The world is fighting a war against the rise of mental illness. The battle to stay mentallly healthy is just as tough because there is much more to mental health than simply the absence of mental illness.
You know what you can do to stay physically fit – whether or not you do them is another matter. But what can you do to stay mentally fit? Here's my list of some useful - consistently positive - indicators of the extent to which you can demonstrate mental health/wellness.
Keeping mentally fit does not automatically mean being physically active, even though health professionals generally focus on 'getting physical'. The key focus needs to be enjoyment of whatever you love doing - be it physical, mental, social or spiritual. Physical activity will only benefit your mental fitness if you enjoy the activity. You won't be doing it for long if you don't enjoy it.
The thoughts below are not new...it's their relationship to and impact on the desire to stay mentally fit for the rest of your life that gives them their power and significance.
How many can you tick?
- having at least one passionate interest outside of work - especially one that is creative and preferably non-competitive eg music, arts, genealogy, photography, etc. If your preference is a competitive interest, ensure that fun is a big part of the experience. (the idea is to generate renewed emotional energy, not stress you out)
- mixing with positive like-minded people with whom you share a non-work creative interest
- having an array of "complementary-opposite" interests such as
- indoor and outdoor
- with your hands and with your mind
- solo and in a group
- quiet and noisy
- a harmonious life mix of having regular energising interests that sustain energy-draining demands
- at least one non-work interest principally because it makes you feel good about yourself
- having a diversity of relationships networks - not just in business
- taking a pride in yourself - diet, appearance, what you say, etc
- looking to continuously improve yourself bit by bit
- being kind to yourself - you're ok.
- believing you have an abundant life
- feeling you have adequate control over your life decisions
- doing things that help other people feel valued
- knowing and developing those abilities that other people value in you
- loving what you have and what you have achieved
- having an attitude of gratitude for the good things that happen in your life
- being aware of your senses and what is going on around you
- turn off the car radio, bluetooth and any other potential distraction and focus just on your driving.
- imagine you can step outside of yourself and watch yourself in action. Take notice of any circumstances in which you see yourself as particularly stressed or particularly at peace with yourself. Decide that you are going to be aware of such circumstances in future and the effect (good or bad) they have on your stress levels.
Can you add other indicators? Please