15 minutes of mental hygiene can change your whole day

You should brush your teeth twice a day to prevent plaque build-up, and see your dentist regularly to ensure your teeth are healthy. Dental hygiene is important.

Do you practice mental hygiene regularly?

Every person can benefit from taking about 15 minutes each morning to take care of their mental health. This is whether they have an issue to address or just want to feel better during the day.

Before you need a root canal, brushing your teeth is the mental health equivalent

The stress hormone cortisol is lowered as part of hygiene. The benefits of a daily intentional stress relief practice are not limited to feeling better today – studies indicate they may also benefit your health later in life.

The research from 2020 shows that elevated cortisol levels can cause physical problems. An older person’s emotional regulation improves health resilience according to a study published in 2016.

A mental health hygiene method has been developed by Sawyer. You can incorporate it into your life by understanding why it should be a part of your routine.

15 minutes are available for you

You may consider carving out 15 minutes for relaxation in your busy morning as just another step on your to-do list if you are stressed out and overwhelmed. According to Sawyer, adding that item to the list will make it easier to move through the rest of it. 

He stated that it wasn’t about having no time, rather that he had time for many things. It takes less energy and juice for our mental health to practice mindfulness throughout the day if we can do it every day.

Taking time at the start of the day to reset your mental space will help you avoid overloading your system with stressors for the rest of the day.

As Sawyer noted, stress sets the tone for the rest of the day if you start it stressed. You can refer to a calm reference point when you start with a clear, relaxed mind.

Sawyer said that practising mental hygiene is like cleaning your mirror and observing yourself in it. When you see what is and is not you, you know what you are.

When you have that awareness of what a relaxed baseline is and what makes you go away from that, you can have compassion for yourself and others who may also be anxious or upset, he explained.

The things we do every day are what Sawyer calls ‘practising happiness’. Consequently, this can make us more confident when we are faced with stressful situations in life since we are fuelling ourselves well.”

Here are some tips for incorporating it into your daily routine.

Try various activities

To improve your mental health hygiene, Sawyer said, you should experiment with different activities that lower cortisol and bring calm.

He added, “It’s just about being aware and treating that inner space with care.”

Spend 15 minutes every day intentionally focusing on your inner wellbeing and slowing down. The things you do during that time can be ones you do daily and make more relaxing, Sawyer said — like taking a few deep breaths while drinking your morning coffee or listening to music instead of talking radio while commuting.

Changing things up could also help, including sitting out in the fresh air, taking a walk or stretching, he said.

Until you find something that works for you, keep trying new things until you find one that suits you — and doesn’t give up if it takes some time to see results.

Track how it makes you feel

A journal is a vital part of the experiment, Sawyer said.

You can learn what kind of things are right for you by keeping track of how you feel after completing an activity in your 15 minutes.

Have you remained calm throughout the day? More energetic? Are you handling stress better? Although it’s possible to cultivate a baseline feeling that helps you feel better as you go about your day, you should aim to cultivate a feeling that makes you feel more positive.

When you don’t immediately see the results you were hoping for in your practice, journaling can help you keep a positive attitude, he said.

“You just stumble across those things as you try things intuitively, Sawyer explained. “If they don’t work, then just write them down,” he continued.

Be aware of what you need at different points in time

Sawyer said no single action will always be successful. Knowing what you need in different situations can make a big difference.

On a day with many meetings, Sawyer said, “I may need to be a little more buoyant. If I have a lot of writing to do, I may have to be more laser-focused. 

He suggested ending your 15 minutes on one day with an espresso shot or doing a concentration meditation on the following day.

Over the day, add as necessary

Eventually, those 15 minutes in the morning will seem much less tedious. As the day carries on, you might find yourself checking in on your mental health more frequently.

Sawyer recommended adding in some low-impact activity three days a week, like walking, biking, or yoga, at any time that felt comfortable. 

Taking time to decompress at the end of the day, turning off work notifications, stepping away from screens, and turning off email notifications are some other things he says are helpful. 

It is then a matter of mastering how well we use that tool or set of tools once we discover it for ourselves,” Sawyer said.

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