This is mental health awareness month. Most of the time we, as a profession, focus on what happens to an unhealthy mind. However, I'd like to share a few things that maintain a healthy mind. The brain is a muscle with a compilation of neurological pathways that store information and through chemical signals suggest emotions and movements of the body. Our perception and meanings we make of our life experiences is controlled by our mind. Therefore, people can experience something similar but make different meanings regarding that experience. Thus, perception lends to how one will choose to feel and respond behaviorally. This point proposes we have some control, through choice, to determine how we will remember our experiences based on the meaning we make of our experiences. This can create a level of psychological resilience that can be helpful, especially during a pandemic.
So, what can one do to increase and/or maintain mind health?
Read - feed your mind new information that enlightens you, brings answers to your reality. Not the news, if it a catalyst for anxiety. Rather information that you find useful for psychological and emotional balance in your life. Learning something new daily can also mitigate the potential onset of symptoms associated with alzheimers and dementia.
Exercise - this is the quickest way to produce more chemicals called epinephrine and endorphins. These chemicals make you feel more energized and can translate into feeling more positive and/or happy.
Take time away - if you perceive a situation may bother your peace and resolving the concern in the moment may be tough, walk away for a moment, calm yourself, think of your next steps and re-engage to resolve the concern. This is a way to reduce being frazzled, especially in relationships.
Meditate or focus your mind on things that bring you peace or a mindset of gratitude for a few minutes. This practice teaches your mind how to relax & target your attention. The more your mind knows how to relax, the more equipt you are to think through situations rather than react from a place of emotionality.
So, during this month and beyond, pick up practices that promote the health of your mind because your mind really does matter!