Exercising Healthy Choices for Our Minds
I have found, now that I'm in my mid-fifties, that some thinking traits and habits are much, much better for me: leading to improved mental health. Can't we all—old, middle-aged, or just starting out in life—stand improvement in our thinking patterns and perspectives?! Some ways of thinking are just better, lead to better outcomes, and more peace and happiness.
First, live in the moment; live today. Dwelling in guilt and shame over past mistakes just brings us down. And, anxiety and worry about the future ties us up in knots. I believe it was in Dale Carnegie's book “How to Make Friends and Influence People,” where he states we should live each day as though it is a Day-tight Compartment, distinct from other days.[i] Counseling and 12-step programs can help you get free.
Planning for the future: on the other hand, having a plan for our future can help us make shorter-term goals to work towards, to meet future plans. This leads to empowerment—as we have step-by-step methods to reach goals. And, satisfaction over goals achieved. Doing this effectively leads to #3.
Having a schedule: Having the hours of each day set up with a plan of action, for spending them in meeting goals and responsibilities leads to less stress and anxiety during the day. I already know what I'm doing during each timeframe, leading to more focus AND calm.
Going along with #3 here, is not trying to cram in too much activity into too little time. Nothing causes me more stress and angst than feeling like I'm running around like crazy, always feeling like I'm trying to catch up—in stress mode.
Giving up being a people-pleaser: I was thinking this week about: Why do we care so much about what others think of us, if they don't really even think of us! What I mean is, if they don't really care about us enough to look out for our best interest, what difference does it make what they think? I've heard it said, a number of times, that people mostly think about themselves anyway—not so much about us.
So actually, we CAN do things that lead to improved outlooks, positivity, and sometimes even helps mental illness to improve.
[i]Dale Carnegie Training of Central and Southern New Jersey. (2017). Reduce Worry by Living in Day-tight Compartments. Dale Carnegie Training of Central and Southern New Jersey.