The Recipe for Emotional Fitness (Mental Health in 21 days!)
Mental Health / By The Emotional Wellness Initiatives

When your car breaks down, you either know how to fix it or find someone who can, emotions, on the other hand, are a little harder to fix, you cannot simply walk into a garage and fix it, but you do have a tool in your kit that you can always use: talk about your feelings. We are entering an era of overwhelm, a time where too many people’s mental health is stretched through multitasking, fragmented attention and information-overload. It is one thing to be physically fit and another to attain emotional fitness!

The trouble is, we are aware of mental health and its implications. But, there is no simple, clear information on cultivating and developing good mental health habits. For a healthy and a balanced diet, we have the food pyramid, for good physical health we have the health triangle (which includes physical exercise, nutrition and rest), but for mental health or emotional fitness – nothing as concise!

Dr. Dan Siegal recently introduced an important concept – the healthy mind platter, which highlights ways to take care of our mental health. Here is a creative recipe to remember this platter to take care of our mental health!

1 bottle of exercise
Exercising for 30-60 minutes a day have shown to tremendously help in releasing mood-boosting and stress-relieving endorphins. And this is is why exercise is an important antidote to stress, anxiety and depression. Look for small ways to incorporate exercise in your daily life.

5-6 tablespoons of positivity throughout the day
Research shows how you think about yourself can have a powerful effect on how you feel. The more positive affirmations you tell yourself can foster self-worth and personal power. Make sure you consume a minimum of 5 tablespoons of positivity through statements like.. “I am worthy” or “I love myself” or “I am beautiful inside-out”.

1 cup of connecting time
When we connect with other people, such as friends and family, we connect naturally to the world around us, richly activating the brains’ relational circuitry. Interaction reminds us that we are not alone and gives us an outlet to share and reciprocate thoughts and feelings.

3 plates of healthy meal
Eating habits play an important role in mood regulation throughout the day. Big carbohydrate loads can lead to fatigue crashes, concentration issues, irritability and symptoms that are apparent in depression and anxiety. So 3 plates of a healthy meal is a must!

1 dose of sleepiness syrup
At the end of the day, make sure to take a dose of sleepiness syrup because your life depends on it! Neuroimaging and neurochemistry studies suggest that good sleep hygiene foster mental and emotional resilience. While sleep disruptions and unhealthy sleep patterns set the stage for emotional vulnerability, negative thoughts and mental illness.

The brain likes patterns, set habits and themes – both healthy and unhealthy ones, alike. If it receives these signals and habits on a regular basis, it will lock the pattern up! So choose carefully the set of patterns you would like your brain to lock and use this simple recipe to attain emotional fitness!

This article has been written by our Child and Adolescent specialist Archana Raghavan. You can find her profile here.