40. Forgive – When we refuse to forgive we insist on carrying the weight of bitterness. Is it fair? No. Is it healthy? Unforgiveness is not healthy either. Forgiveness is actually a healthy form of self-care.
41. When You Catch Yourself Ruminating, Do Something Else…Anything! – Distraction is not always a bad thing. If you catch yourself ruminating on a past failure or offense, engage in any reasonably healthy activity (from video game to mowing the lawn) to take your mind somewhere else.
42. Replace Your Self-Defeating Behaviors – Make a list of the self-defeating patterns in your life. Find a replacement behavior for each. Tell a friend what it is you want to change and ask them to hold you accountable to follow through. Refuse to keep doing what is sabotaging your life.
43. Repent – Don’t carry guilt; Jesus did that for you. Too often we think of repentance as an icky, unpleasant conversation with God involving excessive emotion and wallowing. When we understand what repentance is, we realize it is liberating and healthy. Repentance is when we come to our senses and quit trying to make our dysfunctional choices functional.
44. Make a List of Your Procrastinations and Do One of Them – Just let it be a social experiment. Before you do that procrastinated task, take a moment and gauge the weight of dreading to do it. Put that weight on a 1-10 scale. Do the task. Gauge the weight of doing it on a 1-10 scale. Which was worse? Dread is bad for our mental health.
45. Uni-Task More – The distractedness of multi-tasking is experientially similar to many expression of poor mental health. So while uni-tasking is more efficient than multi-tasking (no really, it is, quit arguing), that is not my point here. The mental health benefits of mindfully focusing on one activity at a time is our goal in this habit.
46. Take Yourself Less Seriously – As C.S. Lewis famously said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” There is great liberty in this kind of humility. When we are less self-centered in our thinking, we will be less self-deprecating and insecure. It is unhealthy to measure ourselves against each person and experience in our life.
47. Differentiate Solitude From Isolation – Enjoy solitude. As Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” When we fear being alone, we don’t allow time for our thoughts to settle like glitter in a Christmas snow globe.
48. Write Out Your Worst Self-Talk and Re-script It – What are the worst things you say to yourself? Write them out. Challenge them. Rewrite them to reflect the truth of who you are in Christ. Rehearse the new script, so that when the old self-talk emerges, you can counter it.
49. Celebrate the Success of Others – When we can’t celebrate the success of others, every good thing somebody else does becomes a standard for us to meet. We have to be as funny as the class clown, as smart as the valedictorian, as athletic as the football captain, as daring as the school rebel, as courteous as the teacher’s pet, etc. That is a mentally toxic way to live. Celebrate the successes of others and be free.
50. Don’t Worry About Success or Failure. Be Content to Learn – If you are content to learn, you will be free to live. When things don’t go well, create value in that situation by learning from it. When things do go well, be grateful for the abilities and opportunities God has given you. This posture of being a life-long learner is what will allow good mental health habits to be a blessing to you instead of a burden.
This list is not exhaustive (although reading it may feel exhausting). What would you add to the list and why?
Pick one or two items from this list that are a good fit for your life at this time and practice them until they become a habit. Once that happens, considering picking up a couple other items to focus on.
This article originally appeared here.