Our mind is a very powerful thing; we have the ability to solve difficult problems, connect with people on a deep and spiritual level and even contemplate our own existence. But if we fail to keep our minds active, or lose our self to doubt or anxiety, it can quickly become our own personal prison. These five tips can help you to keep your mind sharp and healthy.
1. Reading – This may seem like an obvious one, but the simple act of sitting down with a good book can do wonders for your mental health. Whether it’s classic literature, an epic fantasy, or non-fiction – stories have the ability to transport us to new worlds, while improving your vocabulary and communication skills at the same time. So set aside an hour whenever you can, early in the morning, or last thing before you go to sleep and lose yourself in the pages of a good story.
2. Eat Healthier – This may seem daunting to some, but healthy eating doesn’t have to mean sticking to a strict diet and feeling guilty any time you have a piece of cake. Of course, there are recommended guidelines such as eating your five-a-day and drinking lots of water, but our crazy and chaotic lives don’t always make this possible to follow. If we make conscious efforts to make small changes, such as an extra glass of water, or saying no every other week to that Saturday night takeaway, we can make a huge difference. This will do wonders not only mentally, but physically as well.
3. Exercise – This doesn’t mean training like an Olympic athlete, or following a gruelling workout regimen. It can be as easy as walking up and down your stairs at home, or a brisk walk to the park and back home again. Just ten minutes per day, making simple changes to physical activity will go a long way to creating a healthier and happier mind. Your physical energy levels will also improve, making day-to-day routines that little bit easier.
4. Meditation – As I write this one I can almost hear some of you rolling your eyes. This one is not for everybody, but its definitely worth trying. The power of meditation has been proven to have immense mental health benefits. Learning to block out the noise can help you reduce stress levels and shine a light on an otherwise clouded mind. Give it a try, who knows – you may find your inner Buddhist in the process.
5. Practice Gratitude – The modern world is constantly trying to sell us new products: the latest technology, the newest fashion and the fanciest cars. The problem with all these new products being advertised is not all of us can afford to keep up. It’s easy to feel like we’re missing out, or even envious of those that seem to have everything. Practicing gratitude for the things we have and what’s really important can help to change our perspective. Don’t let yourself get disheartened by the things you don’t have; instead, be grateful for what you do. A warm home, food on the table and people who care for us are what really matters. If you have these things, you are more blessed than you know.
Following any or all of these tips will by no means fix all of life’s problems; it would be rather naïve to think they would. We live in a fast paced, ever-changing world and a lot of the time it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Especially if you feel you’re not where you wanted to be. But I hope that these tips will help you find at least a little bit of comfort on your darker days. Always remember – out of struggle, comes growth, and out of perseverance, comes the knowledge and strength to fight another battle.