Updated: May 16
It would be very hard to argue that there is not a heavy push for physical health in today’s world. The latest diet, magazine advertisements, and celebrities or influencers posting their workout routines are all around us. We strive to have healthy bodies by being active and eating a well rounded diet, and we practice good hygiene by showering, brushing our teeth, and using products to make us look more presentable.
It’s common sense to understand how important a healthy body is to our life experience, but do we stop to consider that our minds need maintenance as well?
One might assume that mental hygiene might be referring to something like seeing a therapist. While this could be a really beneficial thing, it’s not quite what the term means. For example, consider physical hygiene: you brush your teeth twice a day to avoid cavities, not necessarily because you have a cavity. The whole point is to stop the problem before it starts. Typically one might see a therapist when they are really struggling, but mental hygiene is different because it is something that everyone can do regardless of whether they’re going through life’s highest highs or lowest lows.
As a new business owner, you might feel very vulnerable. It can be challenging not to get discouraged. Maybe it feels like things are piling up against you and you can’t catch a break. Lack of resources, time, and experience are all things that can put new entrepreneurs in a rut if they become too overwhelmed by them. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to clean out the cobwebs in your mind and create a habit of good mental hygiene.
So if therapy isn’t an accurate example of mental hygiene, what is? I like to emphasize three main practices of the mind when defining mental hygiene: a positive outlook, a focus of gratitude, and letting yourself feel your emotions.
Positivity is a powerful force. As a child, my mom would make me say three nice things about myself every time I mentioned an insecurity or was being hard on myself. This is a great practice that I still utilize years later! When you make a judgment, whether it’s about yourself or someone else, change your thoughts. Give yourself and others grace; it will make your situation feel much less gloomy! Another aspect of positive thinking is believing in yourself. When you believe in yourself you are willinging to be bold in your efforts and you end up reaping greater rewards.
Next is implementing an attitude of gratitude. When we create a conscious mindset of gratitude we are operating from a place of abundance instead of a place of scarcity. A scarcity mindset implements feelings of stress and anxiety because we feel that we should be better off than we are. When we focus on gratitude we are open to more possibilities and put ourselves in a position where we are more accepting of ourselves and others.
Finally, let yourself feel and process your emotions. When we keep our emotions bottled up we don’t get rid of them; instead they build up and become worse and more intense. Letting yourself feel your emotions usually isn’t pleasant, but we do unpleasant things to improve our physical health all the time, like waking up early for the gym or cutting junk food out of our diets. We can be willing to make sacrifices like this for our mental health as well. Something to keep in mind is that letting yourself feel your emotions doesn’t mean you linger on them. Process them and move forward.
Keep up on your mental hygiene and watch your business take off!