The importance of a healthy lifestyle when experiencing mental complaints
The importance of a healthy lifestyle when experiencing mental complaints
gezonde leefstijl

In Europe almost 40% of the population suffers from mental health complaints annually. Mental health is influenced by several factors: genetics, living conditions, major life events, but also by daily behavior like lifestyle. Mental health can change significantly by relatively small changes in lifestyle. We will tell you more about it.

What is a healthy lifestyle?

When we talk about lifestyle, we mean to exercise sufficiently, eat healthy and variated, maintain a healthy body mass index, moderate alcohol consumption, no smoking, get enough relaxation and a regular circadian rhythm with enough sleep. All these factors contribute to a healthy body and mind. Being healthy enlarges mental resilience, which causes you to handle stress and setbacks better.

A big scientific study

A big German study done in 2013 where almost 8.000 people participated, showed that all lifestyle factors cited above, are associated with mental health (measured with depression, anxiety, stress and life satisfaction as outcome measures).The study concluded that the more healthy life choices you make, the higher satisfaction in life and lower psychological stress you experience. So lifestyle is really that important! It’s not without reason that one of the most used therapies for depression is behavioural activation, a therapy that mainly consists of, you might have guessed it already, the activation of behaviour! Large effects are obtained using this form of therapy. So even if it is super tough for you or how big of a step it feels for you; start moving, eat healthier and work on your circadian rhythm. It will do you good, even though you might not notice this immediately.

Tips and tricks

But how do you do that, live a healthier life? You don’t have to change your entire course and become a “fit girl”, “bodybuilder” or “health gooroo”. By making some small changes in your daily routine, it’s possible to be more healthy. Below you can find some inspiration!

Food and weight

  • Eat more vegetables with your dinner to make sure you eat enough vitamins.
  • Drink a maximum of one alcoholic beverage per day.
  • Skip soda and drink a glass of water or tea. Curious about the effects of drinking enough water? This article might be something for you!
  • Are you overweight? Search for healthier swaps in your food pattern.
  • Grab a piece of fruit as a snack instead of a cookie.
  • Do you want to know more about the effect of food on how you feel, read it here!


  • Park your car one block further when you are going to work.
  • Hop on your bike for distances shorter than 5 kilometre!
  • Go for a walk after dinner. This is good for digestion, sleep quality and for you relationship/friendship if you go together!
  • Need more tips to get moving? Read them here!

Circadian rhythm and sleep

  • Make sure you get enough hours of sleep per night, try going to bed half an hour earlier.
  • Put away your phone more often and read an inspiring article or book, or listen to a podcast or some relaxing music. This improves your sleep quality and affects your feeling of happiness.
  • Make sure you get enough daylight and movement during the day to optimize your nightrest.
  • Need more tips to sleep better? You can find them here.


  • By planning more relaxing moments, you can reduce overall stress levels.
  • Use your breaks at work; go for a walk or have a chat/coffee with a coworker.
  • Take time to practice your hobbies.
  • Try doing a relaxation exercise which you can find here.


“Make the rest of your life, the best of your life”

NiceDayChoose one of the tips above and plan this daily for a week in your Daily Planner in NiceDay. Feel like you got the hang of it and it is in your routine? Pick the next tip that you feel like trying and plan this also for a week. In this way, you are slowly and steady building a sustainable lifestyle change! Do you feel like you could use some extra guidance in acquiring these new habits? Send a connection to one of our NiceDay coaches!

Share this post! If this post was insightful for you, share it with your loved ones so that they can better understand what you are going through.
Deel dit artikel! Als dit artikel voor jou inzichtelijk was, deel het dan met je omgeving - laten we het samen hebben over mentale gezondheid.

Ilya de Groot

Hi, my name is Ilya, I am a psychologist and coach at NiceDay. I love traveling, good food, new experiences and exercising (roller skating and skiing). The balance between effort and relaxation is important to keep, are you managing? I would like to help you with that!

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