Eight Lifestyle Changes To Improve Your Quality Of Life

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated May 13, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention substance use-related topics that could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use, contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Support is available 24/7. Please see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Many individuals can pinpoint times in their lives when they wanted to feel happier, healthier, or more fulfilled. Various factors, including your mental and physical health, relationships, and eating habits, can impact your quality of life

If you feel stuck, tending to various facets of your life can help you flourish. If you are having a difficult time adapting to a healthier lifestyle all at once, start small. Consider trying one new activity or habit each week or month so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Taking healthy habits one step at a time may be more beneficial than never trying something new at all.

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Ready to make lifestyle changes to improve your mental health?

Signs you might be ready for a change

There may be indicators within your life that it’s time to make lifestyle changes. A few of those signs could include:

  • Low energy
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • Unhealthy relationships
  • Feeling unfulfilled
  • Substance use
  • High levels of stress
  • Feeling down
  • Physical health concerns
  • A mental health diagnosis

This list may not cover every reason. You may experience other signs that indicate a change is in order. If you feel that you’re not living your best life physically, mentally, emotionally, in your relationships, or at work, it could be time to consider making lifestyle adjustments.

Lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life

Lifestyle changes are modifications you might make to your everyday routines. Some habits may take time to develop, so try slowly integrating them into your daily life. 

For example, if you’d like to take up running, consider starting with two or three miles per week and gradually adding more to your efforts over time. Lifestyle changes may be more likely to stick if they’re achievable and specific, so try to set out well-defined goals you know you can accomplish.

Instead of striving to incorporate all the strategies below in one day, consider focusing your energy on one goal and taking on more over time as you become more comfortable with past goals.

1. Eat nourishing foods

Your eating habits can impact your health; the food you eat may affect how much energy you have and your sleep quality. Changing your eating habits to include more balanced nutrition may go a long way toward improving your quality of life. Consider speaking to a nutritionist to find out which types of food work best for your body. There are many eating programs available that can target different areas of health, such as inflammation or gut health. Everyone is different, so what is considered “eating healthier” for your body may not have the same results for someone else. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommend limiting consumption of foods high in added sugars, fat, and sodium. One way to improve your nutrition is to prep nutrient-dense meals each week, which may save you time. If you’re having a difficult time cooking dinner every night, you might also consider signing up for a meal delivery or grocery delivery service to make it simpler to eat more nutritious foods.

2. Stay active

Exercise can positively impact several aspects of life, not just physical health. In one study, researchers found a strong link between physical activity and quality of life. Being active can provide you with more energy and help you stay motivated to participate in activities you enjoy. 

Exercise may improve your mental health by releasing endorphins in your brain that can boost your mood. These endorphins may enhance your self-esteem and help you develop more confidence. If you find an activity that you enjoy, you are more likely to be successful in making it a part of your routine and maintaining the habit over time.

You can go for daily walks, join a gym, do yard work, or create an at-home workout routine to get more exercise. Consider starting an exercise log to keep yourself accountable and track your progress. You can also join exercise classes or an exercise support group like Couch to 5k

If you find exercise difficult at first, you might consider something you can do at home, such as yoga. Studies show that yoga has been effective in treating symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. The stretching involved in yoga can also help your muscles and can make you feel more “fit” when you move on to more strenuous exercises. 

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3. Practice mindfulness

Being present and attuned to your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings is a healthy habit that may significantly improve your well-being. Mindfulness can help you slow down and focus, and there is evidence that it can promote feelings of contentment and peace. 

Recent research has indicated there may be a correlation between mindfulness meditation and feelings of self-compassion. Other studies demonstrate that mindfulness meditation may also increase the size of the hippocampus, the area of your brain that controls learning and memory. 

Mindfulness may help you learn to gain more control over your thoughts. You may learn how to stay in the moment when you practice meditation. During meditation, if you have negative thoughts about your life, allow them to pass without judgment.

4. Get enough rest

Not sleeping enough at night can impact your energy levels, mental and emotional health, and other aspects of your life. Lack of sleep has been linked to the following:

  • Memory concerns
  • Mood changes
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased risk of accidents
  • Weakened immune system
  • High blood pressure
  • Risk of diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Low sex drive
  • Risk of heart disease
  • Poor balance

Try to stick to a sleep schedule by keeping your bedtime and wake time consistent. A night routine can also help you wind down and get better sleep. This routine could include reading, tending to personal hygiene, journaling, stretching, or meditating. Staying away from your phone for an hour before bedtime can also be helpful.

5. Organize your time wisely

Do you feel like you’re frequently playing catch-up or having trouble maximizing the time you have? Creating and sticking to a schedule may help you avoid wasting time and ensure you’re prioritizing tasks efficiently. 

Consider utilizing techniques such as time-blocking, which is allocating specific tasks to certain blocks of time throughout the day. It can also help to keep a planner (physical or digital) with you so that you can jot down appointments and important dates as they arise.

6. Foster healthy relationships

Your relationships with friends or family may significantly impact your quality of life. Studies show that social connection is beneficial for your mental and physical health. If you are struggling in your relationships, you may be able to improve your quality of life by working on strengthening them. 

One way to foster healthy relationships is through couples or family therapy. You may also improve relationships by dedicating more time to those you love.  

Consider being purposeful about who you spend your time with. If you spend a lot of time with negative people, it may impact the way you view the things around you. In this case, it could be helpful to make new friendships and connections with people with a more positive perspective.

7. Consider drinking less alcohol

Recent studies have indicated that giving up drinking might lead to an increase in quality of life. Alcohol can cause depressive symptoms in some individuals, and if this is your experience, you may benefit from cutting it out. You can try a few weeks without alcohol to see if giving it up has an impact on your health and wellbeing. You may also benefit from speaking to a substance use counselor if you find that your use of certain substances feels out of control or negatively impacts your life. 

8. Focus on building a self-care routine

If you find you’re exhausted or experiencing mental burnout,you may need to focus on your self-care habits. Self-care may include ensuring you are eating nutritious foods, resting, and exercising. It can also involve tasks like journaling, meditation, going for walks, or having coffee with a friend each week.

Self-care may be focused onbehaviors that help keep you rejuvenated. Make time for these types of activities. If you find that you’re always putting the needs of others before your own, you may feel like your quality of life is suffering. Look for ways to balance helping others while not sacrificing your health.

You may need to experiment with activities until you find the ones that help you to recharge and take care of your physical, mental, and emotional needs.

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Ready to make lifestyle changes to improve your mental health?

Talk to a therapist

Your quality of life could be negatively impacted by mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. Additionally, you may have a difficult time making healthy decisions in your life or relationships, or you may have previously experienced hurt. In these cases, it can be helpful to talk to a therapist to receive support in setting and accomplishing long-term goals in behavior change. 

Therapy can help you learn research-based strategies and tips that you can apply to your own life. You may focus on boosting life satisfaction by working through past hurt and trauma, developing healthy self-esteem, or learning tips to help with anxiety. 

Many individuals may opt for online therapy, which can be done from home. Research demonstrates that online therapy can often be more effective than traditional in-person counseling. Additionally, certain studies have indicated that online mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective in treating conditions such as anxiety or depression. A licensed therapist through a platform like BetterHelp may be able to help you plan your next steps toward a healthier and happier lifestyle. 


Changing your habits can feel overwhelming at times. However, if you take healthy lifestyle changes one at a time and focus your energy on short steps first, you may be able to stay on course and shift your habits over time. If you’d like professional support while you go through the process of lifestyle change, consider reaching out to a mental health counselor. 

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