Food for Thought: Mental Health for Dessert

Happy Sunday!

I hope you have had a great day watching football and relaxing at home. I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for Thanksgiving and spending time with family this week. Whether your Thanksgiving celebration will be grand or small, it’s important to make time for yourself this week — which brings me to today’s Food for Thought.

Have you ever made a promise to yourself that you’ll meditate and journal everyday, or eat healthier foods for your mind and soul, or do more yoga? I know I have. Maybe we start out sticking to our intention for a week, but as soon as life gets in the way, or we get too tired, or it doesn’t feel like we need it anymore, we give up. Working on our mental health becomes the dessert of our day: something we only do if we have room for it.

Source: https://www.skipprichard.com/7-elements-of-leadership-gratitude/

I read something interesting in a book called The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. Zukav suggests that the real reason we don’t reach our goals is because we don’t have genuine intentions. Yes, maybe we think we want to meditate and journal everyday, but our real intention is to be a top-performer at work (at whatever cost to our time and happiness), or to be liked by others (which leads us to say yes anytime our friends ask us to go out for drinks after work). When our real intention is to be liked or to be the best at what we do, it makes sense that our intention to work on our mental health falls to the wayside.

But we must consistently workout our mental health muscle in order to live healthy, happy, and fulfilling lives. We cannot accomplish all of our goals unless we are okay. If we cannot take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of others. And others aren’t just the people you may live with — your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or kids. Others is everyone you interact with, including your coworkers, boss, clients, and friends. When you are not okay, people sense it, and you feel it. You eat fruits and vegetables (hopefully) everyday because it’s good for your physical health, so why would the same laws not apply to mental health? Like a muscle, if you don’t use it, it atrophies.

We need to stop making our mental health dessert. I am writing this as someone who is prone to saving my meditation and journaling for when I’m struggling with something or when I have time. But, as I’ve expressed above, this is paradoxical. If we only eat fruits and vegetables when we get sick, we will get sick frequently. The same principles apply to mental health. We don’t only need to treat our minds kindly when we’re sick. We need to consistently work on taking time for ourselves and slowing down, practicing gratitude, and any other techniques that helps us live happy and fulfilling lives. These practices will help us cope with difficult times, and we won’t feel as agitated or setback when life inevitably throws us curveballs.

Let’s stop making mental health dessert, and instead make it the main course. I hope you feel inspired to do something for yourself this week, such as getting into a quiet space and writing down what you’re grateful for.

Let me know what you do for your mental health in the comments below.

Have a great week and a happy Thanksgiving!

xx, Jordan

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