Getting The Muck Out Of Your Mind

Six Tips For Improving Your Mental Health

There’s a saying that goes, “Sometimes the worst place to be is in your own head.” Never has there been any time in history when this quote has been truer.

Statistics show that mental health issues are at an all time high. Despite the advent of technology and daily conveniences in our lives, as a society we’re more frazzled than ever before.  Deadlines, financial stress, politics, the never-ending onslaught of bad news blaring on news networks and other triggers are adversely affecting us daily.

Sooner or later something’s got to give… and it has. Millions of people are suffering from mental health problems and require help from a system that’s letting them slip through the cracks without a safety net to rescue them.

It’s unfortunate, and it’s not what God wants for your life.  He never intended you to lead a life of mental turmoil. 

The best way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim to the pressures of society is to adopt a few self-care measures to protect your mind from the noisy world we live in.

Below you’ll find a list of simple measures that you can adopt to barricade your mind and protect it from the media and madness that’s all around us today.

1.  Steer Clear Of Toxic People

 More people suffer mental stress because of the words and actions of other people than any other cause. With the popularity of social media, this problem has escalated out of control.  It’s very common to see people ranting and raving at strangers on social media platforms over all kinds of issues. Reading such posts, and the comments they generate, can easily trigger feelings of fear, anxiety, or anger.

If you want peace of mind, your best bet is to avoid toxic people in your personal life and hate-filled people on social media platforms. It’s not your battle to make everyone else agree with you. This is a surefire route to aggravation and mental stress. Stay above it.

2.  Take Time To Be Quiet

Long ago, Anglican cleric and novelist Laurence Sterne said, “In solitude the mind gains strength.”  Take time to be quiet.  You may choose to pray, or sit in a park and watch the world go by, or go to the beach and watch the waves lapping on the shore. Take time to be alone and learn to quiet your thoughts. Doing this will recharge your mind and soul.

We live in a world where people constantly need to be stimulated. They live off the dopamine hits that social media notifications and other stimuli provide. They thrive on ‘noise’ and something has to always be going on for them to feel secure and alive. Have you noticed how many businesses have installed TV screens? 

Avoid this constant drain on your mental energy.  French composer Claude Debussy observed, “Music is the space between the notes.”  Make some space in your schedule to enjoy some silence.

3. Learn To Say No

This is especially true at the workplace. If you have the time to assist someone, then by all means help out. But if you’re already overburdened by work that’s threatening to put you in a mental institution, you have to learn to say no if others try to get you to share their workload.

You also need to say no to telemarketers, sales people, invitations to social events, email overload, etc. The rule of thumb is that if you don’t have peace about it, just say no to it. Period.  You don’t need an excuse, and there’s no need to feel guilty.  You have the right to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t commit to that now.”  Believe me, you’ll free yourself from a lot of stress when you learn how to pronounce “no”– and life will go on.

4. Share The Burden

Despite your best efforts to stay calm and collected, life happens to all of us and you may find stressful events threatening your peace.  That’s when it’s time to share the burden with someone else.

Someone you can always share with is Jesus.  “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened,” He said, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Feel free to come to Him with your stress and anxiety.

You can also look for a mature and trusted Christian friend to confide in.  Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”  Praying with someone is always a tremendous comfort.

A third option might be journaling.  . Journaling is a fantastic way to release stress without having to talk to anyone.  The act of writing your thoughts out on paper is cathartic. If you’re angry or annoyed with someone, write it all down.

Sharing your feelings will make things easier to handle.

5. Banish Boredom

Monotony saps your life energy and drains your soul. While some monotony in life is to be expected, the constant grind can wear you down. 

It’s imperative that you add some change and excitement in your life to wake you up. Try something you’ve always wanted to do. Challenge yourself. Pick up a new hobby. Visit a place you’ve never been to before. Be spontaneous and open to new experiences.

Now that I’m retired, my wife and I started taking Tai Chi classes at our community’s new Senior Center.  We’ve met new people and are having fun. 

There’s a reason people usually feel happy on a vacation. The change of scenery breaks the monotony. Variety really is the spice of life. Add something new to your life to stay happy and protect your mental health.


6.  Ask Yourself What God Wants

This last tip is the most important!

I remember a story Florence Bulle shared in her book, Lord of the Valleys.  An active Christian, she had overburdened her schedule to the point that she found herself hospitalized, suffering from exhaustion.  As she lay in her hospital bed, she poured her heart out to God.  “Lord, I don’t understand.  Why is this happening to me?  I was doing this for you, and I was doing that for you, and– “

Suddenly she heard a still, small voice saying, “But Florence, I didn’t ask you to do that!”

Life is busy– but perhaps it’s gotten busier than it should.  Ask yourself, “Is this what God wants?”  You might be surprised at the answer!

So there you have it, six tips to improve your mental health.  Of course you may think of other things you can add to the list.  What works well for one person might not be as effective for someone else.  Feel free to come up with your own course of action.  The point is, Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  It’s not selfish to practice self-care. Protect your headspace and don’t allow the negative energy in the world to shape your thoughts or dictate your emotions. Guard your mind and you’ll be mentally and emotionally strong.



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