When some­one says they want to get healthy, you nat­u­ral­ly think of phys­i­cal health. How­ev­er, we do have the abil­i­ty to do a mind work­out so that we are men­tal­ly fit. We’ve col­lect­ed some exer­cis­es to help you build your men­tal-mus­cle-strength and, in turn, build a strong and healthy body.

Anx­i­ety dis­or­ders are the high­est report­ed men­tal health issue in the US with 42.5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans claim­ing to suf­fer from this ill­ness. We can only assume that now, due to the state of the world in the mid­dle of a glob­al pan­dem­ic, those num­bers will be increas­ing. It’s nat­ur­al to feel stress, anx­i­ety, grief, and wor­ry dur­ing a cri­sis. But, rather than camp out in those feel­ings, it’s a bet­ter choice to work out of those feelings.

Let’s get to work and train our brain to be healthy.

  1. When you feel anx­i­ety or stress grow­ing, take reg­u­lar breaks from what­ev­er is caus­ing that stress. Go for a walk. Do breath­ing exer­cis­es. Turn up your music and sing and dance. If you like to gar­den, go out­side and get your hands in the dirt!
  2. Make healthy food choic­es. What you eat has an impact on how you feel. Car­bo­hy­drates increase sero­tonin, which is known to con­tribute to feel­ings of well­be­ing and hap­pi­ness. Pro­tein increas­es alert­ness and fruits and veg­eta­bles feed all the cells of your body and help with reg­u­lat­ing your mood.
  3. When you think pos­i­tive­ly, you act pos­i­tive­ly. Keep a grat­i­tude jour­nal to help you focus on the things that you appre­ci­ate in your life. Prac­tice the art of ran­dom acts of kind­ness. When you help oth­ers, it not only ben­e­fits the receiv­er, but also the giv­er! Speak pos­i­tive­ly to your­self and to oth­ers. Your words car­ry so much weight—make sure they are filled with the right kind of load.
  4. Lim­it your expo­sure to news and social media if you find these are areas that bring you more unease than joy. Con­sid­er only watching/reading the news once a day. The same idea goes for check­ing in on social media since you can so eas­i­ly go down a Face­book bun­ny trail that leads to neg­a­tiv­i­ty. You can even choose to fol­low those sto­ries that you know will bright­en your thoughts like John Krasinski’s “Some Good News.”
  5. Con­nect with those who lift you up. We all have that friend whose nat­ur­al bent is to be neg­a­tive. This is not who you want to have speak­ing into you. Instead, seek out those friends that are nat­u­ral­ly great encour­agers and let them fill your emo­tion­al tank. In the same vein, when you need help, speak with trust­ed author­i­ties like your pas­tor or coun­selor or those sug­gest­ed through your work’s Employ­ee Assis­tance Program.

As you bulk up your mind with healthy thoughts, you will find your body fol­lows suit. Men­tal health requires the same ded­i­ca­tion to good habits and choic­es that phys­i­cal health does. And, when you make dai­ly deci­sions to think on those things that are good and noble and uplift­ing, your strong men­tal health will car­ry you through the rough patch­es of life with­out let­ting you down.