Seven Goals for Good Mental Health
By: Beth McHugh 2006
Feeling less positive than you’d like? Lost that spring in your step and the joy of living? Is depression and anxiety starting to encroach on your day-today life? It could be time for a mental and physical tune-up!
- Get moving
Our bodies weren’t designed to sit around all day, so even if you have an office job take time out to stretch and walk around. The more we exercise, the more our bodies produce feel-good endorphins, chemicals that make us feel great to be alive. The exercise doesn’t have to be exhaustive: just a daily walk of 30 minutes will help stave off depression and anxiety and lower overall stress levels over time.
- Take magnesium
If you’re already taking calcium for your bones, don’t forget the magnesium too. Calcium needs magnesium to be properly absorbed by the body, but our bodies also require sufficient reserves of magnesium to keep our muscles relaxed, our heart rate moderated, and our mood stable. Magnesium is found in nuts, leafy greens, and legumes as well as in supplementation form.
- Quit worrying
Easier said than done but worth learning how to. Studies at Yale University have shown that worrying can take as much as seven years off your life. So it’s worth taking time out to learn yoga, tai chi, or consult a counselor on how best to get your excessive worrying habits under control.
- Get up early
Studies at the University of California have revealed an alarming fact. Getting more than nine hours a night can take up to five years off your life. It appears too much dozing can raise your blood pressure and thus potentially take years of your life. Early to bed and early to rise is not merely a old wives’ tale as scientists have now shown.
- Finish what you started
Habitually beginning tasks that are never finished will slowly undermine your belief in yourself and ultimately lower your self esteem and raise your stress levels. Who needs that? Make a list of the tasks you would like to complete and work through them one by one, ticking them off as you finish each one. Keep the list in a highly visible place so that you can both see the list and see your achievements. There’s nothing like a list full of ticks to make you feel on top of the world and in control of your life again.
- Stop rushing
Take ten minutes at the end of each day to plan your goals for tomorrow. Make a list of what you need to achieve and also what you’d like to achieve. The subconscious brain will process this information as you sleep, allowing you to feel more in control of your life with a direction to go in, rather than a raft of vague problems and tasks to work through. This practice encourages better sleep and less depression.
- Reward yourself
Ensure that you give yourself at least 15 minutes each day to spend as you like. No day is so hectic that a quarter of an hour can’t be found. Perhaps you may have to retreat into the shower in order to obtain it but it’s important to pamper yourself and just be with you. Meditate for 15 minutes. Walk around the block. Cut some flowers from the garden and arrange them in a vase. Have a quick facial. Re-do your make-up. Any activity that focuses on you and you alone is both necessary and beneficial for you mental health. Enjoy yourself!