Ask anybody about what being healthy means to them and chances are you’ll hear exercise and good nutrition more often than not. We might think of these as the holy grail of looking and feeling good, so much so that the UK health and fitness industry alone is valued at over £4 billion.
But our idea of health shouldn’t start and end with our body. Given that the World Health Organisation estimates there are 450 million people affected from some form of neurological or mental disorder worldwide (and thus placing it as the leading cause of ill-health), it’s clear that our mental wellbeing is in need of some serious attention.
Worryingly though, many of us don’t give much thought to our mental health until it becomes problematic. For many of us, it’s once we experience depression, anxiety and stress that we begin to dive into the stigmatised world of mental health to find a solution to our problem.
But what if we were to prioritise our mental wellbeing the same way we do with our physical wellbeing? What if we were to schedule in time during our day to exercise our mind like we do our body? Doing so would not only lower the risk of suffering with depression and other mental health related issues, but it would also help us to cope with them better if they were to show up. This is what the mental health challenge is all about – actively taking control of your thoughts so that you can cultivate a healthier state of mind.
For a long time we have assumed that the brain, and subsequently or mental health, is something we can’t exercise much control over. You may have already heard how powerful the subconscious mind is (it’s responsible for 95% of what we think, say and do, in fact) and assume that the measly 5% of control our conscious mind exhibits over us isn’t enough to actually change the way our mind works. But you’d be wrong. New scientific research is highlighting how our neurons can indeed change how they connect to other neurons thus transforming the structure of the brain. Whereas scientists used to think that our neural connections were fixed and unchangeable they are now discovering that they are anything but. What does this mean for our state of mind? Well, new neural connections mean one thing: new ways of thinking. If you want to cultivate healthier thoughts it’s completely possible.
The even better news is that although delving into the inner workings of our mind seems daunting, changing our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes is completely achievable. Yes, it will require consistent effort, but doesn’t a healthy body require the same? Don’t worry though, the process of creating a new, healthier mind can be one of the most rewarding journeys you’ve ever taken and can be done anywhere, anytime and by anyone.
So if you’re ready to transform your mind stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 where we’ll explore the techniques you can implement to do just that.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/38692570@N00/8650127689″>Make the Connections</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Like what you’ve read? Help to keep me going 🙂