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KEY POINTS:

1. Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which an individual can realize his/her own abilities, can cope with stress, can work productively, and is able to make contributions to his/her community. 

2. There are many tools, tactics, strategies and techniques that can be used to improve mental health.

3. Eating smarter, moving more, and sleeping soundly will all enhance your ability to think clearly and will improve your mental health.   

The World Health Organization has defined mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make contributions to his or her community.” In addition, the WHO states that children should “have a positive sense of identity, an ability to manage their thoughts, emotions, and to be able to build positive social relationships as well as having an aptitude for learning.” I think those sound like good goals for adults as well.

Fortunately, there are many tools, tactics, strategies and techniques that can be used to improve mental health. Those that I propose here are mostly focused on helping to improve mental performance and prevent mental illness. If we apply these ideas as a society, one person at a time, I think that we can create a culture where people experience much better mental health and those with mental illnesses get comprehensive and holistic help and treatment. The ideas and concepts that I am presenting here cannot take the place of medical and psychiatric treatment. They are meant to be used as preventative and complimentary modalities to improve mental and physical health and to help you unleash your potential.

Eating smarter, moving more, and sleeping soundly will all enhance your ability to think clearly and will improve your mental health. Keep practicing those strategies and moving toward those goals. Thinking clearly will also build your mental health and help you achieve a happy, high-performance life. Together, all of these areas will help you live a world-class life where you can reach your potential, achieve your dreams, and be as healthy as you can be.

Today's POWER-UP: The Pursuit of Happiness

1. Researchers suggest that happiness is a combination of how satisfied you are with your life as well as how good you feel on a day-to-day basis.

2. Here are some ideas that researchers have shown increase happiness levels:

Spend time on relationships. Happy people tend to have deep relationships with others. So invest some time each week on building deeper relationships with your family and friends. Make a phone call to catch up with someone, go to the park with your kids, take your spouse out for dinner, or go do a workout with a friend.

Buy experiences not possessions. Research shows that up to a point money does buy happiness, but beyond an annual income of $70,000 per year increases in income are not related to increases in happiness. However research has shown that by spending our hard earned money on experiences that we can increase our long-term happiness. Recently I spent $150 on surf lessons. I loved the experience and will remember that fondly for many years.

Volunteer your time or money. Contributing your time and / or resources to help people has been shown to improve happiness as well. Find a cause that you care about and get involved. You’ll be amazed how little time and money it takes to make a difference in the world that you can really feel good about.

Exercise = endorphins. exercise causes the release of endorphins which decrease your sensation of pain and cause you to experience deep feelings of well being and sometimes even euphoria – also known as the runners high. Daily exercise is a powerful tool to improve happiness. Amplify this experience by working out with a friend.

Engage deeply with the experience. WE LIVE IN THE AGE OF DISTRACTION WHERE WE ARE CONSTANTLY BOMBARDED BY EMAILS, TEXT MESSAGES AND PHONE CALLS. THIS CAN TAKE AWAY FROM OUR ABILITY TO ENGAGE WITH OUR ACTIVITIES AND EXPERIENCES. MY 5-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER QUOTED A CAMERON DIAZ LINE FROM THE MOVIE SHREK WHEN WE WERE IN THE PARK LAST YEAR AND I WAS RESPONDING TO AN EMAIL. SHE SAID “YOUR JOB IS NOT MY PROBLEM!” THIS WAS A PRICELESS MOMENT THAT REMINDED ME TO BE MINDFUL AND PRESENT WHEN I WAS WITH HER. WE ALL NEED TO DO THIS MORE OFTEN SO THAT WHEN WE HAVE A MOMENT TO BE HAPPY THAT WE REALLY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE MOMENTS.

Practice short bursts of happiness: Take 5 minutes to brighten someone’s day, email someone to thank them for something they did for you, have a meaningful conversation with a friend, take 30 seconds to help someone who needs it, create a new fun experience or recall a great past experience.

Dive Deeper: The Be Better Podcast with Dr. Kelly Brogan on Mental Health

About 1 in 5 people will face a mental health crisis at some point in their lives. Having seen the impact of mental illnesses in families, schools and businesses, mental health is now one of my top priorities. To help shed some light on this topic this week I talk with Dr. Kelly Brogan.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

Subscribe: iTunes | Android |

 

The information and advice provided in this program is intended to assist Sky Regional employees with improving their general health. It is not intended and should not be used in place of advice from your own physician or for treatment or diagnosis of any specific health issue. Sky Regional is not responsible for the content of this program which has been specially developed and is being provided to you by the Wells Group Inc., in consultation with Sky Regional. By participating in this program you acknowledge that undertaking any new health, diet and/or exercise regime involves certain inherent risks, that you assume such risks, and that you release Sky Regional and the Wells Group Inc. from any responsibility or claim relating to such participation.