Mental health: mental nutrition and exercise - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-14-2012, 04:29 PM
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Everybody knows physical health can be improved and maintained through proper nutrition and exercise. However, with mental health we tend to focus more on diseases and medication. While physical health issues can be prevented through diet and exercise, mental health issues somehow just happen to us out of the blue.

So I started this thread to celebrate the healthy mind and preventive measures such as positive thinking, healthy attitudes, and proper "mental nutrition and exercise".

The other day I watched a TV program where they interviewed some retired guy down in Texas (I think?) who had built his own sculpture park out in the desert from glass bottles. (He made "bottle trees" etc.) It was very pretty and impressive. None of it was for sale - he did it all just because he liked doing what he was doing, and he refused to sell anything even when offered buckets of cash. Anyway, I was struck by something he said. He said one day he decided he wouldn't bother with negative thoughts any more. From that moment on it was like a mental windshield wiper working continuously in his mind to remove any negative thoughts, and he'd never felt better.

What do you do (if anything) to avoid ending up as a raving lunatic? For example, are there things you try to avoid, such as disturbing TV images, violence in movies, pornography, certain types of music, certain newspapers? And the other way around, are there things/activities you think have a positive effect on mental health? Or do you think none of this is important?

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#2 Old 03-14-2012, 04:35 PM
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My main thing is avoiding certain people. I find some people to just have toxic attitudes on life and engaging with them as little as possible makes me a happier person.
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#3 Old 03-14-2012, 04:53 PM
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Oh I think it is important. I avoid all types of news, images and stories of animal cruelty and suffering (I admire and am grateful for people who can witness this and document it, but one glimpse makes me suicidal ), pornography (note: anti-porn doesn't equal anti-sex, for those who don't get it), traffic jams, anything involving huge crowds, popular sporting events, certain kinds of really hateful music, I am sure I could think of lots more.

I find I have an extreme need to be surrounded by beauty. I am skilled at both the design and implementation stages of interior design, and while many people tell me I ought to do it professionally, I am only interested in doing it for myself, so I can live in the beautiful surroundings I need. I am also skilled at landscape design and gardening, for the same reasons. I also like to photograph things I find beautiful. I used to paint and draw, and I am finding I want to take them up again.

Where I live now, in the mountains, the sky is crystal clear, and I like to skywatch, especially when something interesting is going to happen, like eclipses of the moon and meteor showers. It's just me and the sky, for however long I feel like lying out there, and there is something simple yet profound about it.

I do need to work on getting better at dispelling negative thoughts though. I am making slow progress, and I have lately been seeking out more blogs and websites that focus on things like building self esteem, finding fulfillment, and being happy. It's very interesting, and I have so far found it beneficial. I think most of this tends toward emotional well being, rather than mental exercise. Mental exercise is good too, and I have read that people who use their minds are more likely to stave off Alzheimer's. Even doing a daily crossword puzzle can do this, but I have been getting an urge to study Egyptian hieroglyphs lately, for some odd reason.

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#4 Old 03-14-2012, 06:13 PM
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I do have to avoid paying attention to the news sometimes as it is mostly negative and I don't watch films that have a very heavy subject matter/ tearjerkers as I find them too depressing. I watch horror films but nothing too graphic and I don't like to read about real life animal cruelty/ rape/ child abuse too much as it enrages me and makes me feel helpless.

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Where I live now, in the mountains, the sky is crystal clear, and I like to skywatch, especially when something interesting is going to happen, like eclipses of the moon and meteor showers. It's just me and the sky, for however long I feel like lying out there, and there is something simple yet profound about it.

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#5 Old 03-14-2012, 08:41 PM
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I am intrested into this , I'll come back , I am not feeling good at the moment, yes i am startin to avoid negative people espcially some so called judgemental Christians.
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#6 Old 03-15-2012, 02:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieB View Post

My main thing is avoiding certain people. I find some people to just have toxic attitudes on life and engaging with them as little as possible makes me a happier person.

A very good point! Many will agree with this, including writers such as Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, in "Always postpone meetings with time-wasting morons", and neoshamanist author Carlos Castaneda who describes certain people as (IIRC) "traps" and "energy thieves".

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#7 Old 03-15-2012, 05:25 AM
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My mental health strategies definitely include avoiding toxic people and an overload of bad or worthless (celebrity gossip) news. But I also exercise, meditate, eat well, paint and volunteer. I live with considerable stress because of Kelly and Eric's health issues, but we have all learned to celebrate the times when things are good - as they have been for quite a while.

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#8 Old 03-15-2012, 06:03 AM
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Yes, exercise definitely helps me. I don't avoid the news because I think it's important to know what is going on in the world, but I agree with Beth on the avoiding celebrity/worthless news.

I also read quite often to keep my brain "sharp". Being back in school and doing research helps with that too.
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#9 Old 03-15-2012, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomebodyElse View Post

Oh I think it is important. I avoid all types of news, images and stories of animal cruelty and suffering (I admire and am grateful for people who can witness this and document it, but one glimpse makes me suicidal ), pornography (note: anti-porn doesn't equal anti-sex, for those who don't get it), traffic jams, anything involving huge crowds, popular sporting events, certain kinds of really hateful music, I am sure I could think of lots more.

Good points! I find that huge crowds of spectators at certain sporting events such as football (soccer) sometimes behaves in ways that reminds me of the crowds cheering for totalitarian dictators. It's a total surrender of the independence of the self to the collective thinking of "your" group/team against the other group/team. It's easy to see how this boils over into hooliganism, and hooliganism and fascism are two sides to the same coin. So definitely something I would be unconfortable participating in.

Quote:
I find I have an extreme need to be surrounded by beauty. I am skilled at both the design and implementation stages of interior design, and while many people tell me I ought to do it professionally, I am only interested in doing it for myself, so I can live in the beautiful surroundings I need. I am also skilled at landscape design and gardening, for the same reasons. I also like to photograph things I find beautiful. I used to paint and draw, and I am finding I want to take them up again.

Where I live now, in the mountains, the sky is crystal clear, and I like to skywatch, especially when something interesting is going to happen, like eclipses of the moon and meteor showers. It's just me and the sky, for however long I feel like lying out there, and there is something simple yet profound about it.

Ah yes, all good things! It sounds like you have found a very nice place to live. I just realised how much I appreciate beauty myself, and how much I miss that where I live now. Hopefully one day I'll be able to return to a place with more natural beauty.

Quote:
I do need to work on getting better at dispelling negative thoughts though. I am making slow progress, and I have lately been seeking out more blogs and websites that focus on things like building self esteem, finding fulfillment, and being happy. It's very interesting, and I have so far found it beneficial. I think most of this tends toward emotional well being, rather than mental exercise. Mental exercise is good too, and I have read that people who use their minds are more likely to stave off Alzheimer's. Even doing a daily crossword puzzle can do this, but I have been getting an urge to study Egyptian hieroglyphs lately, for some odd reason.

That sounds intriguing. I wish I had more time for that sort of thing, but hopefully it's something I can look more into in the future. And yes, I guess when I said "mental exercise" I was thinking more about ways of thinking that would lead to a healthy mind and happiness rather than exercises to stay sharp, but I definitely think there is a bit of overlap between the two.

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#10 Old 03-15-2012, 11:26 AM
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I can't remember ever getting back from a good bike ride and not feeling happier. Fresh air, exercise, time to think, and knowing I have done my body good is all just wonderful. I also eat healthier when I have done exercise, so that makes me feel good too.
Spending time with family always works. (plus as already has been said, avoiding certain people.
Getting work done is great, but I find that the most difficult.
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#11 Old 03-15-2012, 08:58 PM
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I do yoga and meditate or I'd be a complete wreck! I also avoid alcohol, sugar, and my brother-in-law (toxic).
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#12 Old 03-15-2012, 10:55 PM
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You guys might be interested in this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindful...8psychology%29

“May all sentient beings be free of pain and suffering.  May all sentient beings experience eternal joy and happiness.  gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.”
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#13 Old 03-16-2012, 09:12 AM
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Veg diets have been found to improve mood and overall mental health: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobile...n_1335664.html
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#14 Old 03-16-2012, 03:07 PM
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I go for a hike in the woods or do yoga. It helps me relax and live in the present.
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#15 Old 03-17-2012, 06:53 PM
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I walk. A lot. And I do it outside. I hate the treadmill.

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#16 Old 03-19-2012, 01:20 PM
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My big thing is reading. Watching TV or playing video games might be relaxing but they don't make me feel nearly as calm and serene as reading a book. Plus I've recently acquired The Greatest Reading Chair in the World (TM), which is extremely old and covered in dog hair but nonetheless the most comfortable spot in recorded history.
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#17 Old 03-19-2012, 08:25 PM
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Well... as an agnostic, the idea of viewing the mind as a physical process as opposed to some mysterious phenomenon that just magically happens inside my head is nothing new. I mean thinking hard actually burns calories and makes you tired because it does in fact require effort, just as any other form of physical exertion does. So I don't think it's a stretch to say that having a healthy body in general is likely to affect the efficiency with which your mind operates. It is also widely accepted that frequently exercising your mind through critical thinking has a similar effect on various brain functions as traditional physical exercise does on the rest of your body. It is also known that being well nourished improves cognitive function. Try taking a hard test on an empty stomach or while tired or physically exhausted.

I'm a foreign language fanatic, and many of the same things that affect my workouts (either positively or negatively) also affect my ability to memorize vocabulary and understand new grammatical concepts.

"I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine." Bruce Lee.

"On a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero." Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)

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