Use It or Lose It
The more you use your brain, the better you will think in the future. However, use it in new, challenging and mentally-stretching ways, rather than just wondering what the Kardashians are doing next. Think about puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku that are one step above your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to learn something totally new: foreign languages, ballroom dancing, archery, geocaching, origami, soapmaking. Or you can do something familiar in an unfamiliar way: take a totally different way to work, use only your non-dominant hand all day.
Do Unto Others
People are very social and we get a lot of self-satisfaction from helping others. This giving away of your time actually makes your own mind more able to problem-solve your own challenges. Everybody wins. So look for opportunities at your place of worship or at your local non-profit to volunteer. FYI- ask for help if you need it, as requesting assistance is also good for your mental health
Safety in Numbers
The more time you spend with your friends, the more healthy you will be mentally. However, this only works if your friends are good for you and are not influencing you to be unhealthy. So feel free to de-friend those who are not adding to your life and spend more time with those who are. It’s the digital age, so text, Skype, or phone your friends even when you can’t connect by sitting down together at the local coffee bar.
Stress is an import motivator but, over time, it can start to seriously impact our mental health. Concentration, problem-solving, decision-making and alertness to important details are all impaired if stress is in your life too long. So be sure to schedule yourself for time to do things you find relaxing. Not everyone finds the same things relaxing: some may find yoga or fishing or reading relaxing, while others get stressed just thinking about these things. Pick your own relaxation method and do it often.
Everybody Have Fun Tonight
Pleasure is very important to your mental health. If you do not have enough pleasure in your life, then do more of it (provided that it is not illegal or with bad long-term consequences). Smiling, laughing, enjoying beauty or just being amused is great for your brain. So hit up a comedy club this weekend. Take your sweetie on a weekend away. Go see that band you’ve wanted to see. Enjoy.
Be Here Now
We all live in a society that is very future and past focused. However, spending time in the present is very good for your mental health. Try siting for a few minutes in your home and being aware of all the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feelings that you are experiencing. Do this often to re-center yourself. You will find yourself clearer-thinking afterwards.
All of the above suggestions must be balanced and not used excessively or it can impair your mental health. Keeping to moderation is healthiest strategy of all.
A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Dr. Robert Boxley
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