Optimizing Your Mental Health

There are many measures of a healthy mind, but one thing is certain: to be healthy in mind is to be action oriented. Health is not a passive state of being in either the physical or mental realm. Passivity is the first step toward depression. So, to get and stay healthy in the mental realm consider the following actions listed below to move toward a higher degree of mental health.

1) Exercise
Exercising can help ease symptoms of depression. Getting outside and going for a walk even if it’s for a short time can be beneficial not just for exercising, but it can help improve your overall mood.

2) Spending time in nature
Spending time in nature can influence you to be more positive and improve your mood. Consider taking a walk on your lunch break, go out with friends on a hike over the weekend, or just go to a local park.

3) Spend time with loved ones.
Depression can tempt us to isolate and withdraw from people you love and trust. It may be hard to make yourself get out and talk to people, even the ones you love, but it will overall make you feel better and maybe they need it too.

4) Meditation
Meditating helps provide some distance from negative thoughts or stressful feelings. Regular practice can help by changing how the brain responds to depression and anxiety.

5) Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep problems can increase the risk of developing depression. Keeping a consistent bedtime and wake time sets aside the 7-9 hours of sleep, and gives your body the opportunity for a full night of sleep.

6) Diet
Food can influence mental health. Eating a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits highly processed foods, can help reduce symptoms of depression.

7) Limiting drugs and alcohol
It can be tempting to drink if you’re feeling unhappy, but there’s a better solution out there. When treating depression and substance abuse, consult a mental health professional who can provide resources and recommendations for possible treatment options.

8) Incorporating art into your daily routine

Seeing beautiful imagery that celebrates life and the wonderful possibilities it offers can give us a big emotional lift. For specific sites to visit, consider Artrenewal.com and FineArtConnoisseur.com. Also consider music and movies as other art forms to give you an emotional lift. The Sound of Music, for example, has been loved by millions around the world since its debut in the 1960s.

9) Spend time with pets and other domestic animals
The importance and value of spending time with domestic animals and its positive effect on our emotional well being is well known. Having your own pet can help enormously, but if you don’t have one consider other ways to spend around furry, lovable creatures such as: spending time in pet stores or a local zoo, visiting dog parks, and taking walks in your neighborhood where you know there are animals that are friendly and enjoy attention of people other than their owners.

10) Celebrate you spirituality
The ability to think with clarity and rationality and to select values that are life enhancing are crucial factors in achieving an optimum state of health and wellness. It is through our selection and adherence to our chosen values that we find purpose and meaning in our lives—critical steps in learning to celebrate our spirituality.

Q: What is the human need for Spirituality in general?
A: “. . .the inherent human desire to connect with some ‘other’ that offers affirmation of one’s personal worth in the context of the vast impersonal universe into which we are born and live out our own individual time on earth.” – Alexandra York, author of Soul Celebrations & Spiritual Snacks
NOTE: For a new perspective on spirituality from a secular perspective see the review of Soul Celebrations & Spiritual Snacks available HERE.

Remember: good health is not a passive state of being in either the physical or mental realm. Following some or all of the suggestions above will help you get started. It won’t always be easy, but you are worth it.