10 Habits to Keep Your Brain Healthy

The same focus and dedication that we spend on our physical health should also extend to our mental well-being.

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The BBC headline reads, “The World is Angry and Stressed.” According to a new Gallup global survey that offers a glimpse into the world’s emotional state, stress, worry, sadness and anger are reaching all-time highs. As Mental Health Awareness Month kicks off, there is no better time to bring conversations about mental wellness into the mainstream. We spend time, energy, and money on our physical health and that same focus, dedication, and investment should also extend to our mental wellness.

An important step forward is focusing upstream on the proactive habits that we can adopt to keep our brains healthy. I came across this list, 10 Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health, adapted by the University of Michigan Health Services group, which offers excellent suggestions that I find helpful in my own wellness journey.

1.      Value yourself: Take time to practice self-care, treat yourself with kindness and make time for your passions and things you love. For me, that’s putting boundaries around my family time, logging my daily steps and for the last month, 10 minutes of mindfulness practice each morning.

2.     Take care of your body: The link between mental wellness and physical wellness is undeniable, and without either, overall good health is impossible. Prioritizing nutrition, sleep, and fitness help keep our brains healthy.

3.     Surround yourself with good people: People with strong family and social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a supportive network. Have the courage to say goodbye to people who don’t help you be your best.

4.     Give yourself: Volunteer your time and talents to help others. It’s true that when we give of ourselves, it comes back to us tenfold. By lifting others up, we lift ourselves up.

5.     Learn how to deal with stress: This is a daily challenge, but practicing coping strategies like these one-minute stress strategies and Microsteps compiled by Thrive Global can be very beneficial. 

6.     Quiet your mind: Mindfulness, meditation, and tapping into your spirituality can help bring a sense of focus and calm, while helping to foster a positive outlook. Check out Mindful, which contains excellent content created and curated by Rasmus Hougaard and his colleagues at The Potential Project.

7.     Set realistic goals: Map out what you would like to achieve personally and professionally, aiming high but setting realistic goals. Making progress toward goals offers a tremendous sense of achievement and self-worth.

8.     Break up the monotony:  While routines help us be more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, sometimes a small change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule and offer a new perspective or source of enjoyment.   

9.     Drink sensibly: Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to “self-medicate,” but in reality, alcohol and other drugs only aggravate problems. Several years ago I decided to not drink any alcohol during the week. It helps me keep my mind clear.

10.  Ask for help when you need it: As one of Accenture’s former CEO’s Bill Green often said, “Asking for help is a sign of strength — not weakness.” In the U.S., these resources can help. Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727). National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Creating an environment at Accenture where people can practice healthy habits and ask for what they need to be their best both professionally and personally is the essence of what it means to be truly human. I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken to bring the topic of mental wellness and health at work into the mainstream and look forward to doing even more to expand our focus on proactive and preventive habits that help strengthen and sustain mental wellness. #4MIND4BODY

This article originally appeared on Linkedin.com

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