Mental Health Fitness Tips: Improve Your Outlook in Recovery

Addiction and recovery take a toll not only on your physical health but also on your mental wellness. Being mentally fit goes a long way to improving your outlook. It is essential to learn how to nurture and support mental health while navigating recovery.

Get Physical

One way to improve your outlook is to get moving. When you move, endorphins are released in your brain, making you feel better. You naturally have a positive outlook when you feel good. The following are ways you can get physical:

  • Take a walk – Step outside and enjoy the outdoors. Let your senses take it all in. You get both physical and mental exercise. A daily walk can refresh your mind and get you focused for the day.
  • Work in a garden – For people who enjoy the outdoors, gardening can be relaxing. You can be creative, choosing which flowers to plant. If you do not have a garden of your own, see if you have a community garden or ask a neighbor if they need help. 
  • Participate in fun activities – Do things you have not done in a while, like rollerblading in the park or try something new like indoor rock climbing.
  • Learn a new skill/hobby – When you focus your attention on something new, you take your attention off your addiction. Hobbies allow you to spend time and mental energy elsewhere.

Getting out and about is essential for people in recovery. Fresh air clears your mind and puts you in a good mood.


Mental Exercises

You can take deliberate action to improve your mental well-being. Research shows that engaging in specific activities can increase mental acuity. The following activities have proven to enhance mental fitness:

  • Reading – Any form of reading improves your mind. You learn new words, strengthen your memory and adventure into new worlds. 
  • Brain games – You can download various game apps on your phone to exercise your brain. Search for brain games or brain exercise in your app store to find apps that are fun to play and improve your mental wellness.
  • Crosswords – These games improve your spelling and eye-hand coordination, requiring your brain to function in a specific way.   
  • Chess – Logic games help keep your mind alert. These games activate certain areas of the brain that improve mood and overall mental health. Together, this improves your outlook.
  • Sudoku – Another logic-based game, Sudoku activates the brain’s area that deals with recall and memory. It is a time-based game that many people find challenging because it involves numbers instead of letters. Sudoku is available in various levels of difficulty.

Any time you engage your brain in positive interactive activities, you increase your brain’s agility. A strong brain helps you take care of your mental well-being. That, in turn, gives you the tools to manage your outlook on life and your recovery.



Taking care of yourself is a top priority if you are in addiction recovery. Self-care prevents relapse and builds self-confidence. It also is essential for mental fitness. The following are examples of self-care for mental wellness:

  • Daydream – When you relax, let your mind flow, and daydream — you have no worries. You can decide what you want to daydream about by focusing on a topic, person or place. Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. 
  • Repeat affirmations – You may find it helpful to find positive sayings, turn them into affirming statements about yourself and repeat them regularly or in certain situations. For example, when fighting cravings, you might repeat to yourself, “I am worth living a sober life” to avoid giving in to temptation.
  • Visualize your life – Visualization is a powerful technique that helps you imagine your life after addiction. You visualize life around your recovery. It can include family, friends, a job, a home and other goals you set for yourself. Visualization makes goals appear possible.
  • Listen to uplifting podcasts – Find a podcast by an individual with a lived experience like yours. Listening to it reaffirms your hope for recovery. That reaffirmation is essential to your self-care, keeping you on the recovery path.
  • Keep a gratitude journal – Writing down what you are thankful for is a powerful exercise. First, you must think about it. Then you form an organized thought around what you are grateful for in your life. Finally, you write it down.

As you learned in treatment, self-care must be your priority. If you do not put yourself first, you risk relapse. 

Mental health fitness is essential for a positive outlook on life and addiction recovery. What you do, read and listen to impacts your mental wellness.


When you are in drug or alcohol recovery, the health of your whole self is essential to maintain a positive outlook in life. If you want to stay mentally healthy during your recovery, you need to be proactive. Mental wellness, like physical health, does not happen by itself. There are specific steps to take to ensure your mental health fitness. Turn to Cliffside Malibu in California to provide unique treatment and recovery options for individuals with alcohol and substance use disorders. We offer compassionate and supportive care for all our patients. Call us at (855) 403-5641 to learn how to help you or a loved one. We are here to help.