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Sustainable Mental Health

health

By Lauriston Muirhead

If you don’t look after your mental health, it can’t look after you.  I am no mental health expert but, being an older person, I have picked up some tips along the way.

  1. Exercise – a lot of walking will do, but even better, try to get too breathless to talk – for 10 minutes at least three times a week.
  2. If you have not got time for item one, give the television away.
  3. If you have got time for item one, still give the television away and get some of your life back.  Most of the stuff on television is rubbish.  There will be plenty of opportunity to watch TV when you are too old or disabled to do anything else.
  4. Smile more.  Try smiling now.  You see, that was quite funny.
  5. When unimportant things go wrong, don’t get angry, laugh.  Even a maniacal or exasperated laugh will make you feel better.  Try a maniacal laugh now.  You see, you’re feeling better already.
  6. When important things go wrong, learn from the experience and try not to let it happen again,
  7. When really important things go wrong (and any danger is past,) cry.  Crying over very sad things is completely normal.
  8. Do not engage with media of any description, social or otherwise, for at least 10 minutes when you wake up.  Starting your day with car crashes, murders, war, floods, fires etc. it is hard to make the day seem good.  Remember media is generally there not to inform but to sell more media.
  9. Grow something – herbs, sunflowers, citrus and oak trees are all fairly easy.  Most plants just need sunshine and water now and again.
  10. Marvel at the detail of nature.  Look at something very closely (use a magnifier) such as an insect or flower – no need to photograph and share – just look and marvel.
  11. Marvel at the enormity of nature.  Look at something distant such as the stars.  If you don’t know it, Google “The Blue Dot”.
  12. Try to reduce your consumption of processed food, alcohol, drugs and meat.
  13. Have the courage to try to change the things you can, the grace to accept the things you can’t and the wisdom to know the difference.
  14. If you don’t, the main sufferer is you.
  15. Ask for help.

Photo: Sunrise yoga on Mt Pilot by Kirsten Coates