Mental hygiene: strategies to clean up the psyche
Mental hygiene is a concept used to refer to the set of habits and strategies thanks to which our mind is in harmony with the environment in which we live and the people with whom we interact.
So, we have mental hygiene no longer when our brain is "healthy", but when what we do and say fits well with the life we want to be experiencing in a given context. This phenomenon is related to a high self-esteem, an adequate self-concept and a way of seeing life that moves away from emotional stagnation and limiting beliefs.
Mental hygiene and the importance of context
We often think of psychological well-being as something that depends entirely on the individual . That is to say, something that is born from within oneself spontaneously (or through the will power) and that comes to completely cover the life experience of the person in any possible situation.
The idea of mental hygiene, however, is based on a more complete conception of psychological well-being and quality of life, since it is based on the assumption that human beings are bio-psycho-social .
This means that, just as we are capable of changing the environment in which we live, the interaction of our body with the environment also transforms us. Thus, mental well-being is not a street in a single direction, but it has two: what we choose to do and what the context in which we live gives us back.
In short, mental hygiene it consists of an emotional and cognitive balance between our expectations and what happens to us in the here and now. Therefore, it is very applicable when talking about quality of life in a holistic way.
Keys to apply mental hygiene
Below you can find a series of general advice to be able to have mental hygiene and enjoy its benefits. In any case, we must bear in mind that each person is a world and you must reflect on what may be the best way to apply them to your life.
1. Question your expectations
Sometimes, much of the emotional pain that our life produces comes from the existence of unreasonable expectations. That's why it's good to ask yourselfwhere these expectations have come from : Are they the result of advertising and marketing? Are we comparing ourselves with people we barely know and who can easily offer their best version?
2. Get rid of the impossible
Another key to applying mental hygiene is to reflect on what objectives they are, by definition, unreachable . This will allow us, in the first place, to get rid of these goals with greater ease and, secondly, to direct our attention to stimulating and realistic objectives that we are letting go and that could help us to embark on a path of personal development.
3. Take care of your relationships
Stop to think about your relationships and whether they are symmetrical or not. Do you spend a lot of time dedicating time and effort to staying close to people that do not belong to you? Do you miss the opportunity to strengthen emotional ties with people for whom you are very important? Friendship and affection is not a commodity, but it is worth cultivating them for mutual good.
4. Think about your basic needs
It is difficult to feel good psychologically if basic needs are not met. That is why to apply mental hygiene it is necessary to have guaranteed a good diet, a home and enough hours of sleep .
This last factor, which is often ignored, is fundamental for our body to repair itself (including our brain, responsible for our mental life) and, as far as diet is concerned, it is important to be clear that eating a lot is not the same as having of all the materials that our body needs to function well.
- Related article: "7 psychological signals that indicate that you are not getting enough sleep"
5. Practice resilience
Resilience is the ability to face crisis situations that can put our happiness at risk, such as the death of a friend or a dismissal. Practicing it involves learning to distance ourselves from the pessimistic reading of reality that can come hand in hand with these situations and see our present and our future with greater perspective. This will be a powerful strategy that will feed our mental hygiene.
6. Set specific goals
There is nothing that activates both our entity and a series of objectives that have a meaning for us. Marking well-defined goals will allow us to remain active while we exercise our ingenuity and our management of emotions so that, working in a coordinated manner, we can get where we want.
In addition, the fact of mark yourself a few days off helps fight procrastination (or the "I'll do it tomorrow" syndrome).
Managing breaks and moments of relaxation is essential to apply mental hygiene; we can not always be thinking about it or doing the same frantic activities. Rest of work and responsibilities it will allow us to free our minds and break with the thoughts in a loop.
This can be achieved through meditation or Mindfulness. And, if we do this in very calm and natural environments that do not contain references to our obligations, much better.