The New York Times has a good piece exploring the link between mental health and messy homes — as well as and how to deal with it — here, Why Clearing Clutter Can Feel Impossible.
For some people, a chaotic home can lead to more mental health problems which can lead to more chaos. The spiral needs to be broken. That article can help.
I sometimes posts links I find on physical health, which is all well and good. Here’s some pieces on mental health care and the the mind that I found worthwhile.
When I would run I was always struck by how I felt physically would literally changed my mind. If I was having a good run, positive thoughts would spring up. If I was struggling, plenty of negative thoughts arose. So I thought this was a good reminder of how our body — in this case, our physical heart — influences what we perceive and fear. Relatedly, when you feel sick, you can thank your brain. It’s a good reminder to me of the tight interconnection between our physical and mental health.
An important way to take care of your mental health is therapy. Here are a few pieces on the topic. Therapy is important and useful, but it has its limits. For example, this is a sad reminder of the limits of mental health therapy. More on the topic of the limits of therapy, here: The philosophical roots of CBT help explain its limitations.
Moving on to a practical note, here’s a good piece on the importance of rituals. And this piece on training your brain for hard things is good. As is this one on how habit stacking will trick your mind into adopting a new habit.
Let’s not forget exercise. A reminder that even a single exercise session can help shift depression. That’s especially important in the winter time if you suffer from something like SAD. Besides exercise, there are other things you can do for it. See this and feel better.
Finally, if Jonah Hill can take mental health breaks from his work, we all should.
Mental health is a serious matter, as is physical health. That’s why I think this made me sad: advice columnist does not take the mental health of someone’s dad too seriously.
Take care of yourself, mentally.
Here’s a list of things on fitness and health I’ve been collecting that you may find useful. It’s summer: at the very least it’s a good excuse to walk more and eat salads more. 🙂
Exercise: a nice list of articles on getting in shape…
Diet/weight loss: four pieces on losing weight
Health in general:
Here’s some links on fitness and physical health that are not typical. For example, I Did 340 Pushups a Day to Prepare for the TV Version of Prison. Then I Got There. Reading about this: Emily Ratajkowski‚Äôs New Book Tests The Limits Of Self-Awareness got me thinking about this Dear Younger Me: Lauren Fleshman. Sometimes we push yourselves from the extremes of one form of unhealthiness to another. You may think these Sample Menus for a 1 200 Calorie Diet can help you lose weight, but if so you should read this: 1 200 Calories a Day Is a Starvation Diet Actually, you may change your mind.
I still think carrying a lot of weight is unhealthy. As did this father: He Struggled to Play With His Daughter So He Turned to the Couch to 5K App to Lose Weight. Find your own level and continually move in the healthier direction.
If you use a fitbit, read this: How Many Steps Do You Really Need Each Day? If you are in the market for one, check this out: Your Fitbit Can Now Let You Know Whether You Snore. If you are looking for new shoes, consider these: Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next Nature Running Shoe via Uncrate.
(Image via Uncrate)
Last week Dr. Aaron T. Beck died. He lived a century. As the Times said, his
brand of pragmatic, thought-monitoring psychotherapy became the centerpiece of a scientific transformation in the treatment of depression, anxiety and many related mental disorders
I’d argue he did as much if not more for the health and well being of people than any doctor or scientist.
I highly recommend reading this: Dr. Aaron T. Beck, Developer of Cognitive Therapy, Dies at 100 – The New York Times. I was fascinated to see the pushback he received over time, and how he fought back against. Truly a great man.
It’s fall and it’s a pandemic, but gyms are opening wide up and no doubt you (and I) want to get some of our fitness back. Here’s eight links I’ve found recently that could help:
(Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash )
Yesterday I recommended a paper planner. Today I am recommending a different type of paper product, The Anti-Anxiety Notebook. If you suffer from anxiety and cannot get the help you need to deal with it, such a notebook can help you. If you can get help, this notebook could supplement it.
It’s a well-designed book for dealing with anxiety and the approach they recommend I found useful in my dealings with my own anxiety. If you are interested but unsure, talk to a medical professional about it. But please check it out if you or someone you love suffers from anxiety.
(Photo by Ashley West Edwards on Unsplash )
I really found this article worthwhile: How to Clean Your House When You’re Depressed
It’s worthwhile reading even if you are not depressed. There can be times when it is too hard to clean your place. Unfortunately, a messy place may lead to more sadness and stress. Applying the lessons in that article can help alleviate that.
Now your house may not be messy, but you may be suffering from being down and not able to do other chores. Again, try and apply the lessons in that article. It may help you make progress, and clear signs of progress can often help.
Good luck. Go easy on yourself.
If you ever have that feeling of not wanting to be her, these article might be of some help:
If they don’t help or they don’t help enough, consult with a professional right away.
(Photo by John Baker on Unsplash )
It is natural to feel angry at times. As the Mayo Clinic explains, anger is a natural response to perceived threats. What you do with your anger is what is important.
For some, stopping your anger is what is important. Some but not all. This piece argues that anger can be a public good. On the other hand, this article compares it to a form of madness that needs to be curbed. Certainly if you have kids, especially kids with severe difficulties of their own, knowing how to regain your sense of calm (as this pieces shows) is important.
My personal view is that anger is like a fire, and while fire has its uses, it is generally someone you want to contain if you don’t want to cause major damage to yourself and others. It is worthwhile to examine what you perceive to be a threat and try and break it down and determine if it really is a threat. Often the things we fear are not as threatening as we imagine. Plus sometimes we feel that way because we are tired or feeling isolated.
The last piece I want to recommend on anger is this piece in Zenhabits.
(Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash)
Are you more worried these days? Ha! I know you are: I see your tweets and your socials! Hey, it’s fine. These are difficult days. That’s not a licence to worry your head off though. Difficult or not, being able to worry less is a good skill to have.
If you don’t think it is a skill you have much of, read this. It will give you good practical tips to deal effectively with your worrying. Better yet, read it with a pen and paper handy; when you are done, write down a practical plan to change your worrying.
Worrying is a habitual way of thinking that can cause you damage. The good news is you can break that habit and change your thinking and have it shift away from worrying. Worrying is like smoking or eating badly or any other harmful behaviors. Behaviors you can change. So set your mind on a different form of being. You’ll be calmer and more positive soon enough.
(Photo by Henrikke Due on Unsplash)
Gardening is a tricky hobby. I’ve always associated it with older people. Which makes some sense: if you go to a gardening center in spring, it will be packed mainly with old folks. This is a bad prejudice to have. As this article by Samin Nosrat showed me, gardening can be a great activity to help with one’s mental wellness.
Last winter I suffered a devastating bout of depression. Unable to do much else, I took to the neglected beds of the vegetable garden I share with my neighbors. Weeding and composting for hours a day, I was regenerating both the soil and something deep in myself. It felt so crucial to my well-being that sometimes I wore a headlamp to extend my work time past the waning daylight.
It’s worthwhile reading the entire article. She makes a great case for the goodness that gardening can do for you. After you finish it, you may want to rush out to a garden center and get started on your own garden and improved mental health.
(Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash)
You may hate lifting weights, but if you struggle with depression, even from time to time, then you should consider it.
More details, here: Resistance Training May Help Relieve Depression (Time)
What are you looking at in terms of exercise? It says:
He recommends following the guidelines provided by the American College of Sports Medicine: doing strength training at least two days per week by performing eight to 12 repetitions of eight to 10 different strength-building exercises each time.
Sounds hard, but it isn’t. And if you need some exercise routes, go to Darebee and find some routines you need.
Based on this older study (For Your Brain’s Sake, Keep Moving – The New York Times), it seems like running helps the brain grow better. It’s a good read. It may also explain, at least in part, why people’s brains are not doing so great lately with the lockdown due to the pandemic.
We rightly attribute running to helping our muscles and our cardiovascular system. It seems to help our nervous system as well. Try to get out and move if you can.
I have read in many places that it is good to be grateful. To be thankful. Here is one such article: What Does It Mean to Be Grateful? – Mindful. If that works for you, then I recommend it.
I find a simpler and just as effective approach is to acknowledge when something is good. Wake up feeling rested? Say “This is good”. Enjoy your cup of coffee or tea or even just being up? Acknowledge that “This is nice”. As you go through your day, make an effort to consciously acknowledge all the good things big and small in your life. You’ll find many. And if you can’t, that’s ok too. Work to appreciate the good things in the bad. Rainy, overcast day? Good for flowers. Monday? A new week to do something good. Etc. If you struggle to think of any, talk to a friend or some other council.
You have lots of good things in your life. As you appreciate them, you will better appreciate your life in general. And that too is good.
Easier said than done, I know. But worth addressing. And not impossible. Good luck! Anxiety may seem like a tiger, but it can also be a horse: you can get a grip on it, break it, and use it to your advantage even.
How to Harness Your Anxiety – The New York Times
A small, handy guide to dealing with your emotions:
…keep going. (In other words, hell is no place to stop.)
It sounds wise, but if it seems impossible to you, here’s a good piece with some guidance on how to keep going through hell and exit the other side: Read This If You’re Going Through Adversity – Darius Foroux.
The bad news: for people in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting colder and darker.
The good news: if you are one of those people who suffer from S.A.D., then this is an excellent list of lights that can help you deal with it: The Best Light Therapy Lamps for Seasonal Affective Disorder | Apartment Therapy
Better still, there is a wide range of price points and some of them are relatively inexpensive.
Check out the list. If you know someone who struggles with this, then consider this an excellent gift idea.
Bonus: This post was written in 2017. Since then they have updated their list, so check it out again.