The Permanent Mental Health Regime

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Smith1776
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The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by Smith1776 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:39 am

Guys, what do you do to make sure you stay mentally and emotionally healthy?

As I've gotten a bit older, and a bit wiser, I've devised strategies to help keep my mind healthy. My teen years and early twenties were an absolute disaster in particular. It's better, but I still struggle sometimes.

Some things I do to keep things in good order in this area:
  • 1. Regular exercise - mostly bodybuilding stuff; some swimming and martial arts cross training
    2. Adequate sleep - I don't skimp in this area; I try to get no less than 7 hours in an evening
    3. Good diet - Eating a high protein diet along with lots of veggies; some fruit and low carbs; occasional treats
    4. Trying to maintain active social connections
    5. Being engaged with goals and work that are intellectually stimulating - don't just work for the sake of working... or just for money!
    6. Semi-regular meditation and mindfulness exercises
    7. Minimizing contact with people who would influence my emotional health negatively
I've occasionally seen a therapist too... though I've found they've had limited effectiveness.

What are your guys thoughts on this incredibly important (but often ignored) facet of our lives?

EDIT: Will be adding to the list as people make suggestions. Thank you to dualstow, sophie, pugchief, et. al. for contributions.
  • 8. Walking in nature. Have to see a little green, water, and/or a nice sky.
    9. No sugary drinks or snacks. (Smith comment: I've heard clinical psychologists mention that this is HUGE when it comes to mental state)
    10. I go out with friends every week, minimum of two times.
    11. Trying to keep a good relationship with the Mrs. Rule #1, she’s always right. And when she just isn’t, the best I can do is keep my head down.
    12. Introduction to Zen Buddhism by DT Suzuki has helped for decades.
    13. Nature sounds on youtube.
    14. Try to do a good deed once in a while.
    15. Cat. (dog? ^-^ )
    16. Avoid unnecessary exposure to situations and information (especially via internet) that has the effect of making us feel helpless in the face of a world spiraling out of control.
    17. There are also certain herbs that I've found particularly effective for stabilizing a hyperreactive nervous system, namely ashwaganda root (you won't notice a sedating effect, but it does appear to level things out over the long term; it is referred to as an "adaptogen," which I infer to mean that it has an effect on the physiological stress response) and kava root (works very quickly to settle things down).
    18. eliminate clutter.... knowing what you own, why you own it, and where you keep it, is a nice mental health booster.
    19. Take time off work, if you are working full time. Ignore the pressures to never take vacation time.
    20. Daily quality downtime in some form. Outside/nature is optimal (sort of meditative), actual meditation, cross stitching, reading all work too.
Last edited by Smith1776 on Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by dualstow » Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:59 am

I think I would do well to copy you.

1) Walking in nature. Have to see a little green, water, and/or a nice sky.
2) I briefly strived for 8 hours’ sleep. Even got the Harvard Health sleep book ages ago.
I was trying to limit caffeine to morning hours, or at least cut it off by 2pm. Even one glass of wine can ruin some people’s sleep (me), so I have been failing.
3) No sugary drinks or snacks.
4) I go out with friends every week, minimum of two times. This interferes with (2) but...you’re not going to find me at a pick-up soccer game. We meet for carbs, in both large disk form and pint form.
5) This isn’t low priority because it’s at number 5. I was merely pegging my items to yours so far. Trying to keep a good relationship with the Mrs. Rule #1, she’s always right. And when she just isn’t, the best I can do is keep my head down. Otherwise, (2) is obliterated.
6) Introduction to Zen Buddhism by DT Suzuki has helped for decades. I should revisit the book.
7) Nature sounds on youtube. I should get some noise canceling headphones as well.
8.) Try to do a good deed once in a while. At the very least, hold the door for people, don’t be a prick in the grocery store, etc. Be a gentleman even when in a bad mood (from lack of sleep, hah).

Your number 7 is a struggle for me. I dwell on bad experiences years later that other people get over after five minutes. A jerk in a movie theater, for example. I try to visualize that stranger and I bumping into each other again in the future, becoming friends, and laughing about that initial interaction. That did happen with a friend in junior high, so it’s easy to visualize. I don’t know if it’s helping.
Even Obama called out cancel culture last week and he was derided for it.
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by dualstow » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:03 am

9) but this should be at the top of the list: cat.
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by Maddy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:48 am

No. 7 could expanded to include unnecessary exposure to situations and information (especially via internet) that has the effect of making us feel helpless in the face of a world spiraling out of control.

But it's Dualstow's #8 that has helped me most: Doing a good deed for a stranger at least once a day has an amazing ability to pull me out of the worst funk. Oftentimes, it doesn't take much. Easily worth 10 hours of therapy, and free.

There are also certain herbs that I've found particularly effective for stabilizing a hyperreactive nervous system, namely ashwaganda root (you won't notice a sedating effect, but it does appear to level things out over the long term; it is referred to as an "adaptogen," which I infer to mean that it has an effect on the physiological stress response) and kava root (works very quickly to settle things down).
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by pugchief » Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:42 pm

Maddy wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:48 am
No. 7 could expanded to include unnecessary exposure to situations and information (especially via internet) that has the effect of making us feel helpless in the face of a world spiraling out of control.

But it's Dualstow's #8 that has helped me most: Doing a good deed for a stranger at least once a day has an amazing ability to pull me out of the worst funk. Oftentimes, it doesn't take much. Easily worth 10 hours of therapy, and free.

There are also certain herbs that I've found particularly effective for stabilizing a hyperreactive nervous system, namely ashwaganda root (you won't notice a sedating effect, but it does appear to level things out over the long term; it is referred to as an "adaptogen," which I infer to mean that it has an effect on the physiological stress response) and kava root (works very quickly to settle things down).
Be very careful with Kava, there have been reports of serious negative side effects.
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by Xan » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:48 pm

dualstow wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:03 am
9) but this should be at the top of the list: cat.
Thanks for the advice, but I understand they're tough and stringy, with little flavor.
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by dualstow » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:59 pm

Xan wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:48 pm
dualstow wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:03 am
9) but this should be at the top of the list: cat.
Thanks for the advice, but I understand they're tough and stringy, with little flavor.
Xan, try with ashwaganda root.

Sophie and I talked about kava a little bit in the past. I can't remember if it was a public post or private message. A lot of the bad press is from people who had not-so-fresh root. Essentially tainted stuff. It's not that the fresh stuff destroys your liver, although everyone thinks that now.

That said, it can be physically addictive. There are withdrawal symptoms (bitchiness for example), and I don't think it should be taken long-term.
Addiction aside, the guys who drink it every day on Tonga have yellow skin and nails. That takes years. It was traditionally just taken during ceremonies, not every day.
(Maddy wrote) There are also certain herbs that I've found particularly effective for stabilizing a hyperreactive nervous system, namely ashwaganda root (you won't notice a sedating effect, but it does appear to level things out over the long term; it is referred to as an "adaptogen," which I infer to mean that it has an effect on the physiological stress response) and kava root (works very quickly to settle things down).
(pugchief said) Be very careful with Kava, there have been reports of serious negative side effects.
Even Obama called out cancel culture last week and he was derided for it.
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by pugchief » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:03 pm

Dualstow, if your intent was to sway me to try Kava again, you have failed miserably. :D
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by dualstow » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:05 pm

pugchief wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:03 pm
Dualstow, if your intent was to sway me to try Kava again, you have failed miserably. :D
To each his own. O0
If anyone else is curious, here's a place to start:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kava#Effects_on_the_liver
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by jacksonM » Sun Jul 14, 2019 6:07 pm

Smith1776 wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:39 am
Guys, what do you do to make sure you stay mentally and emotionally healthy?

As I've gotten a bit older, and a bit wiser, I've devised strategies to help keep my mind healthy. My teen years and early twenties were an absolute disaster in particular. It's better, but I still struggle sometimes.

Some things I do to keep things in good order in this area:

1) Regular exercise - mostly bodybuilding stuff; some swimming and martial arts cross training
2) Adequate sleep - I don't skimp in this area; I try to get no less than 7 hours in an evening
3) Good diet - Eating a high protein diet along with lots of veggies; some fruit and low carbs; occasional treats
4) Trying to maintain active social connections
5) Being engaged with goals and work that are intellectually stimulating - don't just work for the sake of working... or just for money!
6) Semi-regular meditation and mindfulness exercises
7) Minimizing contact with people who would influence my emotional health negatively

I've occasionally seen a therapist too... though I've found they've had limited effectiveness.

What are your guys thoughts on this incredibly important (but often ignored) facet of our lives?
I agree with most of these points but I would add to stay as far away from the medical establishment as long as you can if you don't really think you are sick but just want to find out if maybe you are wrong. They will have to run a lot of tests just to test your theory and it could cost a lot of money. And they might even find that some ridiculous number in their tests proves the point and you can be put on on expensive medicines with followup visits for the rest of your life.

So just choose a healthy diet, hop on your bike or go for a run/walk to your own satisfaction and avoid this nonsense.
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by l82start » Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:52 pm

#? eliminate clutter.... knowing what you own, why you own it, and where you keep it, is a nice mental health booster.
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Re: The Permanent Mental Health Regime

Post by sophie » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:38 am

Great thread!

What number are we up to? In any case:

N+1) Take time off work, if you are working full time. Ignore the pressures to never take vacation time. No need to travel, staycations are absolutely wonderful and very much underrated. Schedule them ahead of time and regard them as sacrosanct, just as if you were going somewhere and had bought an expensive plane ticket. (Taking one today in fact!)

N+2) Daily quality downtime in some form. Outside/nature is optimal (sort of meditative), actual meditation, cross stitching, reading all work too. TV is the easy default but probably not a good option unless you play a youtube video of a fireplace or something.
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