The Do’s and Don’ts of Mental Hygiene: 5 Clear Steps to a Squeaky Clean Psyche

Buddhists have been practicing mental hygiene for millennia. The rest of us? Pretty darn smelly... Here are 5 clear steps to a squeaky clean psyche...

Mental hygiene is a practice that is still exceptionally new to most of the world. While Buddhists have been at it for time out of mind (pun intended) the rest of us take meticulous care of our physical hygiene, yet neglect our minds to the point of misery, depression and general negativity in many cases. Yet the fact remains that our minds are muscles, and must be exercised accordingly.

In order to become a mentally strong person, there are a couple of obstacles that need to be overcome. Keeping the mind clear of trivial things that slowly, yet thoroughly, nibble away at one’s stability, is one of the key factors in maintaining a calm, healthy and long life.

Suppressed mental issues can have a tendency to turn psychosomatic and negatively influence one as a physical entity. Alternatively, clear, concise thoughts aid in keeping a person healthy.

Here are 5 clear steps to a squeaky clean psyche.

1) Learn to Take Things You Cannot Influence for Granted

Usually, taking things for granted can have a relatively negative connotation. However, learning to simply turn a blind eye to trivial things which you don’t have the time to currently deal with can help you remain in a proper headspace for taking care of the more immediate, important tasks that require your full attention.

Prying, nagging, negative thoughts about the many little things that need doing are not going to help you, but only cause clutter, making them harder to achieve and, most-likely, not get done very well.

Often, however, these thoughts persist regardless of whether you want them there or not. One of the best things that you can do in this case is to simply not give them any weight. That is, let them show up, but notice how they’re affecting your emotional state and choose to pull back from them a bit. Take them for granted. Realize they’re not as important or pressing as they’d like you to think they are.

Why? Because if they were, you’d actually be doing something about them. Training your mind to put these white-noise-like thoughts on the back-burner is totally possible. How? Constant practice.

2) Practice Positive Affirmation

Encouraging and reassuring yourself out loud is not a thing you should refrain from (just don’t overdo it, there’s a thin line between keeping your mind clear and appearing insane).

Keep telling yourself “You can do it” or “This isn’t as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be” when engaging difficult situations to maintain a healthy relationship with your own mind, which is, of course, the most crucial relationship of all in achieving mental stability.

Be sure not to skip this step simply because the idea sounds silly to you – after a while, your subconscious self will learn to do this automatically and boost your mind-healing abilities.

3) Realize That Grudges Keep You Stuck

Constantly visualizing things people did or said that you consider immoral or plainly “bad” can have a hugely negative impact on your mental health. Remembering old wrongs is not only a sure way of fretting over the unnecessary, but will also display you as a grumpy person in your peers’ eyes.

Instead, immediately stop and think of a pleasant and positive thing the person in question did. If you can think of none, maybe you should reevaluate the reasons you are around that person in the first place — or if you no longer are, take comfort in the fact that you made the right choice and now… let it go.

If there’s simply no way to avoid this spiteful individual (bosses, teachers, superiors), refer to point one.

4) Take a Course or Volunteer

Even though this might sound off-putting and ridiculous, I assure you this is not the case. There’s a ton of great courses where one can learn to help themselves and others, thus increasing the happiness in their life. Think critically, of course, but take the advice of these experts that makes sense so that you can dedicate yourself to becoming a better person. 

If courses aren’t your thing, offer your services in a different way: volunteer. Until you’ve given back a little — with no other motive than to genuinely improve the lives of your fellow human beings, however minutely — you don’t know the true meaning of happiness.  

5) Accept Yourself as You Are

This might just be the most important part of attaining good mental hygiene. Learn to overcome your flaws or things you might not like about yourself. Teach your subconscious (the part of our psyches that runs the show approx. 95% of the time) to see things from another person’s perspective.

It might be the case that you’d prefer curly locks over that straight hair of yours, but be sure that some people would kill for not having to constantly wrestle with the hairbrush every morning.

Maybe you’d rather that you worked better under pressure, but someone out there can’t stand the fact that they have to keep busy, while being relaxed is simply a breeze for you.

Appreciate yourself and your situation as they are and you’ll start feeling more satisfied in no time.

These are just a few of the steps involved in good mental hygiene. There’s no reason to add to the stress of modern life, so why allow yourself to be even more victimized by additional, useless thoughts? Always remember, mind over matter!

About The Author

Nate M. Vickery is a business consultant from Sydney, Australia. He’s been strolling through life with positive energy in his heart and mind and that’s working out for him great so far. Aside from work he enjoys spending time with his fiancée and his family.