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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

What do we mean when we say becoming “Mentally Healthy?”

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Lisa Zarcone
Lisa Zarconehttps://www.lisazarcone.net
Regional Director for New England AREA/ NAASCA Ambassador (MA) - 2021 Heroine Award Recipient (MA)-Child & Mental Health Advocate -Public Speaker-Author-Blogger-Podcast Enthusiast- Radio Personality

According to the Mental Health Association: “Mental Health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well. Also, being able to offer positive contributions to their surrounding communities.”

Well, that is a powerful statement, isn’t it!

So, how do we get there, and more importantly, how do we stay there?

Do you think life always has a perfect balance?

That answer is a firm NO! Life is not always balanced, and we are faced with many situations, stresses, and unknowns all the time. When we are faced with quick changing life situations, that definitely interferes with our daily lives. We are creatures of habit, so when these circumstances happen, that is when we become strained and off balance.

Now, let’s go back to the original question. How do we maintain our mental health?

So, we know life gives us twists and turns all the time, and to be able to maneuver through each obstacle may prove challenging. If we can work on remaining grounded, and ride out that wave of uncertainty, we will make it.

The first steps to become mentally strong is to look at our strengths and weaknesses. 

YES, I said it out loud “weakness,” because we all have them. Listen up! Nobody likes to look at their weaknesses (myself included), but it is a must to find true balance. We have to be honest with ourselves, so that we can achieve this very important goal.

Once you can establish what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can move forward putting a game plan together.  

Think about what your struggles are during a stressful situation and look to find solutions that you can connect with. Seek out the solutions that you feel comfortable with. It is there that you can find your grounding.

You may want to take a walk for a few moments or sit quietly to bring yourself back down to a calming level. We all have different things that help us, so tap into your toolbox for support.

It is so important to learn about yourself. The more that you understand about what makes you tick, the more that will help give you the fuel you require to get you to where you need to be. You need to know what your triggers are, and how you react to them. Sometimes these unknown thoughts and feelings can put you over the edge. Again, if you take the time to do the self-work, your toolbox will become filled with many options to choose from during your times of need.

I know for myself I love change of scenery. When I start to feel like I am riding that emotional roller-coaster, I tell myself it is time to get off the “crazy train.” I do actually talk to myself. I believe it is very healthy to be our own “Cheerleaders!” 

As soon as I can break away from what I am doing, I go for a walk. I get outside in the fresh air and take in my surroundings. I am a very visual person, so I like to look around to see the sights and be in the moment. As the sounds and smells surround me, I feel myself unwinding. When I do this, I am shifting gears inside my mind giving myself a brain break. This is so important for all of us to do. We all need that break!

There are many ways to switch gears, you just have to find out what works best for you. Here are some examples:

  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Listening to Music
  • Exercise/Walking
  • Meditating/Sitting in Silence
  • Reaching out to a family member or friend for a brief conversation
  • Take a quick ride in the car and blasting your favorite music
  • Watch funny mindless videos, and allow yourself to Laugh Out Loud

These are just a few to mention, but there are so many more. Again, YOU have to figure out what works for you.

Also, becoming mentally healthy may mean change in habits. You may want to add more water consumption throughout the day. It can make you feel cleansed and lighter.

Working on a healthier lifestyle with food, alcohol, tobacco, etc. can be another way to find yourself feeling more balanced.

I believe what is hard for many, many people out there is to turn it all off and find time to rest and sleep. Let’s face it we are a highly connected generation to social media, news, drama, and work. Our minds are on over drive 24/7. To shut it all out for a bit, feels very foreign and abnormal. Think about disconnecting for a little while and use that as one of your tools for self-care.

Having a phone and social media addiction is now a thing! This is not only about our youth, but for countless adults as well. This addiction wreaks havoc in the lives of all who simply cannot put that phone down. It is like an appendage, attached by the veins of craving, seeking, and fear of missing out on the next adventure.

I know for myself included, I have a very hard time putting the phone down and saying to myself, “let it go until tomorrow.” This is something I am personally working on as a goal for 2023.  

TURN OFF YOUR PHONES! 

I cannot stress enough that our BRAINS need a rest from everything.

Allow yourself the gift of calm and quiet time. Read a book, watch a favorite show, or just listen to some soothing music. It is amazing how relaxed you can feel when you decide to shut out the world for just a little bit.

The other night my husband and I did just that. We sat in the living room, no tv, just listening to music and it was wonderful. At one point I felt like I was sinking into the chair, actually feeling my body destress. It was amazing. When I went to bed that night, I felt calm and relaxed! I had a wonderful night sleep.

The next day I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day ahead of me.

It is these important gifts that we must offer ourselves as often as possible. We must work harder on allowing self-care to happen. It is time to teach ourselves to let go a little bit and bring in that positive and peaceful energy.

Also, work on having a positive mindset. Taking your negatives and turn them into positives. This is a practiced skill, but one that is quite effective as you move forward in your days ahead. Again, every day is not going to be a great day, but if you approach your situations in a positive fashion, you would be amazed on how you can overcome many stressful experiences.

It all starts out with a game plan and a strong mindset to make it happen. Make 2023 your year to become mentally healthy and strong. If you can make that commitment to yourself, life will become lighter, and you will crave that time, “just for you.”

What are you waiting for?

Just DO IT!

“If you want to do something, just do it. No one is going to do it for you.” Jaime Pressly

“Throw caution to the wind and just do it.” Carrie Underwood

“Everybody is different. Everybody has different styles. Just do it the best way you know how.” Vince Carter

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