vary from person to person, a simple way to manage stress is to find small breaks throughout the day to give our minds a chance to recover. Some enjoy meditation or breathing exercises, while others may journal, draw or even moving more (exercise) to get any frustrations out.

If you find an activity you enjoy, stick with it and even pair it with some soothing supplements like ashwagandha, saffron or magnesium to get all the stress-busting bliss you deserve. Even small activities like watering some plants, spending time with a pet or loved one and cooking a meal can help soothe your thoughts and bring some peace of mind.

Clear Cognition and Mental Wellness

Cognition, or overall brain function, can include lots of elements like focus, energy, memory and more. Clear cognition is necessary for us to carry out everyday functions and activities from picking up groceries to learning new skills. However, if you’ve been bogged down by stress or haven’t slept well, it can be difficult to stay on track with even the simplest of tasks.

Sleep quality and stress levels both heavily impact healthy cognitive function. During each sleep cycle, our brain can both recover and remove byproducts that accumulate throughout the day so that it has a fresh start tomorrow.3 Without seven hours of sleep, we’re not able to give our brain enough time to recharge, which impacts our mood, ability to focus and more.

Similarly, stress levels also impact our brain health. As an essential stress hormone, cortisol is actually good for us in moderation as it is released during our fight or flight response as an evolutionary adaptation to keep us alive and focused under difficult circumstances.

However, chronic stress and excessive amounts of cortisol can do more harm than good. This hormone can negatively impact many parts of brain function from concentration and memory to learning new skills.

While healthy stress management and sleep habits are great ways to support cognitive function, there are also other methods to keep your mind sharp over time as well as healthy habits to keep your brain working at its best.

Word games, sudoku and puzzles are a great way to keep your mental edge. Physical activity can increase blood flow to your brain and seven hours of restful sleep is one of the best ways to allow yourself time to recharge. Reach for mind-nourishing foods like broccoli, salmon and even coffee and look for nootropics to help with mental energy, memory and focus.

Prioritizing Mental Wellness

The first step toward living a more balanced, healthy lifestyle is to address mental wellness as a daily necessity. Trends come and go, but mental health is a fundamental part of how we think, feel and interact with our surroundings. Be sure to take the time you need to step back from everything going on in the world to assess what your unique needs are and find methods of self-care that work for you.

Remember that mental wellbeing isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Whatever brings you joy, helps you relax or makes you feel at ease is a great way to give yourself some time and space to recover.

You be well, now.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. Interactions Between Sleep, Stress, and Metabolism. Sleep Science. Read More
  2. Youth Screen Media Habits and Sleep. National Library of Medicine. Read More
  3. The Neuroprotective Aspects of Sleep. National Library of Medicine. Read More