There are countless strategies to develop a solid sense of mental health (Think of your social media relationship!). I am planning a girls’ evening! Journals!) Nevertheless, it is a very personal and not always easy process to find out which tips really work and what just noise is.
What exactly is Mental Health?
Because no one knows, what precisely mental health is all about – except the people they treat every day – we have asked therapists for their opinion. Here, the experts tell us what aids they personally regularly use to spare their brains.
1. Think about how you deal with worries.
“We all have fears and worries, but worries are garbage,” says Thea Gallagher, PsyD, director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the Perlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. There’s no connection between worry and outcome,” she adds, “and it’s important to remember that fact when you start stressing.
When Dr. Gallagher worries about something, she tries to follow the following thought path: Can I solve this problem? And what can I do about it, if at all? “If there’s nothing I can do about it, I can’t worry,” she says. “There’s no point.”
2. Find a good mindfulness app and stick with it.
The App Stop, Breathe & Think, is a must for Tamar Gur, MD, Ph.D., a women’s health expert and reproductive psychiatrist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “I use it almost every day,” she says. The app offers a few minutes of focused, guided mediation based on the emotions you feel at that moment. Dr. Gur starts the intervention when she goes to work before tackling her long to-do list. “I use the app to energize and ground myself,” and sometimes to relax before bedtime. She even encourages her children to try it.
3. Take the fear to the end.
When fear comes (it can and will), Dr. Gallagher recommends that you think about the worst thing that can happen to keep control of it. For example, when she was planning her outdoor wedding, she knew that bad weather was within the realms of possibility. “I asked myself what could happen if the weather was bad: the wedding would be disgusting, people could hate me and tell others that I should be more conscientious,” she says.
But finally, she realized that she would still be married, which was the point. “Sometimes it helps you bring yourself to the end of your fear of realizing that even if the worst happens, you will survive,” she says. “It’s unlikely that the worst will ever happen.”
4. Make meditation a central part of your day.
Although meditation sounds like a reasonably apparent means of promoting mental health, pressing a session can be difficult if not planned, that’s why you’re here for David Klow, LMFT, author of [amazon link=”1942545959″ title=”You Are Not Crazy: Letters from your therapist” /], dull routine.
“In the morning I take 30 minutes to do centering, grounding, and energy meditation practices,” he says. Even before he leaves his workplace for the night, he sits in his office for 15 minutes and “cleans up” the stress of the day with the help of meditation. “In the office, right after the sessions are over, this is best done while the work is still fresh,” he says. Finally, Klow meditates again 30 minutes before bedtime “to finish the day and prepare for a restful night.”
5. Try not to interpret too much into things
For example, if you don’t hear from a friend after texting them, it’s easy to get your mind going. So you could assume that something negative is the cause – like your boyfriend is mad at you. But the next time that happens doesn’t jump to conclusions. You must not jump to conclusions. Think of other possible explanations. “Instead of a friend not responding to a message because he’s mad at me, I think he might have had a busy day,” says Dr. Gallagher. “Besides, they’d tell me if they were angry someday.”
6. Choose a Holistic Approach for your Exercises
Regular training can improve your physical and mental health. But if you are not able to devote as much time or intensity as you want to your welding net, try to be useful to yourself anyway. “You need to understand that you are doing the best you can,” says psychologist Kathryn Moore, Ph.D. “I practice self-compassion and realize that I have to listen to my body. If I have to sleep a little later instead of going to a 6:00 in the morning workout, that’s fine.”
It’s essential to allow yourself some flexibility around your training routine, so you don’t feel ashamed or guilty when things don’t work out, says Dr. Moore.
7. Think twice about what kind of content you consume.
It’s easy to get lost in a great book or show – it can strongly affect your emotions. That’s why licensed clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D., author of Family Fit, warns: “Find your balance in life, has a “no sad entertainment” policy for yourself. “I prefer not to see entertainment that represents the drama of real life, sad stories, and negative endpoints,” he says. “I take care of it every day. I don’t invite it into my personal space.” Of course, different genres affect everyone differently, but if you feel depressed or anxious after watching a sad movie or reading a great book, it’s an approach worth considering.
8. Practice deep breathing when you are angry.
“I can’t say enough positive things about deep, purifying breaths,” says Dr. Gur, adding that deep, purposeful inhalation followed by prolonged exhalation is helpful if something excites them. “It helps me take a moment to at least approach the situation calmly and with more grace.”