Sunday, November 1, 2009
Many people dutifully take vitamins every morning, work out and diet when needed, no matter how time consuming and sacrifice-demanding such steps often are.
The society we live in – one based largely on image and importance of the body – promotes and encourages us to go to great lengths to ensure good health and appearance; but how much time does the average individual invests in mental health and the pursuit of personal happiness?
Research has shown extensively how important it is to remain positive and seek the silver lining.
Let’s imagine that we went for a check-up, and the doctor told us that we need to go on a strict diet for health related reasons; most likely, we would anxiously listen, take the good doctor’s advice, and cut out all the foods that can affect us negatively.
What if that same doctor told us to go on a “mental diet”? Would we cut out all negative thoughts? Or would we just shrug our shoulders and keep living the same old way?
A rigorous mental diet is indeed very hard to follow; if one pays attention, it is amazing how much easier it is for us to pick up negative vibes than positive ones. It is interesting to try it for a day, and attempt to not give in to any negative thoughts for that window of time. It’s much easier to not eat!
The best way to achieve things is to follow the path of least resistance. We get frightened and anxious when facing something which appears paramount, but everybody is probably comfortable taking a few baby steps to learn how to walk.
So, the program is going to be very simple: at night time, before going to bed, let’s try to identify three positive things that happened throughout our day, and analyze briefly why they occurred. They could be extremely small things, such as a stranger smiling warmly, good news regarding someone we love, the chance to finish a book we really enjoy, a cup of exceptional coffee…the list is endless.
As simple as this regimen may appear, it works beautifully. We are used to dismiss simple things as ineffective, as we are conditioned to think that good results can only be achieved through exhausting work, and quality can only be purchased by exorbitant sums of money.
Ultimately, we can look at this exercise as a “mental vitamin”; it won’t cure all ills, but it will certainly ensure that we are taking steps toward improved health and renewed happiness.