Parenting Special Needs Magazine - March/April 2017

Stay Mentally Healthy

Douglas Haddad, PH.D. 2017-03-17 12:15:31

Stay Mentally Healthy 1 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO VERSION OF THE ARTICLE. This spring by changing these three thoughts Have you ever thought to yourself, “Am I doing enough?” I am sure that if someone watched all the things you do each day, it wouldn’t be about the quantity of what you do, but more so, “Are you taking some quality time to do something for yourself?” Let’s get started by implementing the following three thoughts into your regular daily living to help get you into the right mental zone this spring. 1. Less is more It’s time to learn to stop doing for the sake of doing. How much you achieve does not determine how much you succeed. The little things accumulated over time are what make the biggest differences in people’s lives and what make not only the receivers but also the givers the most happy and fulfilled. Here are some ways to make big differences using the “less is more” approach: • Ask someone how they are doing and be a lending ear to family, friends, colleagues, or complete strangers when they need it the most. • Be supportive and encouraging of other people’s ideas and dreams as they share them with you. • Perform a random act of kindness through a donation of some sort – whether it be monetary, food, clothing, or a surprise visit with something in hand. • Volunteer to help someone in need or for a worthy cause that you are passionate about. • Call someone just because and see how things are going with them. 2. Don’t believe every thought you have Changing your thoughts is first about recognizing how we think as humans. We have tens of thousands of thoughts each day, some experts say up to 80,000 thoughts a day. According to research the thoughts we have today are approximately 95 percent of the thoughts we had yesterday. Of our thoughts, 70-80 percent of them are negative. This repetitive thinking pattern can create stress that can harm your overall health – mind and body – and result in sickness or chronic disease. Negative thinking arises from fears or disillusionments about a negative outcome. In order to overcome negative thinking and break the cycle of anxiety, which can lead to depression, you must recognize your own fears and overcome them. For example, going to the store and picking up groceries is a neutral event. Now, if you have a fear of leaving your home, waiting in long lines, being in crowds, or driving, you may fear an undesirable outcome. What you feel is what you’re going to attract so using positive self-talk with positive outcomes is a way to overcome negative thinking. Instead, say to yourself something to the effect of, “I am going to the store to pick up some much needed groceries and then will enjoy a nice meal when I get home.” 3. Open yourself up to new possibilities. Time management is one of the most crucial skills in keeping life in balance and is a contributing factor to your energy levels, financial status, stress levels – you name it. Your schedule on the surface may appear to be filled up and you may think that you don’t have any time to do the things you love. However, does a jam-packed schedule make you happier, more excited, and more fulfilled? If not, reevaluate how you spend your time and ask yourself if you are doing the things that truly make you happy? Take an inventory of the different “events” that make up your day and ask yourself: “Are these things that you should be doing or things you want to be doing?” We often prioritize our schedule based on our highest priorities and fail to leave room for new possibilities. As human beings, we tend to go on “automatic pilot” and repeat behaviors and thoughts unconsciously. One major contributing factor to happiness is growth. As much as we desire security, routine, and comfort, we also crave adventure, variety and expansion. Latin writer Publilius Syrus once said, “When we stop to think, we often miss our opportunity.” The key point here is to be open to all possibilities. Set yourself a goal by trying something new for the next 30 days. I would suggest by starting to first write down the things you would like to do and find out where in your schedule you can fit in this new goal. For starters, consider the following as possibilities: • Take a daily walk outdoors. • Read an inspiring article each day. • Take an art class. • Do 10 pushups a day. • Go to bed 30 minutes earlier to get better quality sleep. • Reduce or eliminate animal-based products from your diet. • Drink eight 8-oz. Glasses of water daily. Douglas Haddad, Ph.D. (“Dr. Doug”) is an award-winning educator and author. You can go online or to a local bookstore and pre-order his new book The Ultimate Guide to Raising Teens and Tweens: Strategies for Unlocking Your Child’s Full Potential. The book goes on sale February 16th. Visit: and pick up a free PDF copy of The WHOLE LOTTA LIVING Guide for You and Your Family.

Published by Parenting Special Needs Magazine. View All Articles.

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