Mental hygiene is a way to improve long term mental health. Like other mindfulness practices, it helps change the baseline of your brain function. By practicing regularly, we can adjust the patterns of our thoughts and emotional responses.
Mental hygiene is defined as everything you do to promote and preserve your mental health. Like physical hygiene, it recognizes that there is a physical reality of health that requires attention and maintenance. The starting point, then, is to recognize that mental health is important, and that hygiene to support your mental health is possible.
The first step of mental hygiene is developing awareness. This is a form of mindfulness practice, where we regularly take time to pause and notice our mental state. What kind of thoughts are we having right now? How does our body feel when we think these kinds of thoughts? Is there a pattern to what kinds of thoughts we have in certain situations? The more we notice what we are thinking, the more empowered we are to support healthy practices.
The second step of mental hygiene is learning skills to support our mental health. Counselors are rich resources for learning mental health skills. As we practice mindfulness and notice the patterns in our mental health, we can begin to apply our skills. This helps us shift old, less helpful patterns toward practices that better support and maintain health.
Mental hygiene is a form of mindfulness practice. It is a way to turn our attention to the state of our thoughts and feelings in a way that empowers us to adapt them as needed. Over time, these practices help us establish more robust mental health.