How To Maintain Good Mental Health
Maintaining good mental health is a holistic endeavor. We must not only take care of our mind, but also our body, and emotions. Your body, mind, and emotions are intertwined and every experience will touch all three at once. Trouble in one of the three areas can lead to problems for all.
Part of good mental health is also caring for our relationships with others. Having secure, trusting connections with family, friends, and coworkers are necessary for a strong sense of belonging, identity, and well being.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
If you experience mental health problems, first look at your physical health. Our body is our vehicle on this planet and if it is out of balance, sick, or injured, it becomes more difficult to manage the other aspects of our lives.
- Good nutrition is essential for mental health. Everything you eat impacts the chemical functions in your brain and body. Eating too much fast food, processed foods, and sweets can cause depression. Think fruit, veggies, protein, and whole grains.
- We all know the importance of exercise, but finding the motivation to do it is not easy for many of us. If that is true for you, choose fun activities. Play hopscotch, shoot hoops, throw a tennis ball against the garage door, anything to get yourself moving.
- Knowing how to relax is key to your overall health. Practice mindfulness, do yoga, Tai chi, learn breathing relaxation techniques, or go for a walk; and take time for rest and leisure.
MANAGE YOUR MIND
- Follow your interests and passions. You are naturally motivated to pursue them and doing so will energize and enliven you.
- Never assume you know what someone else is thinking or feeling. Much of our human heartache stems from believing we can read other’s minds and hearts. Instead, ask people what they think and feel.
- Stretch and exercise your mind. Research leaves no doubt that giving the mind a challenge keeps it pliable and creates new neural pathway ways, even as we age.
ELEVATE YOUR EMOTIONS
- Play and laughter relax and refresh us, and help us build connections with others. Play can be anything. For some people, reading literature is play while others find reading a chore. Even organizing a closet can be play for the right person at the right time.
- Give of your time, talents, money, compassion, and humor. Anything you share with another that supports him or her, will also support you.
- Having an attitude of curiosity about moods, mistakes, misunderstandings, and people keeps us from making assumptions, and taking things so seriously we dig ourselves into a hole.
YOUR SOCIAL SELF
- If you treat everyone with respect you will also teach them how to treat you. That includes family, partners, children, friends, and the grocery store clerk.
- If you are always true to your word people will quickly learn you can be trusted and you will never have to keep track of what you have told people. Keeping your word makes life much easier and less stressful; and you will be admired.
- Let others know what you need or expect from them. Waiting to receive what you need is setting yourself up for disappointment. Other people cannot read your mind or meet expectations they are unaware you hold.