Things to Remember for your Mental Health

Taking time to manage your mental health is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you ignore your mental health, you may become overwhelmed with stress from your work and home life. By taking time to keep your mind and emotions in a healthy place, you will feel confident when taking on new tasks.


Building a little mental muscle could have a big impact on your life


If you want to lift heavier objects, you need more physical strength. Large biceps and a strong back will go a long way toward helping you do the heavy lifting. Well, the same can be said for your mental muscles. If you want to be able to tackle bigger challenges and overcome more obstacles, you need more mental strength

Like physical muscles, your mental muscles require a good workout. You will not develop mental strength overnight. It takes time to grow stronger and become better. But with consistent exercise, you can build the mental strength you need to reach your goals and live the life of your dreams.

1. Reframe negative thoughts - If you are having catastrophic thoughts like, "This will never work," try replacing them with something more realistic, such as, "If I work hard, I'll improve my chances of success." It is true that everyone has bad days that lead to negative thoughts, but by searching for positive and realistic expectations, you can eliminate these damaging pessimistic thoughts and better equip yourself to manage the bad days.

        

    2. Meditate - Meditation is not necessarily a time-consuming exercise, but it has a wealth of benefits for your mental health. When you have limited time and you want to clear your mind, take a few minutes to meditate at your desk. Close the door and use a meditation phone app to work your way through breathing exercises that help you regain your focus.       

            

    If you cannot use an app for the meditation, then sit down and take a few calming breaths. You can focus on an object on your desk or you can close your eyes and turn your focus inward. Give yourself a few minutes to allow thoughts to move through your mind without acting on them. It is not necessary to avoid thinking; instead, you want to allow your mind to let go of the thoughts until you feel relaxed and calm.

    3. Exercise - We have all heard it many times before - regular exercise is good for you,   

    and it can help you lose weight. But if you are like many Americans, you are busy, you  

    have a sedentary job, and you haven't yet changed your exercise habits. The good news is that it's never too late to start. You can start slowly, and find ways to fit more physical activity into your life. To get the most benefit, you should try to get the recommended

    amount of exercise for your age. If you can do it, the payoff is that you will feel better, help prevent or control many diseases, and likely even live longer.


    • Stress relief – Exercise like aerobic & cardio exercise, running & jogging can have beneficial effects on stress and anxiety levels, leaving you feel calmer and more relaxed. This may be due to reduced adrenaline and cortisol and increased serotonin and norepinephrine, which moderate the brain’s response to stress. If you're a beginner, you should start with brisk walking, progress to jogging and work up to running. This should take a few months.
      • Alleviate symptoms of depression - Exercise and other forms of physical activity can definitely ease symptoms of depression or anxiety and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back once you're feeling better. When you have depression or anxiety, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference.


      • Strong bones and healthy joints – Exercise can slow age-related losses of muscle mass, bone density and joint lubrication and flexibility. Weight-bearing activities cause new bone tissue to form and muscles to push and tug against bones, which strengthens both muscles and bones. It reduces your risk of osteoporosis by increasing your bone mass. If you already have joint issues, find out how to exercise with osteoarthritis.

         

        • Immune function – Regular exercise is associated with improvements in immune system health, meaning you may be less likely to catch a cold if you keep up your physical activity. 

          Some studies suggest this is due to reduced inflammation, improvements in psychological stress and/or enhanced immuno-surveillance, whilst others cite an increase in white blood cells as a reason. If you’re already feeling sniffly, read up on exercising with a cold.

         

        • Skin health – Exercise can help protect your skin from damage caused by oxidative stress. Physical activity can boost blood flow and stimulate the body’s response to oxidative stress, including the production of protective antioxidants. 


        • Better sleep – Several research studies suggest links between regular exercise and improved sleep. Survey participants consistently cite physical activity as an important factor in being able to fall asleep and enhancing the quality of their sleep. 


        • Improve heart health - Regular exercise is an important way to lower your risk of heart disease. Exercising for 30 minutes or more on most days can help you lose weight, improve your cholesterol, and even lower your blood pressure by as many as five to seven points. “For certain heart conditions, exercise can be as powerful as some medications,” says Johns Hopkins expert Kerry Stewart, Ed.D.


        • Lowers blood pressure - Exercise works like beta-blocker medication to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.


        • Stops or slows the development of diabetes - Johns Hopkins research has shown that when combined with strength training, regular aerobic exercise such as cycling, brisk walking, or swimming can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by over 50% by allowing the muscles to better process glycogen, a fuel for energy, which when impaired, leads to excessive blood sugars, and thus diabetes.


        • Lowers your risk for some types of cancer – Exercise helps your body regulate hormone levels. Increased levels of some hormones can increase your cancer risk. Exercise speeds digestion, which may reduce the time that potentially harmful substances are in the colon. Being overweight or obese raises your risk for several cancers. Sit less: Extended periods of sitting increase your cancer risk, even if you exercise regularly. Sitting too much also increases your risk for obesity, which leads to cancer and other chronic diseases.  Try to get up and move for at least one to two minutes every hour that you are awake. Get active: The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes vigorous exercise each week. It’s best to do a combination of both, and you don’t have to do it all at one time. You can split up your activity into short intervals of as little as 10 minutes.


        4. Physical activity - Physical activity or exercise can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer

             and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, regular activity can

             improve your quality of life. A minimum of 30 minutes a day can allow you to enjoy these benefits.



        • Improved mood – Physical activity has been shown to improve mood and feelings of happiness. Exercise triggers endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters. Endorphins boost your mood and help you relax. Ever heard of the “runner’s high”? The expression refers to the feeling you get when the brain releases endorphins stimulated by exercise.

         

        • Focus and clear thinking – If you find yourself losing focus or getting forgetful, here’s another reason to exercise regularly. Physical activity delivers oxygen to the brain and related tissues. 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, five days a week is recommended to release brain chemicals that support memory, focus and mental concentration.

         

        • Promotes self-esteem – Physical activity has positive effects on self-esteem and confidence. These can be related to self-perceptions of attractiveness, physical condition and strength. To maximize self-esteem benefits, set goals for your exercise plan and celebrate reaching them when you get there.

         

        • Stress relief - Physical activity can help you forget the stresses of your day – acting as a form of meditation. Either way, there may be a key to finding the optimal mix of activity, intensity, frequency and duration of exercise for stress relief. 

          

        5. Create goals - It's fun to aim high and dream big but setting your sights too high will likely lead to disappointment. Rather than set out to lose 100

             pounds, focus on losing five first. When you reach that goal, you will be more motivated to lose the next five pounds. Every goal you achieve gives you

             confidence in your own ability to be successful. This will also help you identify which goals are not challenging enough and which ones are

             unrealistically ambitious.


        6. Set yourself up for success - You do not need to subject yourself to temptations every day to stay mentally strong. Modify your environment from time

             to time. Make life a little easier. Put your running sneakers next to the bed if you want to work out in the morning. Remove the junk food from your

             pantry if your goal is to eat healthier. Little things like this can go a long way toward keeping you from exhausting your own mental energy and setting

             yourself up for success.


        7. Do at least one difficult thing each day - Improvement does not come about by accident. You need to challenge yourself on purpose. Make sure to  

             analyze your own boundaries, though, since everyone has a different idea of what is challenging. Have the courage to pick something slightly outside

             these boundaries. And then take one small step every day. Enroll in a class you do not think you qualify for. Speak up for yourself even when it is

             uncomfortable. Always push yourself to become a little better today than you were yesterday.


        8. Tolerate discomfort for a greater purpose - The feeling of discomfort can often lead people to look for unhealthy shortcuts. Binge TV-watching and

             overdrinking are common emotional crutches. But these types of short-term solutions more often create bigger long-term problems.

             The next time you experience discomfort, remind yourself of the bigger picture. Finish that workout even when you are tired. Balance your budget even

             when it gives you anxiety. Tolerating uncomfortable emotions can help you gain the confidence you need. 

        9. Balance your emotions with logic - If you were to be 100 percent logical all the time, you    

             might live a boring life, devoid of leisure time, pleasure, or even love. But if you base all of

             your decisions on emotion, you might spend all your money on fun, rather than save for    

             retirement or investments. To make the best decisions, you need to balance your logic and

             emotion. So regardless of how minor or major the decision in your life, check yourself to

             make sure you are balancing your emotions with logic. Being overly anxious, angry, or

             excited can cause you to make an emotional decision. So, write down a list of pros and

             cons for each important decision you make.


        10. Fulfill your purpose - It is hard to stay the course unless you know your overall purpose.  

              Why is it that you want to hone your craft or to earn more money? Write out a clear and

              concise mission statement about what you want to accomplish in life. When you are

              struggling to take the next step, remind yourself why it is important to keep going. Focus

              on your daily objectives, but make sure those steps you are taking will get you to a larger

              goal in the long run.

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        Developing your higher mental faculties – the Magic In Your Mind.

        As someone who is goal-oriented you already know the importance of having positive and productive thoughts. In fact, it’s so important that it’s the barrier between mediocrity and extravagant success.


        Napoleon Hill talked about the importance of developing your higher mental faculties in Think and Grow Rich. And Wallace Wattles talked about it in The Science of Getting Rich.


        Act now!

        11. Look for explanations, not excuses - Did you fall short of your goal? Then examine the reasons. Rather than make excuses for your behavior, look for

             an explanation that can help you do better next time. Take on the full responsibility for any shortcomings without placing blame. When you face and

             acknowledge your mistakes, you can learn from them and avoid repeating them.


        12. Use the 10-minute rule - Mental strength can help you be productive when you do not feel like it, but it is not a magic wand that will make you feel

             motivated all the time. There is a 10-minute rule that comes in handy when you are tempted to put off something important. If you catch yourself eyeing

             the couch at the time you planned to go for your mile run, then tell yourself to get moving for just 10 minutes. If your mind is still fighting your body after 10

             minutes, then it might be OK to give yourself permission to quit. But more often than never, once you take that first step, you will realize your task is not

             nearly as tough as you predicted. Getting started is almost always the hardest part, but your other learned skills can help keep you going.


        13. Prove yourself wrong - The next time you think you cannot do something, prove yourself wrong. Commit to topping your sales goal for this month or

             beating your time in the mile run. You are more capable than you give yourself credit for, so make it a habit to prove yourself wrong. Over time, your brain

             will stop underestimating your own potential.

        14. Distract yourself and keep busy - Distraction is a very valid tool to help you cope when everything feels overwhelming or when you 

              feel lonely or isolated. The point is that it is better to do things than sit at home doing nothing. If you have any doubt, be assured that

              there are plenty of things to do.

           

              Give yourself a to-do list every day: you can clean and take care of projects around your home, work on hobbies, connect with family 

              or friends, read a new book and catch up on your favorite TV shows. You can find interesting opportunities to take online courses

              from  universities all over the world through MOOCs (massive open online courses) and other online learning platforms, you can learn

              a new language online or through apps, and you can learn new hobbies and activities. As more people have to practice social  

              distancing or self-isolation, people are finding creative ways to bring the world into their homes: you can tour museums and art

              galleries, Skype with a scientist, watch animals at zoos and nature preserves, and more.


              Some people have difficulty finding things to do. They convince themselves that their interests are either, childish, meaningless or,

              even worse, that they have no interests. Its important to remind yourself that, a leisure activity or work activity is worthwhile if it has

              meaning and importance to you. As far as some activities being childish, it makes no difference. We need time to play, have fun, revert

              back to “childish activities.” One person’s childish activities or another person’s fun.


              There are people who do not retire but continue to work or find a new job after they retire. At any age, work is not only a way to earn a 

              living, but a way to keep busy.

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