19 Underrated Habits That Aren’t Flashy But Actually Work

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You’ve probably been bombarded with all the same old advice about what you should be doing to “improve” yourself. From waking up at a ridiculous hour to hitting the gym when you can barely lift your mood, it’s easy to feel like you’re failing the latest trend in self-improvement.

But what if I told you there are a bunch of underrated habits out there that could genuinely make your life better—habits that don’t get the spotlight they deserve because they’re not flashy—but actually work? So, that’s what I’m doing. It’s time to dive into the good stuff you’ve likely overlooked.

1. Dancing and Listening to Music

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Dancing and listening to music are a fun way to stay active and significantly boosts mental health and cognitive function. They stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which promote an improved sense of well-being. 

Dancing encourages creativity, helps alleviate stress, and fosters social interaction and community, making it a multifaceted activity that enriches physical and emotional well-being. You don’t have to leave the house. Turn on some music and try a little lighthearted dance with your partner or rocking back and forth while cooking dinner or getting dressed. 

2. Waking up on Time

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It’s not life-changing for everyone to wake up at 5 am. However, waking up on time and getting to work or starting your day on time is important. 

Establish a habit of getting rid of the snooze button and joyfully waking up on time. This reinforces a natural sleep cycle, enhancing overall sleep quality and energy levels throughout the day. It also contributes to a more structured day, for a consistent routine that increases productivity and decreases stress.

3. Having a Couple of Good Friends

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Research suggests that social isolation can have health impacts as severe as smoking, highlighting the importance of nurturing relationships. Good friends provide a sense of belonging and can buffer against stress and depression.

You don’t need a lot of friends. Just one or two that you can depend on. Good friends are always there for you when you need them, and their expectations are much lower than seen in other relationships with people.

4. Going to the Gym When You Don’t Want to Go

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Going to the gym isn’t magical. The life-changing habit isn’t going to the gym. Many people are going to the gym regularly. The life-changing benefit of going to the gym steps in when you’re going to the gym when you don’t want to go. 

Pushing yourself to the gym even when you lack motivation can help cement a strong discipline that transcends fitness. This habit builds mental resilience and ensures consistency in physical activity, which is key for long-term health and fitness progress.

5. Decluttering Regularly

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Decluttering and organizing once or twice only lasts for so long. However, regular decluttering for as little as five minutes every day keeps your living environment tidy and functional. It also reduces stress and mental clutter. This simple habit simplifies your surroundings, making it easier to focus and enjoy your space, enhancing overall life satisfaction and ease.

6. Practicing Mindfulness and Deep Breathing

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Mindfulness and deep breathing aren’t given enough credit. These exercises help center your thoughts, calm the nervous system, and reduce stress and anxiety. Regular practice can improve emotional regulation, enhanced focus, and a greater sense of peace in everyday life. You’ll be more resilient in facing daily challenges. Just try it, this one actually works.

7. Saying No

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Learning to say no is crucial for setting healthy personal boundaries, conserving mental energy, and effectively prioritizing your time and resources. This habit empowers you to take control of your life, focus on what truly matters, and avoid overcommitment, which can lead to burnout and diminished well-being.

8. Making a Budget

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Creating and sticking to a budget is essential for financial health. It also contributes to mental peace by reducing anxiety related to finances. Learn to live within your means and gain a sense of security and control.

9. Embracing Quiet Time

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Life is naturally exhausting. Everyone needs time to themself and it’s not being selfish (within reason). 

Allocating time for quiet and solitude can significantly improve mental clarity and creativity. Quiet time helps with deep thinking, problem-solving, and decompressing from the constant noise of everyday life, leading to better decision-making and a more balanced life.

10. Practicing Gratitude

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There’s nothing like saying thank you. Keeping a gratitude journal or regularly reflecting on what you are thankful for can transform your outlook on life, enhance psychological health, and increase happiness. This habit shifts focus from what is lacking to what is abundant, fostering a positive mindset and improving your overall life satisfaction.

11. Going to Therapy

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Therapy isn’t just for when things go wrong. Regular sessions can help you understand yourself better and develop healthier coping strategies. Therapy provides a safe space to explore your thoughts and feelings, leading to greater self-awareness and emotional resilience.

Of course, it depends on the quality of the therapist. However, there are lots of modalities and theories to try. So, don’t give up after the first therapist. Find someone you can connect with. Someone who is empathetic and listens in non-judgmental way.

12. Regularly Using a Sauna

Young woman in towel relaxing in wooden sauna at spa. Asian woman in bathrobe doing body treatment in sauna.
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Regular sauna use has been linked to numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, enhanced detoxification processes, and reduced stress levels. The heat from the sauna promotes the relaxation of muscles and aids in releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which can help decrease symptoms of stress and depression. In as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day you can repeat the benefits of sitting in the sauna.

13. Journaling

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Journaling is a powerful tool for mental health. It offers a safe outlet for expressing thoughts and emotions and helps process feelings. Regular journaling can also track personal growth and development, offering insightful reflections on one’s life journey. It can make things clearer and lead to greater self-awareness, reduced stress, and better problem-solving abilities.

14. Practicing Mindful Eating

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Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking, both inside and outside the body. This practice helps improve digestion, maintain optimal weight, and reduce overeating. It encourages a healthier relationship with food as it focuses on the quality rather than the quantity of what you consume, and heightens enjoyment during meals.

15. Learning Something New

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The habit of learning new skills or acquiring new knowledge regularly can keep the brain engaged and promote neural growth, which helps maintain cognitive function as you age. It also adds to personal satisfaction and confidence, making everyday life more fulfilling and exciting as you explore new interests and challenges.

16. Spending Time Outdoors

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Regular exposure to natural environments is beneficial for mental and physical health. Time spent outdoors, especially in green spaces, has been shown to lower blood pressure, enhance immune function, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Activities like hiking, gardening, or just walking through a park can significantly increase one’s overall well-being and life satisfaction.

17. Praying

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Praying can serve as a profound source of comfort, strength, and guidance in people’s lives. It often involves meditation and reflection, which can reduce stress and promote a sense of peace and well-being. Regular prayer can deepen one’s spirituality, provide a way to cope with adversity, and foster a sense of community and belonging through shared religious practices.

18. Saying Positive Affirmations

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Positive affirmations can reshape our thinking patterns and change the way we feel about ourselves and our lives. By regularly affirming one’s self-worth and capabilities, it is possible to foster greater self-esteem and a more positive mindset that can overcome negative thoughts and habits. This practice encourages persistence, promotes self-compassion, and can lead to enhanced performance and satisfaction in various aspects of life.

19. Carrying Water Everywhere

Businesswoman With Laptop Sitting At Desk Keeping Hydrated Drinking From Water Bottle In Office.
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Making a habit of carrying water everywhere encourages regular hydration, which is crucial for maintaining optimal body function. Proper hydration improves skin health, aids digestion, supports cognitive function, and can prevent overeating by helping you feel full. Having water on hand at all times makes it easier to avoid sugary drinks and promotes a healthier lifestyle overall.

16 Common Expressions Everyone Gets Wrong

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Eggcorns are probably not what you think they are. They’re not a type of egg or a type of corn. In fact, “eggcorn” is the term for a misheard or misinterpreted word or phrase.

Most of us flow through life using eggcorns without ever realizing it. If you’ve been using one, two, or all of these eggcorns, don’t worry — you’re far from alone. But you can feel superior to everyone else by learning the correct expressions! These are some of the most common eggcorns.

14 Cheap Purchases That Make You More Productive

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Countless distractions and heavy workloads demand maximum productivity. The solution isn’t found in overtime and grand gestures. It’s found in small investments.

These purchases are not about cutting corners but making smart enhancements to your workplace to boost organization, relaxation, creativity, and time management. Whether you’re a busy professional, a creative soul searching for inspiration, or anyone in between, these cheap purchases could be the game-changer you’ve been looking for to be more productive.

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Theresa Bedford is a travel and lifestyle writer with an obsession to simplify life and travel more. She writes about simple living, money, travel destinations, family-friendly activities, and more. Her work has been featured on the Associated Press wire, MSN.com, GoBankingRates, Wealth of Geeks, Savorteur, and more.

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