Four Mental Exercises to End the Day

The minutes before you go to sleep are crucial to slow down the speed at which your mind works and prepare you to rest. These exercises will promote reflection, relaxation, and personal development.
Four Mental Exercises to End the Day
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

What do you do in the last few moments before you go to sleep? On the positive side, maybe you watch a TV series, read a book, or chat with your partner for a while. However, it’s probably more likely that you often spend these crucial minutes worrying about all the negative things that have happened during the day or about what might happen tomorrow.

If you want to take advantage of this important time of day in a positive way, we’re going to suggest some simple mental exercises for you to try.

The moments before you fall asleep are of the utmost importance. Indeed, this time should harmoniously bring your day to a close and prepare you for rest, and to start the new day feeling refreshed. For this reason, it’s extremely beneficial to establish a routine with certain rituals that’ll help you automate this kind of behavior as a habit.

Mental exercises to end the day

Woman writing before bed

1. Give thanks

Gratitude is an extremely beneficial practice for your well-being. However, unfortunately, you’re often not used to stopping to think about all the good that surrounds you.

For instance, the people around you who appreciate you and the happy events that have taken place in your day. These are small details that you tend to overlook yet they’re really valuable. Indeed, there’s a great deal to be thankful for, you just have to be willing to show it.

Therefore, every night, take a few minutes to count your blessings. In fact, try and get into the habit of giving thanks for at least three things that have contributed to making you happy that day. This simple exercise will help you to develop a more positive mind, feel fulfilled and more satisfied with your life, and be more optimistic about the future.

2. Congratulate yourself

When was the last time you spoke to yourself with love and recognized your achievements, merits, and efforts? These practices are easy to perform and contribute greatly to forging love for yourself. As a matter of fact, self-love forms the basis of your well-being and your ability to overcome obstacles.

One of the best mental exercises to end the day is to gather up each of your successes, and each step you’ve taken toward your objectives and goals. Congratulate yourself for being responsible and finishing that job on time, for being an active participant in that meeting, for being patient and loving with your children, or generous with your friends.

Acknowledge the good deeds you’ve done today and go to bed feeling proud of who you are. Get in the habit of acknowledging your value on a daily basis.

3. Redirect yourself

Analyzing the mistakes you’ve made isn’t, in itself, negative but you generally do it as a way of reproaching and punishing yourself. However, your goal shouldn’t be to list all your failures and mentally beat yourself up, but to analyze at what times of the day you acted in a way that you didn’t like and decide how you can change things.

For instance, perhaps you raised your voice to your partner and would like to learn to be more assertive. Maybe you’re really hard on yourself and want to improve your inner dialogue. Or you’ve realized that your negative attitude is what makes many of your plans fail and you want to change it. It’s not so much about reproaching yourself for what you did wrong, but about becoming aware and reflecting on how you can do better tomorrow.

4. Visualize

Visualizing is one of the activities that you should include in your nightly routine. In fact, professional athletes, musicians, and other important personalities know how to use the power of visualization to increase their chances of succeeding in their goals.

When visualizing, you activate the same structures in your brain as if what you’re imagining were really happening. These ‘mental rehearsals’ predispose you to achieve your goals. Therefore, every night, try and visualize yourself in the successful situation you want to achieve and fall asleep in that state.

Woman with eyes closed practicing a visualization technique

Other mental exercises to end the day

The above are just a few of the many end-of-the-day mental exercises that can be done. Other practices, such as deep breathing or meditation, are also really helpful, as well as keeping a personal diary.

In short, any activity that helps you reflect on your day, reduce activation, and improve your mental and emotional state can be useful. At the end of the day, what you need to do is abandon the habit of going to bed remembering and imagining the worst.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Moyano, N. C. (2010). Gratitud en la psicología positiva. Psicodebate. Psicología, Cultura y Sociedad, (10), 103-118.
  • Robledo Londoño, D. M., & Roldan Álvarez, L. A. (2014). Visualización en deportistas lesionados.

The contents of Exploring Your Mind are for informational and educational purposes only. They don't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment of a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.