I know more than just a couple of people who must take conscious care of their mental health. I have fought depression and anxiety since I was 10 years old. Yeah, diagnosed at 10. Since then, I’ve discovered some things that help. Not many, and not always enough, but a few:

  • Exercise regularly, particularly in the morning. And eat breakfast immediately (not more than 30 minutes) after waking up.
  • Eat good food, with plenty of vitamins. Add bananas and eggs to your diet.
  • See new places. Don’t spend any time in your bed or bedroom when you are not sleeping. Get outside every day, even if only for a few minutes.
  • Funnel as many different kinds of stimulation into as many different senses as you can. Open the curtains and let a lot of sunlight in. Fresh air, too, weather permitting.
  • Figure out activities to distract from excessive inner dialogue. Cut to commercial. You know how TV and radio hosts will just spontaneously cut a short break when something unexpected happens? You can do that, too.
  • Go to SLEEP at night, so you don’t hear the moon sighing. GO TO SLEEP.
  • Touch and get touched a lot – massages, head scratches, whatever.
  • Working with clay, the tactile manipulation is a great salve for the nerves.
  • Listen to the world, and smell things, and look at all the colors and textures, but also reserve a little time for pure quiet.
  • Be aware of your respiration. It’s really easy to hold or clip your breath unconsciously in times of stress, and that helps hardly anything.
  • Let people love you. Do anything you can to love them back.

I think we all have a responsibility to take conscious care of our mental health – diagnosed or not. Being a decent human being is a tough job a lot of the time.

– Jonathan Cohen