When you realize nothing matters more than your mental health, you’ve truly grown up.
As Descartes said, “I think therefore I am”, we literally are our minds. The body is but an encasing shell.
You could be in the best of shape, but without sound mental health, you’ll be nothing more than a hard but hollow pot — that the slightest fall will smash to smithereens.
A healthy mind is a solid rubber sphere.
Life has its ups and downs, but no matter how hard things get, you’ll always come out stronger.
Bullying, sexual abuse, abandonment, and domestic violence —soaking up all that trauma had turned me into one of the hollowest pots ever.
And transforming into a rubber ball has not been easy. But I’ve tried to learn from the mistakes I made and here are some tips that have helped me the best so far.
Hopefully these resources will help revolutionize your mental state too.
The Best 5 Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health
(in no particular order)
#1 – Getting Into Lifting Weights
Bullying made me feel bad, but lifting weights helped me deal with that feeling.
When I was younger, I used to workout with maniacal zeal. But after a few years, I realized that working out had turned into a habit for me. Nowadays, I exercise regularly.
It’s an all-encompassing solution. Got yelled at by your boss? Go workout. Argued with your best friend? Go workout. Feeling down for no apparent reason? Again, smash a workout.
It’s a triple bonanza:
Your negative emotions are burned away as fuel. Thanks to the released endorphins, your happiness soars.
And in the long run, the physical changes dramatically improve your self-esteem.
And the best thing? Exercise is a cornerstone habit — it helps build other habits including eating healthy, sleeping well, taking care of yourself, and looking good. Essentially, overall wellness.
“No one has the right to be a couch potato.”
Start working out. If not lifting weights, then calisthenics. Or swimming. How about boxing? There are tons of ways to exercise — experiment, choose the one you like, start small, and build your way up.
Start today. Start now.
#2 – Deleting Instagram
Instagram is the torch-bearer of the “social” world — a concentrated FOMO hellhole where everyone’s portraying only their best selves and flaunting only the best bits of their lives.
18-year-old millionaires, uber-happy world-touring couples, sculpted dudes with washboard abs and roadmap veins, profligate yacht parties, and bikini girls with surreal proportions.
In reality, that’s just the best 0.1% in the lives of the top 0.1% of people.
Even if you knew this, continued exposure to such content would still subconsciously influence you.
With two accounts, I was able to increase my self-esteem by gaining an audience for myself. However, because I had two separate audiences, I felt anxious when interacting with each group.
Despite having a perfect body and a good lifestyle, I decided to delete both my Facebook and Instagram profiles.
It has been freeing. My sense of gratefulness for everything I own and for my life has increased tremendously. There’s no need to take photos when experiencing anything new.
If deleting it is too much for you, at least limit your usage — and carefully choose the accounts and pages you follow.
#3 – Embracing Stoicism
Stoic philosophy is one of the philosophies most close to my heart. It teaches us to accept things we cannot change and focus on the things we can control.
When faced with an acute crisis (such as a headache), be it from a migraine or my grandpa’s sudden death, I persisted. The Stoic dichotomous view of fate cut my anxiety and stress. Practices such as voluntary hardship and memento mori lead to more grateful and mindful life.
If you want to know who I am, just look at my actions; if you want to know what I really think, just listen to my words.
“Choose not to be hurt and you won’t feel hurt.” –
“We tend to think we look forward toward dying. Most of the dead is already there. Whatever life has been passing through is now controlled by the dead.” –
“Revenge isn’t always the best thing.”
“I start talking only when I know what I want to say won’t be better off not said.”
If Stoicism interests me, I’ll start with Meditations by Epictetus. Then I’ll move onto Letters From a Stoic, followed by The Daily Stoic. For daily inspiration, I recommend reading the Stoics’ writings.
But reading alone won’t really make you a Stoic; you need to practice it in real life too.
These are some Stoic exercises you can practice today.
#4 – Moving from Consumption to Production
Our society is one of consumption. Most people spend their time consuming things.
But an overemphasis on consuming too much food and not enough exercise leads to obesity, which dulls our minds and bodies. Over the long term, this results in a world of overweight, mindless robots.
On the other side, making anything stimulates your brain and body.
Whatever you choose to do, whether it be exercise, music, writing, painting, growing plants, cooking, sewing, or anything else, you are contributing something valuable to the world. You aren’t just stealing from the world; you are also helping it by making things better.
When I was in college, my lifestyle consisted of binge-watched/gaming late into the evening and ate junk food. Now, I write for a living, workout regularly, participate in deep discussions, and build meaningful things at my software job.
And well, the differences between how I felt before starting this new lifestyle and now are nothing short of amazing.
When I consume media (i.e., reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts), I consume it for pleasure and not just entertainment.
Start with one production habit and you’ll see for yourself. Then you’ll pick up more and soon, your life would’ve changed beyond recognition.
#5 – Disabling All Notifications
Finally, we have the most potent (but also the easiest) of the lot.
Most people check their phones at least once every ten minutes. It could be anywhere from ten to twenty minutes.
The results are an ultra-fragmentated attention span, stress thrown onto steroids, and insanely high screen time – even more so than before, since no one stops with just “looking” at a notification.
A simple “hey” could lead to five year long conversations with an ex.
It doesn’t take long at all; however, it will help improve both your mental state and your productivity.
If you need notifications for some reason, schedule DnD timings. And when you go to bed, switch on airplane mode or keep your phone in another room.
Today, there’s no greater joy than seeing my quiet smartphone.
Soon enough, it will be the same for everyone.