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  • Writer's pictureGreta Buyck Parkinson

It’s World Mental Health Day! What Steps Can You Take To Make Your Mental Health a Priority?

We give much priority to our physical health by scheduling yearly check-ups, exercising, focusing on healthy eating habits, and getting enough sleep. At least we are aware of what steps we should take for our physical wellbeing. But how many of us actually know what steps we could take to promote mental and emotional wellbeing?


Research has shown that our physical and mental health are closely connected. Getting exercise, having good nutritional habits, practicing good sleep hygiene support our physical health, but they are also important steps we can take to support our mental and emotional health. What additional steps can we take to promote and safeguard our emotional wellness? It takes practice and intentional action to develop new habits. Let’s take a look at a few habits we could start with this week to improve our mental and emotional wellbeing:


START YOUR DAY WITH GRATITUDE


Before you even put your feet on the floor, take a few deep breaths and think of three things you are grateful for. Let that feeling of gratitude sink into your heart and mind. Offer up a prayer of thanksgiving and praise. If you find upon waking that your mind is immediately filled with all the “to do items” on your list for the day, put those thoughts on hold. Yes, you can control your thoughts, and one effective way of doing that is through thought replacement. Choosing to replace worries or stressful thoughts with thoughts of gratitude is a great way to start your day.


FOLLOW GRATITUDE TIME WITH GREEN TIME


Some of you may choose to exercise before coffee, and if you are taking a walk or run outdoors, you are taking advantage of the benefits of being in the great outdoors. I would encourage you not to plug into your favorite podcast just yet, but focus on the sights and sounds of nature that surround you. Take at least 15 minutes to absorb the beauty around you, and let your mind focus on your surroundings. If, on the other hand, you are like me and prefer to have that cup of tea or coffee before exercising, I would encourage you to take your favorite beverage outdoors. Rarely do the elements of weather prevent me from getting my early morning dose of green time. If it is raining or bitterly cold and you do not have a covered space outdoors, then pull a chair up to a window. Most of us have some view of nature outside our windows. Once again, I would suggest refraining from checking your phone, but instead take these 15 minutes to listen to God, being still and being present in the moment. Be intentional about being in the moment. If your mind wanders to daily chores or concerns, bring it back to the silence and peace that surround you in this moment.


MAKE A CHECKLIST FOR THE DAY


It may seem counterintuitive for me to suggest that you now interrupt this peaceful beginning to your day with a checklist, but actually it frees up real estate in your brain to be more focused once you have a little roadmap for your day. It is important to acknowledge this is not a report card of your accomplishments for the day, but it is merely a framework from which to operate. We all know the unexpected happens, and when it does, work on accepting what that diversion brings with it. Your roadmap is a guide, acting much like the GPS system in our car that often takes us on unplanned detours. If we have our roadmap, and we accept that the unexpected will happen, large or small, we are better equipped to get back on track with less stress.


These are just a few ideas to help you reduce stress and give attention to your emotional and mental health. I would encourage you to schedule a mental health checkup with a licensed counselor. Prevention, education, and early intervention are the best tools for promoting our emotional and mental wellbeing. Call me today to schedule an online assessment. You will gain insight into how your thoughts affect your feelings and your behavior, as well as removing roadblocks that are preventing you from becoming your best self. Make your emotional and mental health a priority...it affects all aspects of your wellbeing. #mentalhealth #emotionalhealth #checkupfromtheneckup #worldmentalhealthday #wellmindsfirst #walktalktherapy #emotionalwellness #preventioneducationearlyintervention


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