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Boost Your Mental Fitness with Jimi Hunt's Tips

13 May 2024

Boost Your Mental Fitness

Small changes that can help to improve your mental wellbeing 

Making changes that can help to improve your mental wellbeing often feels like climbing a mountain, when in reality, small changes done consistently can be incredibly effective. Here are five simple tips that you can action today, to help improve your overall mental wellbeing.

1% Every Day

It’s called the ‘Aggregation of Marginal Gains’ but to you and me it’s about being 1% better every day. It’s a small, achievable goal that compounds over time. How much? Well, if you got 1% better each day for a year that would make you 37.8 times better at the end! (1.01365=37.8)

It’s just like your physical fitness, a little bit at a time done consistently means that fitness creeps up on you and suddenly you’re running marathons! Try giving yourself one compliment everyday, or saying one thing that you’re proud of yourself for. Then check in how you feel by the end of the week!


Meditation is the number one tool that should be in everyone’s mental health toolbox. It works by giving you greater self-awareness, and helps our subconscious to respond to life’s challenges in a more disciplined way.

Studies have shown that meditation reduces stress levels and this means less anxiety. The key is to do it regularly. If you make it a habit over time the way you respond to stress and your ability to cope with it will improve.

There are lots of different ways to meditate, but for beginners I recommend Music Meditation. This is basically a meditation practice to teach you how to meditate. The practice of Music Meditation is simple: you listen to music, when your mind wanders to a thought, you acknowledge the thought and then return to the music.

Start by making a 30 minute playlist of your favourite songs on your phone. Tomorrow morning, wake up 10 minutes early (it’s best to meditate in the morning, ideally before you eat), pop on your headphones, lie back down and listen to your playlist. Focus on the music, when a thought comes into your mind, acknowledge it and let it pass, going back to your music. Do that for 10 minutes. Keep practicing each day, slowly building up to 30 minutes over the next couple of months.

Once you’ve learned the basic skill of meditation, you can explore other variations of meditation (Zazen, Buddhist, Taoist, Vipassana, Mindfulness) and tools like Calm or Headspace to find one that works for you.

Breathing techniques

Another great way to manage stress and anxiety is by putting your attention on your breath. Techniques like mindful breathing or deep breathing can have a very calming effect.

Mindful breathing is simply the act of concentrating fully on the natural rhythm of your breathing, without trying to change it. It tends to have the effect of slowing your breathing down. Most breathing techniques are best done in a quiet place without distraction and in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down.

Deep breathing on the other hand is a great hack for when you are in the midst of a stressful situation and need to calm yourself quickly.

Drink more water

One of the biggest drivers of high stress levels is the hormone cortisol. It is the ‘stress’ hormone, which builds up in your body naturally. Life is stressful, so you can’t avoid it.

But you can support your body to flush out cortisol on a regular basis. Cortisol can cause dehydration and dehydration can cause stress, so in this chicken and egg scenario, drinking water is one of your best friends.

The way I do it is by setting a timer on my phone multiple times a day. Each time it goes off I make myself drink a 500 ml bottle of water, and on average that means I consume 2 litres of water a day. Easy peasy!

Walking for 30 minutes a day

The mental health benefits of getting outside and walking for half an hour a day in many ways are self explanatory. We feel better when we move, when we are getting fresh air and sun, and when we are surrounded by natural beauty.

But putting the obvious aside, one of the main benefits of getting out and walking every day is the exposure to the sun, which results in your body producing vitamin D. This hormone-like substance releases neurotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin, which in turn impact brain function and by association, mental health.

And we all know that walking allows us time for quiet reflection, a balm in this busy, overstimulating world, and is a known stress reliever.

Social Connection

Studies have shown when we don’t have enough contact with other people it affects our overall health - physical, mental and emotional. For example one study has shown that lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

People with good social connections have been found to have lower levels of anxiety and depression, greater levels of self-esteem, more empathy for others and are generally more trusting and cooperative. Social connectivity - not digital - appears to create a positive feedback loop that heightens overall wellbeing.

So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Make plans with friends, check in with people who you might’ve lost contact with, or go along to a free meet-up to find like-minded humans.

Try Everything!!

There is no magic pill that fixes everything for us, but there are many things you can try and hopefully you’ll find something that works for you.

You could try meditation and breathwork, surfing and yoga, the knitting club and the beach clean-up, therapy and self-help books; try it all.

In my experience it’s not one single thing that makes the difference but the overall impact of lots of little interventions that has the biggest impact. ‘Wellbeing’ is really about getting back to basics in a hectic world. Even better, none of these things costs a dime.