You run three times a week. Do resistance training twice a week. Floss
regularly. And watch what you eat. You’re probably in pretty good health
Not necessarily. When’s the last time you checked in on your mental
well-being? You could be in peak physical shape but if your mental health
is out of balance, your overall health and well-being will suffer (if it
Mental well-being is the balance of mental stimulation and mental
relaxation. Although the mind craves stimulation, it also needs an equal
amount of downtime. Balancing those two needs of your brain is the key to
achieving good mental well-being.
Suffering from sensory overload?
We live in a society that glorifies multi-tasking. The person who is on
their phone making a business deal while driving their kid to soccer
practice is praised as being efficient, but the truth is those that
multi-task are only half paying attention, and they usually end up doing a
less-than-ideal job with everything they are trying to juggle.
Doing too many things at once — also known as sensory overload — creates
stress in the brain, which compromises our brain tissue and mental
well-being. But our brain is also capable of building new brain cells and
neural connections through the use of other cognitive abilities that calm
the mind and provide a counterpoint to sensory stimulation1.
Ways to improve your mental well-being
- Positive thinking: There is
that points to the health benefits of positivity, including an enhanced
immune system, better coping skills, and an increased life span. Your
thoughts are energy, and eliminating negativity from your thought
process will work wonders for your overall mental well-being.To be more
positive and productive, assume the best is going to happen, instead of
the worst. To do this, identify any negative self-talk that runs
through your head and make a conscious effort to look at it in a
positive light.Try some
to overcoming negative thinking and you’ll be surprised at how quickly
you can train your brain to assume the best in any given situation.
The beauty of creativity is that anyone can practice it. Contrary to
common misconceptions, there aren’t “creative people” who are just
naturally born that way. Creative people are those who just practice
creativity more often.Like anything else, the more you practice, the
better you are at something. And psychologists have noted that people
who exercise their sense of creativity are happier and feel more
to get those creative juices flowing.
As our lives become busier and more things compete for our time, it
becomes even more important to set aside time to relax. Without
downtime, our minds become overwhelmed by stress and overstimulation
and our mental well-being suffers.Anything that engages the five senses
— sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch — counts as a method of
relaxation. Whether that’s inhaling the scent of fresh flowers, reading
your favorite book, listening to the sounds of nature while taking a
walk, enjoying a nice meal, or petting your dog or cat, you will
improve your mental well-being when you do something that brings you
joy.Stumped on how to turn your mind off and relax? Check out these
ideas for how to unwind.
Meditation is a time-tested method that calms the mind so you can gain
a better sense of focus, concentration, and awareness. Many people are
intimidated by meditation, but meditation is quite simple to start and
requires very little equipment.You can meditate virtually anywhere — as
long as you can sit quietly and focus on your breathing. By focusing on
your breathing, your mind is pulled away from dwelling on the past or
thinking about the future, and all you are left with is the present
moment.And although meditation is one of the best things you can do for
your mental well-being, there are also
for your body, including increased concentration, increased quality of
sleep, and decreased blood pressure.
Not sure where to start? Check out these
free, guided meditations
that will walk you through the process.
Stay tuned for the next installment of The Road to Wellness, in
which we will focus on your emotional well-being. Want to catch up on
previous Road to Wellness blogs? Read the whole Road to Wellness series.
This content was originally published on IBX Insights.
About Lorrie Reynolds
With 25 years of preventive health and wellness experience, Lorrie Reynolds
is Director of Wellness Client Accounts for Independence, accountable for
leading and directing the Plan’s worksite wellness programs. At
Independence she has been accountable for preventive health outreach,
clinical guidelines, health education content, wellness solutions
operations, and expansion of preventive health outreach in the community.
She proudly serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Independence Blue
Crew volunteer program, and is a certified National Diabetes Prevention
Program Lifestyle Coach.