With the days of athleisure (love me some Fabletics!) and organic foods, more and more people are looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Having a healthier lifestyle means making healthier choices. If you want to start eating healthier, you choose to buy more produce and whole grains versus chips and junk food. If you want to start working on developing that six pack, then you choose an exercise plan that will help you develop the muscles needed to look how you want to look. But many people ask themselves, how do I know if I’m eating the right foods? How do I know that these 100 crunches a night will help me have the six pack I’m dreaming of? How do I know that my choices are actually, well, healthy?
The answer would be: ASK and CONSULT! Consult with your family practitioner or a dietician on what is “healthy eating”. Ask for personal trainer to teach you an exercise routine that will help you build muscle and lose the fat, or even just ask a friend/spouse/family member to be your accountability partner; someone who will help you and support you through your journey.
What about when you are talking about getting your mind healthy? How do you start changing how you think about your life, your environment, and even yourself? It is still about choices. (Here’s where I start talking about all that evidence-based research stuff.)
Here are 7 healthy choices to help you have a healthy mind:
- Repeat 3 positive affirmations before you even get out of bed each morning. Start your day off right with reminding yourself how wonderful you are, how strong you are, and how determined you are to make the best of this day.
- Take the words of Elsa: “Let it go!” I know, just when you could forget about that song and stop singing it on repeat in your head, I have to bring it back up. But really, if it is not something you can change at that moment – Let it go. If it is not something you can control – Let it go. In Choice Theory by William Glasser, the number one axiom of the theory states: “The only person whose behavior we can control is our own.”
- Free your work space of clutter – and your mind will follow. Clutter is one of the number one reasons people find it hard to focus. Your mind sees all the mess around you and does not know how to start cleaning it up, or where to start (especially if you have symptoms of attention-deficit, which I know I do). And many times, messes can lead to feelings of frustration, agitation, and lack of determination, without you even knowing that’s the reason you are feeling that way. Free your desk of clutter, and see if it’s not a little easier to focus on that project that you’ve been working on for 5 days that you just can’t seem to finish.
- On that same note, take 10-15 minutes each day cleaning up and organizing items in your home. Just making yourself start can be the biggest challenge, especially when you are tired from working all day, taking the kids to basket/baseball/cheerleading/ballet/etc., and then coming home and making dinner and getting everyone ready for bed. Wow…I’m tired just thinking about all that can go on. But telling yourself, I just want to do 10 minutes of putting those towels away that have set in the laundry basket for over a week, and wiping down the bathroom counters, can make a big difference in how you end your day.
- Have a routine, and follow it the best you can. Yes, I know life happens (see number 4 for a brief list of life happenings), but as much as you can, keep a routine for how you get ready in the morning, how you get the kids ready and off to school/daycare, what you do when you get home from work/school, and how you get ready for bed each night. Having a routine provides your brain with structure. It can help your kids know what is expected of them, and you can redirect them to the next step if you need to go tend to another life moment. But, when life happens unexpectedly…take 5 deep breaths (breathing in for 4 counts, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, and hold for 4 – repeat) and LET IT GO! Remember, you can’t always control what happens or how others react, but you cannot let the unexpected completely set you off your path of having a healthy mind.
- Take 5 minutes each night to let the people in your life know you love them. Even when things seem to have gone wrong -maybe you didn’t quite handle the sibling fight as well as you wanted, or you yelled a little more during homework time than you ever would have wanted – let your kids/significant other/family/friends know you are human, and you make mistakes, but it does not stop you from loving them. That is one thing that will never change – no matter what.
- Spend each night writing in a gratitude journal. There is always something to be thankful for – even on the worst days. And remembering all those great things, helps you to stay focused on the positive and focused on the things that matter most.
We can choose to practice thinking more positively and wanting to have a better life for ourselves.
So, it’s just that easy? I can choose to change my life, and my life changes. Of course not. I’m a realist here. It’s about options. You have the option to make changes in your life.
You can choose to ask for help when you can’t do it alone. You can decide that you are not your happiest/healthiest, and you are ready to make changes. If you feel stuck, or just want someone to talk to in order to ensure yourself you’re making the right choices for you and your family, contact a mental health professional in your area today. They are there to help guide you, identify your personal strengths and decide what changes you need to implement in order to make optimal progress for your life successes.
You can choose your behaviors, and you can choose to have a healthier mind.
Are you ready to make changes? Are there other things you do on a daily basis that help you have a healthier mind? I would love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org