The 12 habits that will improve and maintain your mental health
May 17, 2022
After many years of personal search, going through moments of anxiety and constant excess of thoughts that sometimes paralyzed me or separated from loved ones, I learned some habits that, both for me and for my clients, have become essential tools of lifetime.
Let us see below what are the habits that help maintain good mental health.
- Related article: "The 10 benefits of going to psychological therapy"
Habits that promote mental health
These are the 12 habits to maintain a good level of mental health that you can apply to your day to day life.
1. Change the concept of having to fix something inside yourself
When we think that we should fix something inside of us and we feel inadequate, we are assuming that we came into the world with something defective.
When we use the concept of fixing something referring to us, we feel trapped in a continuous cycle of insecurity. Therefore, we act from the need to change what is malfunctioning, or makes us incomplete. We identify with a negative image of ourselves.
Let go of the idea that something is wrong within you. You came equipped with everything you need and you are complete. You just need to really see this: you are enough.
2. Be aware of the thoughts you are generating
The mind continually throws us all kinds of thoughts. Creating thoughts is inevitable, it is simply required to be aware of them for what they are: thoughts.
At the moment we observe them, we create a space that allows us not to stay involved in them for a long time. They can arise, but if we don't validate them as facts, they lose their power. In this way, they stop conditioning us and we direct our attention to other things. This makes a total difference.
- You may be interested: "Intrusive thoughts: why they appear and how to manage them"
3. Use your breath to slow down the flow of your thoughts
There is a very close link between breathing and the flow of thoughts. Anxiety is the reflection of an overly active mind. When we slow down our breathing, we naturally slow down our thoughts and therefore reduce our anxiety.
4. look at the past as an illusion
The past is just a concept. On many occasions part of our suffering comes because thoughts from the past determine and justify present behavior. For example, if someone was bullied at school, she will justify thoughts about those events to determine a current personality that fears criticism. When we are aware of how the past is conditioning us and we decide to let go of its control over us, we are free to enjoy the present.
5. Exercise most days
If you want to keep your mind healthy, understand the connection between mind and body. When we take care of ourselves physically, our minds also benefit. The mind in a sense is our body. We are much more vulnerable to unhealthy thought patterns when we don't move our energy through our body. Life is movement. However, we are often trying to cheat life by paralyzing our energy when we remain static for too long.
Yoga is, without a doubt, one of the healthiest practices to improve our mental health, moving our energy through our body, and placing our body in the most appropriate way, as if it were an antenna prepared to reorganize our energy correctly.
- Related article: "The 10 psychological benefits of practicing physical exercise"
6. Look at moments of difficulty as an opportunity or lesson
Remind yourself: there is a lesson in each difficulty. When we are mired in suffering we lose the ability to see clearly. It is a matter of perspective, everything depends on the place we choose to look at each situation. In every problem there is an opportunity to grow.
7. Familiarize yourself with “the space”
"The gap" is a moment of pause between a thought and a behavioral response. Practice not reacting with anger when you have an immediate impulse. Instead, allow that “space” between thought/emotion and response to emerge. Usually it's a matter of ten seconds.
8. tolerate uncertainty
Intolerance of uncertainty and wanting to have everything under control is a sure path to anxiety. We have a (very human) need to know precisely what will happen next. This, obviously, in many cases, is not possible. Inner tranquility comes naturally when you let go of the need to always know what's going to happen next... Trust the uncertainty and instead of looking at it as a danger, look at it as an ally. You will perform better in all areas of your life.
- You may be interested: "Fear of uncertainty: 8 keys to overcome it"
9. choose happiness
Many of us believe that our stress is determined by what happens in our lives and in our circumstances. This is false. The tension arises only from our thinking, from our personal perceptions. Based on that, we determine our experiences because we are the creators of them. We can choose to be comfortable. We can choose to be happy. It is something that is generated internally.
10. act more slowly
Life slows down when we slow down and rush. Try it. Notice how those who are fidgety or move and talk quickly are often the most anxious. Anxiety is created, in large part, by trying to rush through life. We can't process reality that fast, so everything becomes more complicated when we rush. Slow down. Do one thing and then the other; You will see that everything becomes easier.
- Related article: "Slow living: what it is and what habits this lifestyle raises"
11. Understand the difference between imagination and rumination
Be aware of the tremendous power that thoughts have. They can be used to visualize futures, build bridges, empathize with others, and make valuable calculations. But also be aware of their destructive power, especially when they take the form of worry or rumination. Pay attention to the difference and shorten the rumination. How will you know how to do this? - Bring your attention back to the present moment.
12. Regularly connect with pure awareness
Pure consciousness is living the world around us without judging. When we judge, we also feel the negative meaning of those judgments, which causes us stress. For example, if we think that someone or a situation is annoying, we will feel that discomfort in our mind and in our body. Awareness is our exit door beyond all this.
Dedicate a moment every day to listen and feel what arises from within you and around you without judging it., without labeling it. Remember: since everything is within the field of your consciousness, somehow everything is within you. You will find a surprisingly calming power in mindfulness.