Independence is a skill that not everyone is born with. Of course, everyone must become somewhat independent

Of course, everyone must become somewhat independent as they grow up towards adulthood, but it’s far easier for some people to embrace their independence than others. Avoiding independence as an adult creates problems in many different areas of your life, especially as you enter business and romantic relationships. Learning to be your own strongest supporter is essential to success in any area of your life.

It can be difficult for some people to realize that they, themselves, are responsible for any and all occurrences in their life. The choices you make structure your life. Your decisions build your direction. Being realistic about this is healthy and necessary. If you know you can rely on, and take total care of yourself, you can accomplish anything.

Learning to stand on our own two feet isn’t stating that dependence is unattractive or undesirable. It is healthy to be able to trust others. What you don’t want to do is place your potential for happiness in someone else’s hands, or under someone else’s control. You want to form your own opinions about who you are, not rely on someone else’s treatment of you to tell you whether you are a good person. That is called codependence and it is an unhealthy relationship state that plagues many adults today.

When you become overly dependent on someone, or codependent, you become a burden. There are some personality types that may enjoy having a codependent relationship – but these are not healthy personalities, and they do not result in healthy relationships.

You must learn to trust your own judgment, make your own decisions, and not second guess yourself. There is a great strength in being able to decide for yourself and not have to rely on anyone else for validation of the decisions you make. When you do this, you build healthy self-esteem, you become a stronger person, and you become the type of person that others look up to.

One of the healthiest things you can do is learn to be by yourself and enjoy your own company. Don’t be afraid to go to a restaurant, art gallery, or movie alone. Don’t be afraid to go anywhere alone! Learn to appreciate being by yourself, even if you’re surrounded by people. Take walks alone. Go to the park alone and read a book. Go to the beach alone and listen to the waves. Learn to make your own life an adventure, independent of anyone else.

Flex Your Mental Muscles

You know you can flex your muscles to make a difference in your body’s fitness, but did you know that you can exercise your mental muscles and gain a better memory and more brainpower?

When you flex your mental muscles, the brain creates neuro-pathways to the brain. Some exercises and activities can effectively work the brain in five main cognitive area functions. If you can perform these exercises daily, you can train your mind to become fit and active and your memory recall will increase.

The brain contains the following areas of cognitive recognition:

1.                   Language – This part of our brains is devoted to remembering, understanding and being able to identify words. You can challenge this area of your brain by practicing new languages, increasing your grammatical skills and increasing your vocabulary.

2.                   Attention Span – It’s difficult to focus on something if you’re a multi-tasker. Noises and other distractions can also inhibit your ability to focus your attention. You can help your attention span part of your brain by changing the way you do things. Changing your route to work or any type of routine can awaken your brain and help it pay attention when needed.

3.                   Memories – As we age, the memory area of your brain can deteriorate. Sometimes, that’s because of dementia or Alzheimer’s, but most often we simply need to increase our cognitive activities. That includes mental calculations, reasoning powers and reading to remember. Games you play such as crossword puzzles can boost a chemical in your brain called “acetylcholine” which boosts your brain memory skills.

4.                   Executive Function – The part of your brain known as the executive function performs the tasks of helping your logic and reasoning powers. Executive functioning helps you develop strategies to reach goals and other major decisions in your life. Video games are great stimulation for this area of your brain and social interaction can also help.

5.                   Visual-Spatial Skills – Since we live in a three-dimensional world, filled with color and visuals, we must be able to analyze them in order to function without our various environments. Visual-spatial skills are developed by observing what you see in front of your eyes and within your peripheral vision. To develop these skills, look at a picture, turn it over and then write down every object you saw in the picture. It’s a good exercise to help you focus on what’s around you.

Just as you would exercise all your body muscle to gain overall fitness – so you need to stimulate these five areas of the brain to remain mentally sharp and active as you age.

Nine Habit Affecting Mental Health

These nine habits can cause problems that eventually affect your mental health. Being aware of them can help you check yourself regularly to ensure that you’re not experiencing negative mental health issues based on your bad habits.

1. You Have Bad Posture – You might not think of something as physical as this to cause problems with mental health. However, if you tend to slouch and sit wrongly, your mood might go with it – especially if you tend to experience pain from your bad posture. And if you don’t now, you will as you age.

2. You’re Prone to Perfectionism – Some people think “perfectionism” is a good quality to have but the truth is, having perfectionist tendencies is not a good thing. It can mean that you’re procrastinating more, or it may mean that you are fearful of your life, including both success and failure.

3. You Experience Guilt Easily – One of the worst emotions that you can allow yourself to have regularly is guilt. Most of the time, guilt is a useless emotion not based on real reasons to feel guilty. If you feel guilty regularly, you probably don’t feel loved or cared for, which can affect your mental health.

4. You Don’t Exercise Regularly – Being sedentary is one of the worst habits you can have. Some studies suggest it’s worse than smoking. That’s bad. If you sit more than four hours a day, you’ll need to incorporate intentional exercise to avoid problems. When you don’t move much, you may end up depressed.

5. You Have a Negative Mindset – If you’ve allowed yourself to develop the habit of always thinking negatively about things, it’s time to turn that around. Negative thinking leads to anxiety and depression and feelings of powerlessness.

6. You Use Social Media Too Much – Reading social media posts is a proven bad habit for your health, especially your mental health. The main reason is that people tend to share and post more negativity than positivity.

7. You Don’t Have Downtime from Screen Time – If you transition from your work computer to your home computer to your TV, that’s way too much screen time. The light emitted from screens can interfere with your circadian rhythms, causing insomnia and daytime sleepiness.

8. You Don’t Get Enough Sleep – If you have a habit of staying up late and not sleeping enough, you need to try to ensure that you do sleep between 7 to 10 hours a night. Everyone needs different amounts but if you’re always tired, it will affect your mental health and make it harder for you to deal with issues.

9. You Don’t Stay Hydrated – Drinking enough water and liquids each day is an important component in ensuring good health. Many people walk around dehydrated and don’t realize it. If you are not counting your water and you feel tired, double check because it may be the water. When you feel tired, it can affect your mental health and make you foggy and unable to make good decisions.

These bad habits can lead to poor mental health due to the fact you’re not going to be operating at the top of your game. If you want to ensure your mental health remains as good as possible, try to reverse these bad habits.

5 Best Brain Exercises

It’s important that you regularly exercise your brain to keep the neural pathways open and your memory sharp. The neural pathways are the parts of your brain which helps you recall information, solve problems and perform tasks that you’ve experienced in the past.

When you exercise your brain, you’re stimulating the pathways, so they’ll stay vital and active. To accomplish the exercises your brain needs, you need to change your routine occasionally and learn and develop new skills.

Mnemonic devices are some of the best ways to keep your brain stimulated and active. Here are five of the best mnemonic exercises for your brain:

1.                   Acrostics – Acrostics involve making up a sentence where the first or last letter of each word represents the items you want to remember. One popular acrostic is, “E, G, B, D, F” – for “Every Good Boy Does Fine,” to remember the lines of the treble clef in music.

2.                   Visual – Like taking a picture with your mind. Make them colorful and three-dimensional to make the recall easier. For example, to remember who president was when the first Atomic bomb was detonated, you could picture Harry Truman in front of a huge mushroom cloud.

3.                   Chunking – This method is great for breaking up a long string of numbers into chunks that are more easily remembered. For example, telephone numbers are better remembered than a driver’s license number because they’re broken down into three chunks.

4.                   Acronyms – These are words formed by taking the first letters of the items you want to remember and creating a new word from them. For example, to remember a grocery list containing “Laundry detergent, Olives, Diapers and Eggs,” you’d form the word “L-O-D-E.”

5.                   Rhymes – Use rhymes you remember from school days or make them up yourself. You may have remembered the rhyme, “Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen-hundred, ninety-two,” to remember when the explorer began his fateful trip to the New World.

All the above methods are great ways to keep your brain in shape and to ward off such memory problems as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind that the more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and recall information.

Challenge yourself in different ways. Learn a new skill, language or sport. And, any exercise which requires you to use your hands can also exercise your brain. Take up a musical instrument or some type of needlework to work out the hand-eye coordination area of your brain.

Most of all — be mindful rather than mindless. Get off the couch and try something new.

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