How to Keep Good Mental Health

How to Keep Good Mental Health

10 October 2014

I really like Wednesdays. I would go so far as to say that Wednesdays are good for my mental health. “Why Wednesdays?” you may ask. Why not Fridays or Saturdays? After all, Wednesday is ‘hump day’- just half way through the working week for the majority of people. It is a wishy-washy sort of day where I have survived Monday and Tuesday, but I still have Thursday and Friday to go. I anticipate Wednesday’s with enthusiasm because it is my ‘day off’ from my office. It represents a whole 8 hours of time to do as I choose. Ahh, I love Wednesdays.

Just saying that invites a deep sigh; it relaxes the tension in my shoulders and chest. Even as I think about it, I am feeling the effects of this emotionally and it is good. Just the recall of Wednesday has a positive impact. Have you ever noticed how the recall of accomplishing something that you associate with good feelings can actually have a calming and relaxing effect on you?

Here is a simple experiment so you can test out my theory for yourself:

  • Pause for a moment. Recall your favourite day of the week.
  • What are you doing on this day?
  • Who are you with?
  • Where are you?
  • How are you feeling?
  • Now notice your body.
    • Your rate of breathing.
    • Muscular tension
    • Facial muscles
    • Any other significant emotional reactions.

Our ability to invoke positive emotions by the simple recall of a happy memory is a fantastic way to calm and relax ourselves. Therefore, it is a great tool for improving your mental health and sense of well-being. You don’t need to have a favourite day to practice this. Just choose a happy memory or focus on an object that gives you pleasure: your favourite flower, a scented candle, a particular picture or a place you love to visit.

Our memory and imagination are powerful and can alleviate sadness, distress, unhappiness and move us toward feelings of hope and happiness.

I recommend this exercise as a daily practice. You might allocate a certain time each day to revisit these experiences, or you could practice the discipline of acknowledging the things that evoke pleasure and happiness throughout your day. Doing this will not only make you happier in the short term, but it will also improve you mental health and help you go the distance.

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