Mental Wellness: Cultivating Wellness

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By Warren Heggarty

The Queensland Health Department web site says that ‘just like you eat your veggies and exercise to keep your body well, there are things you can do to promote mental health (handily, they also include eating well and exercising!).’ (Queensland government, n.d.)

Can you guess the trouble with that? People often DON’T eat veggies and exercise. Likewise, they don’t often do what will make them mentally strong either. I guess that is because there is a certain amount of effort, challenge and even drudgery associated with developing mental wellness. If you have the whole world on your shoulders, why would you want to take on new things as well?

This is why baby steps are needed.  Little steps, one at a time, might just make a difference over time. This approach is illustrated in the WoW (Wheel of Wellbeing) system explained in the box. It is also tied up with the second of the three secrets to mental strength listed later in this article. 

Looking after both body and mind, building relationships (meaningful ones with people who want what’s good for you), exploring the meaning and purpose of your life and giving your mind a workout are all important.

You can find more resources about looking after your mental health on the Head to Health website. https://headtohealth.gov.au/  This Australian Government website focuses on four broad aspects of life that can impact your mental wellbeing: physical health, connectedness, purposeful activity, and feeling safe, stable and secure. (Australian Department of Health, n.d.)  

Head to Health is a great place where you can find all kinds of digital resources, including apps, programs and forums that can help with your mental wellbeing. 

Mental Strength

What about cultivating mental strength. There is lots of advice on the net about this topic but here are three simple (and we think rather challenging) attributes of people who have well developed minds:

1. They don’t feel sorry for themselves (not for too long, anyhow. You need to keep working even when you feel defeated. Giving in to despair will make despair stronger.)

2. They don’t expect immediate results (also known as making sacrifices in the present to build a better future, or ‘deferring gratification.’ Successful people see mistakes as learning opportunities.)

3. They don’t resent other people’s success. (In fact, they are more likely to ask successful people how they did it and then apply those tips to their own lives. (Di Benedetto) (Bradberry, 2017)

If you want to get really serious about this, you might find the following video amusing- and inspiring. It is a commencement speech by an ‘old sailor’ Navy Admiral William H McRaven to students at the University of Texas. If nothing else, his description of Navy seal training might make your lot seem a little easier! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K13p1DlsDMQ

References

Australian Department of Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from Head to Health:

https://headtohealth.gov.au/

Di Benedetto, C. (n.d.). 3 Key habits of mentally strong people and how to master them. Retrieved from health.com:

https://www.health.com/mind-body/3-key-habits-of-mentally-strong-people

Queensland government . (n.d.). Mental Health and Wellbeing . Retrieved from Health and Wellbeing :

https://www.qld.gov.au/health/mental-health

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