5 steps to mental well-being

Life ·

I’ve once read that¬ brain can be trained. Don’t picture maths competitions or rocket science, I’m not talking about anything like that. Brain can be trained to be happy.
At least that’s what some scientist claim, after having tried their methods on a number of people.
The point is: what do you believe? Do you think we’re made up of our experience? Do you think the environment we grow up into can radically change who we are, or who we could be? How about relationships and love: can meeting the right or the wrong people affect the way we behave and feel?
And will, does it play any role in all of this? In order to be happy, do we really have to decide it?
Having suffered of anxiety and depression, EDs and more (and more, and more…), I questioned myself a lot about the matter. Mental well-being is something more than just knowing, remembering things and being smart. It’s about keeping mentally ‘fit’: it’s a training with the purpose of fullfilling our capacities and overcoming our worst thoughts. To be 100% us and to be somehow in control of our mind.
I know, I know: lately, you’ve read a lot about mindfulness and positive thinking, the stuff is the latest trend and, being so, if on one side it’s more appealing on the other can be perceived as less authentic.
But here I am, from my humble point of view, telling you what has worked for me. What really keeps my mind fit and active, positive and active – most of the times. I hope it can work for you too.

1. Exercise – As strange as it may sound, there’s a strong bond between exercise and feeling mentally active and positive. Exercise has been a prescription for me, and I’m not joking. When I was at my lowest, I was recommended to work out every single day. Moving releases endorphines. Endorphines are the hormones of happiness. Happiness pushes you forward. Makes you want to do things. Picture the feeling of accomplishment and joy when you finish you super hard workout or your 10km run. Doesn’t you feel amazing? See: it’s a feeling. It starts from your body but it’s in your mind. AND it keeps you fit. Can you really ask for more?

2. Reading – I am a writer, therefore I love reading. Through reading I escape, I learn, I think. It’s like training my brain to travel, to explore and to make connections. And to me it’s the best way to escape some of ‘those days’ when everything seems to hard or too dull. Together with other few things, books are my wonderland.

3. Committ to learn something new – whether it’s a sport, a language or simply a recipe, the act of learning itself is something extremely powerful. It’s like coming back to childhood and get that feeling of having endless chances in front of me. It’s like believing in myself again. Lately, I downloaded a Japanese language App. I’ve always loved Japan, and the moment I started to learn the first easy words I felt overwhelmed with happiness. It’s like I was telling to my brain: yes, here’s the proof, you really can do whatever you want.

4. Be social – as an introverted person, that’s the most challenging thing of all, but I do it. As every shy person, when I try hard I become my opposite: cheeky and almost fearless. Then I just force myself to be more extrovert because I know that: the moment I overcome my loneliness and find myself surrounded by friends, that’s when I truly feel happy. It’s like diving: you have to brave enough to jump, the rest is just fun.

5. Choose happiness – How obvious is that? I know, I know. But it’s also the truth. It’s our attitude that creates our mood. It’s our mood that’s able to turn the gloomiest day into a joyful one. If you are healthy and here, you live in a Country that respects your rights and allow you to be free and you have enough food to survive, there’s no reason in the world why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy this day. This very moment. I once risked my life in a car vs train accident. Everytime I feel really, really down I try to think about that, and everything comes back in perspective. I can stand on my own legs. I can go wherever I want. I can speak, laugh, dance, travel. What more can I ask for?

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