Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Beau Henderson for Authority Magazine. Beau is a syndicated columnist and radio host, and he is great to talk to. It was truly a pleasure to be a part of this series on improving mental wellness.
Just for my website readers, I’ve included some highlights from this interview. Without further ado, here are my picks for the top 5 things you can do to improve your mental wellness.
“Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have a mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. (…) What are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness? Can you please share a story or example for each?”
You are correct that mental wellness does exist on a spectrum. Much goes into influencing the way a person experiences mental health (…). While we may not all be dealt the same hand in life when it comes to traumas (…) there are things that all of us can do in response to these symptoms.
Create a morning mental wellness ritual.
First, find those things that ground you and set the tone for the day ahead. A mentally well morning ritual typically starts with a slow launch into the world by spending time by yourself doing something like journal reflections on your gratitude, taking some time to read someone of interest to you, eating a healthy breakfast, and mentally preparing for the day ahead.
Mental wellness meditation.
Also, give yourself at least 5 minutes a day to start a practice. Many of my clients are hesitant to give meditation a try because they think the goal is to stop thinking and they believe they will screw it up because of their busy minds. The point of meditation is not to avoid thinking — our brains are wired to do just that. The goal is to notice how much we are thinking and how often our thoughts carry us away. Even if you stop and start 25 times in 5 minutes you are still doing it correctly if you notice how often you spin out and get lost in thought. In fact, collecting those moments where you are in the moment is the only goal.
Spend time in nature.
I know you may not have time to go hiking or spend time at the beach every day. However, you can find the time to do something that allows you to breathe fresh air, take in the sights and sounds of your environment, and connect with the world you live in. Even taking your dog for a walk for twenty minutes counts on super busy days as being in nature.
Develop quality friendships.
Time spent with people who accept and appreciate you for all your quirks and flaws reminds you that you are not alone in the world. Connecting with people who you have invested the time in creating deep and meaningful relationships with is one of the best self-care techniques (…). Accepting that it’s not about how many people you know but, how deeply you feel seen and appreciated makes all the difference in your mental wellness.
Get off social media.
[Social Media] is a productivity sucker and an emotional vacuum. Most of us spend way too much time comparing our lives to what we see and believe is happening to other people. Teddy Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” He’s right. The only healthy form of comparison comes from comparing ourselves to where we used to be in life. In fact, [spending time] noticing the ways we have progressed from the person we used to be is the [only healthy way to compare].