Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” I believe the statement is very true. I have seen people destroyed by relatively small adversities all because they allowed their circumstance to negatively impact their mental health and well being. On the other hand, I have watched others, like Christopher Reeve (aka Superman) being paralyzed, face what seems to be a serious life altering tragedy not only survive but flourish.
I believe that a good attitude, and by attitude, I mean positive mental health and well being is largely responsible for whether something will destroy us, or we will flourish.
In this post, I want to give strategies for maintaining positive mental health and well being.
Look after your body – I understand for someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis or another chronic illness, this may be more difficult and may mean different things to different people. I am saying, eat well, get the proper rest, drink suitable amounts of water, exercise appropriately and look after your body as best as you can. By taking care of our bodies, we provide a basis for taking care of our minds.
Stimulate your mind – Our mind is much like a muscle. It needs to be stimulated and used, or it becomes weak, tired and unhealthy. Look to explore and discover new things to help keep your mind fresh and strong. It will also help to foster a sense of excitement and wellbeing as you learn, discover and accomplish new things. Suggestions for this include reading new books, visiting museums or art galleries, taking up a musical instrument or learning a new language.
Help Others – It is extremely easy, when living with an illness, to become self absorbed in our circumstances and difficulties. I have found that helping others has not only benefited those I help, but also has helped me. Helping others lifts our spirits, raises our confidence by causing us to feel good about ourselves, and causes us to feel needed and valuable. You may not be able to volunteer and coach a sports team, but what about visiting seniors, helping a charity with making phone calls, serving meals at a soup kitchen or just sitting and listening to someone having a lousy day.
Get some R&R – By that I mean just take some time to relax and play. When was the last time you took time for yourself and did something you love to do? Playing allows stress to be released and helps us feel better. Find something you enjoy and take the time to do it. Find a hobby or craft that excites you and let that fuel a passion for fun and life.
Be Grateful – Find things throughout the day to recognize and be thankful for. Everyone and I mean everyone has things to be thankful for. Take the time and look for those nuggets of gold that you can appreciate and be grateful for. When they are discovered don’t just rush over them, but take a moment and be thankful for the blessings you have. This little act will strengthen and invigorate your well being.
Decide to Be Happy – Ok, some might think, is it actually that easy? No, but yes. Let me explain. I have discovered I have a choice. I can choose to be depressed and down, but this does very little for my mental health and well being. In fact, it only makes me feel worse. So I have learnt to train my mind to try to remain positive and happy. One of the ways, as mentioned in the previous point, is to be thankful. I have come to recognize as I consciously make a decision to promote healthy thinking, that it becomes easier with time, and I feel better.
Take Time to Cry – Yes, I know it sounds quite opposed to deciding to be happy. Crying is a healthy release of emotion. Crying doesn’t necessarily mean you are depressed or in a perpetual state of unhappiness. Sometimes we need to cry and release emotions that are being bottled up inside. Holding emotions captive inside of us can be extremely detrimental to our mental health.
Don’t Give Up – Every one of us has moments where we struggle. The key is not to feel guilty about it.If you have a lousy day or moment, deal with it and move on.
Find Like Minds – Look for other people who are mentally healthy and with a good attitude. It is very true that we become like the people we hang around with. If you surround yourself with people who are mentally unhealthy, emotionally draining, and negative, you will become like them. Build relationships with others who are going to build you up, and who will strengthen and encourage your well being. Look for people with a passion for life and who will inspire that within you.
Connect Spiritually – Attending church, praying, reading scripture and becoming spiritually aware will inspire, motivate and encourage positive mental health.
Published On: June 04, 2012