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Good Mental Hygiene

When we practice what is best for our own brain regulation needs, we are likely to feel more balanced and content, and experience more joy and peace in our lives. When I am feeling off, I try to take the time to notice what this is about. One of the likely suspects right now in my life is becoming overly focused on the to do list. Then the beautiful, sweet (and temporary!) requests from one of my kids to play is buried again with another “maybe later” “I have to get this done first” etc.

Having good mental hygiene requires learning how to meet your brain regulation needs. I believe we all have needs at different times for both relaxation/calm and adrenaline/intensity. These are just natural drives and impulses within each of us. But it is not as optimal when we allow habits to build that meet these needs in less healthy ways. It is up to each of us to determine for ourselves what is healthy or not. Having discussions about this with loved ones, friends or a therapist can help to bring this more in focus. In this determination its useful if we consider the impact of a given behavior on ourselves and others. Once we feel more sure about what is healthy for us or not, it will likely take some time and effort to reduce less healthy ways of meeting brain stimulation needs and strengthen more healthy approaches.

In considering what is healthy and your regulation needs, it can help to know that our brains thrive given a balanced diet of different experiences. What this balanced diet looks like differs from person to person. And our needs change through our lives. However all of us experience stress and challenge. Sometimes it does not feel good while we are meeting a challenge or doing something hard. But having these kinds of experiences can bring a needed level of stress as part of the balance. Maybe even from the to do list!

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