A therapist’s view on mental health

As we navigate through our world, there are times of smooth sailing and times of choppy waters that make it difficult to stay on course. Its important however to build certain routines into your daily living. The healthier we are, the more it’ll take to knock us down. In this blog Id like to discuss the healthy routines I use.

My favorite is meditation. For some this will be prayer. The core of both is to take the time, twice a day, to still the mind. To let go of the ‘monkey brain’ that wants to wander from worry to urgent idea to to do lists. This time of nourishment needs to be in a quite space with no distractions for ten to twenty minutes. It helps if its at the same times every day (preferably before your day starts and when it ends). Bring a smile to your face, envision a loving embrace, Gods hands on yours and your focus only on the devotion. When a distracting thought comes in, notice it and let it go. Then bring yourself back to step one, the genuine smile on your face, the feeling of love ect.

Another important routine to a healthy state of mind is paying attention to your physical health. What you are feeding yourself? The mind body spirit all work together in a harmonious whole. When one is out of balance, you’ll feel it in the others. So, pack snacks if you know you’ll be away from home for awhile to forgo the temptations of fast food. Grocery shop for your home, buy a rainbow of produce. Join your local co op. Get rid of the processed foods and junk. Eliminate the temptations. And a branch off this is to also get enough sleep for your body. Research shows women need a little under 9 hours of sleep, men 8. Nourish yourself. Keep yourself strong. Exercise also plays a role in our well being. It will give us energy, help us sleep, improve focus and confidence. Its a powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges. Again, building the routine is key. Schedule it into your day. And if you can bring the social piece into it, exercise with a friend. Join a gym. Be active outdoors with your children.

Get out socially. Build upon your support system. As humans, this is our main driving force. We want and need to be connected to others. These relationships buffer the bad stuff. Give us somewhere to turn during the stressful times. And in return, giving to others also feels good. Lets us feel needed and valued.  These connections are crucial. Levels of happiness are related to the happiness of your social network. If your network needs some work, set aside time for such. Make a list of your friends and family that you’re close to and that are positive and supportive. Make a commitment to make at least one emotional connection to them each day. Discuss whats on your mind and also lend an ear to whats on theirs. Follow up on previous conversations to show you care and are listening. Make social plans, build upon your relationships. Get out and have fun. Try something new. Looking forward to something special gives us a boost in energy.

These are a few of my favorite mental health boosters. Having them in place will help you steady the storms, as well as give you the best version of yourself. It is not an exclusive list by any means. But is a great place to start. Make a commitment to and for yourself. Take baby steps towards bettering your foundation. And keep moving forward, the only danger is standing still.