May 17, 2022 3 min read

The state of your mental health is as important as any other aspect of your health. Mental health encompasses your overall outlook, how you feel about yourself, and your attitude towards life.

Happy, optimistic, and resilient people have more positive and healthy relationships with others and are also more likely to lead healthier lives.

In fact, according to  Harvard Health Publishing:

“Plenty of research suggests optimistic people have a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and declines in lung capacity and function. Optimism is also associated with a lower risk of early death from cancer and infection. And now, a new study links optimism to living a longer life.”

 But, just as with physical health,  maintaining a healthy mental state takes effort.

Just like we need to get rid of processed junk food in our physical diets, we need to get rid of processed junk thoughts (like news, gossip, fear-mongering, etc) to maintain a healthy mind. 

Here are 5 things you can do to keep your mental health strong… 

  1. Eat intentionally. Compulsive overeating can take a toll on your mental health. When you settle for eating anything you can find rather than watching what you put into your body, you are more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and other problems. And all these things cause you to lose your joy in life.

Instead, eat healthy foods that make you feel full without filling you up with extra mindless calories. One of the fastest ways to find happiness is to eat nutritiously.

  1. Get the rest your body and brain needs. We’re not just talking about sleep. This also means recovering after a tough shift or a tough workout. The body repairs itself physically and mentally when given time to rest. 

Even 10 minutes per day of complete silence or a guided meditation can give your brain the reset needed to keep going. 

In our 24/7 hustle culture, it’s easy to believe the “sleep when you’re dead” mantra. It’s a lie. If you don't have the habit of getting enough rest each night, start small. For example, go to bed thirty minutes earlier or limit the amount of time you spend in front of a screen. A quality supplement like  Night Shift can help you fall asleep faster and stay sleeping longer

(For a good article on Meditation for First Responders,  click here.)

  1. Treat yourself as you would a best friend. Many people ignore taking care of themselves and consider their bodies only when they get sick. That's a recipe for disaster! It's best to put yourself into the habit of listening to your body.

If something hurts or doesn’t feel right, see a doctor. 

The same is true mentally. Don’t wait until you’re feeling down and depressed or mentally exhausted before you seek help. Also, do your best to stay away from negative influences and unhealthy people.

  1. Follow a consistent exercise routine. Exercising consistently (yes, we’re going to keep saying this) will help you stay healthy and fit. It also boosts your mood and improves your energy levels. Swimming, jogging, and cycling are examples of exercises that will also help you keep your mind in shape.

Exercise can help you find happiness by improving your mood and reducing stress by releasing endorphins. While it strengthens your physical health, exercise also nourishes your mental health.

  1. Set goals. Your goals can help you stay focused, happy, and productive. For example, you might want to set a goal to learn a new language. Or learn to cook. The more you practice, the easier it will be. And the feeling of accomplishment, once you achieve the goal, is priceless. 

Psychology Today agrees. They say,“... we experience the strongest positive emotional response when we make progress on our most difficult goals.”

Here’s the bottom line…

Mental fitness is just as crucial to your overall well-being as physical health. 

Studies show that physical activity and mental wellness can benefit the mind, body, and soul. Physical and mental activity makes you feel happy and energized. Feeling happy means you’re more likely to continue good habits. 

It’s a cycle that fuels itself once you get going. 

So, find more and more ways to work on your mental fitness as much as you do your physical fitness. It can -- and will -- make you (and those around you) happier.

Need a jump start to get your mind in a better place? Thinline Heroes around the nation agree,  This can help.

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