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50 Good Mental Health Habits

21. Get Outside – Air conditioning (keeping us inside) may have had as much of a negative influence on mental health as the light bulb (allowing us to stay up later and sleep less). These inventions aren’t the problem. Our habits are. Get outside in the sunshine. Walk. Experience God’s creation.

22. Improve Your Posture – The body influences the mind. Facial expressions influence mood. Body posture impacts attitude. Slouched shoulders and droopy demeanor both reveal and cultivate a down mood. A straight back, solid eye contact and intentional movement both reveal and cultivate confidence. Try it for a week and see.

23. Get a Regular Medical Check Up – Health is a dynamic commodity; it changes over time. It is wise to learn how our bodies are changing as we age. Go to the doctor. Discuss changes in your physical, cognitive and emotional health. Learn which are common with the aging process and what can be done.

24. Set a Goal – Goals give us a future orientation; that is, a reason to live. In the absence of goals yesterday is no different from today, morning is no different from night, and weekday is no different than weekend. Life becomes one big “blah.” Have goals each day that connect with something you find meaningful.

25. Strive for Contentment – Goals and contentment are not antithetical. Be content with who you are in Christ. Have goals for what you want to do with your life. When your goals begin to make you feel discontent, put them on hold until your soul becomes settled with who you are in Christ again.

26. Doubt Your Fears – This is hard. Our fears aren’t always wrong. But our fears should have to prove themselves before we embrace them. If you listen to your fears like a sincere friend who is only right 50 percent of the time, it will probably improve your mental health.

27. Put Unpleasant Emotions Into Words – When all we know is we feel “bad,” we’re not sure what to do. Answer the question, “If my unpleasant emotion could talk, what would it say?” Personifying our emotions is a good way to clarify them. Once we articulate them, it is usually clearer what can/should be done next.

28. Reflect on Your Growth – How are you wiser, stronger or more mature than you were a year ago? What have you learned? How has your life has improved? These are questions we often take for granted when our mental health is poor as we just focus on what is bad, hard or we don’t like. The fact you have grown is evidence that you can continue to grow and that God is active in your life.

29. Ask “What Is Good” About Each Change in Your Life – Many of us don’t like change, so we initially interpret change as bad and find what we liked better “before.” If this is you, cultivate the habit of looking for the opportunities and advantages in each change that initially bristles you.

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Brad serves as the Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church in  Durham, NC. He also serves as Instructor of Biblical Counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a council member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition, and has authored several books including Do Ask, Do Tell, Let’s Talk: Why and How Christians Should Have Gay Friends and God’s Attributes: Rest for Life’s Struggles.