What’s Your Habit?

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

How often do you brush your teeth? If you want to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy hopefully you aim to brush twice a day. How long do you need to maintain that practice? My dentist told me I only need to do that as long as I want to keep my teeth and have a healthy mouth and gums.

How often do you make nutritious food choices? Do you make these kinds of  choices only while you are on your weight reduction program? Perhaps that isn’t the best example since too many people make crazy and unhealthy choices when they are trying to trim down. When following the best advice about developing, improving and maintaining good, strong and healthy bodies, we’re told to choose good, healthy and nourishing foods every time we eat. . . for our lifetime.

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How often do you follow an exercise program? Do you practice yoga once every six weeks and consider that the best practice for your body? Do you go to the gym once a week hoping you can maintain some level of being in good shape with this level of commitment? There are some who are able to develop a routine, habit and practice of physical exercise that they maintain all of their lives. Still others of us get into a good habit, something disrupts and stops us, so we need to start again. The goal, however, is to find and maintain some kind of physical activity we enjoy, that benefits our bodies, and that we can do forever.

How often do you follow a Mental Health & Happiness practice? If you only think about and do something that supports your Mental Health & Happiness occasionally you will get limited results and benefits. Imagine only following an occasional routine for your oral, nutritional, or physical health. This too would result in limited results and benefits.

In order to develop, improve and maintain your Mental Health & Happiness you need to set your intention and develop a daily habit or practice. Doing something once while hoping for positive results is not a good habit or practice. Following a Mental Health & Happiness habit needs to be part of your daily routine and practice in order to get the positive results you want.

Since this habit is something you will do regularly, it is best to find the practice that you enjoy. You are more likely to follow this routine until it becomes an automatic habit if the routine is  pleasurable and enjoyable. After all, eating cod liver oil may be a practice that supports your health. But if you find it unpalatable, you won’t swallow it.

There is no difference when developing a Mental Health & Happiness habit. If your have valiantly tried to keep a journal, but just find the practice tedious and onerous there is no good reason to make that your practice or habit. You won’t do it.

For those of you who have signed up for the Mental Health & Happiness daily challenges, you have been offered many suggested strategies. When you signed up for this website, you also received a list of even more strategies you could try.

Why not make today the day you will set your intention to find the Mental Health & Happiness habit you enjoy and can commit to following daily. If you found one, but as sometimes happens have been slacking off in the follow-through recently, make today the day you pick up that practice again.

After all, developing, improving and maintaining Mental Health & Happiness is something you can choose to practice every day.

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