Mental health checklist

mental health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices (from MentalHealth.gov). Below are my personal, quirky hacks for how I work to improve my mental health, clarity, and my focus. These work for me, but mileage may vary. Hopefully you get some benefit. Note: this page will evolve regularly.


Let’s begin:


Meditate daily. For some reason, meditation spooks a lot of people, or they think they don’t have time to do it. The fact is, when one believes they don’t have time to meditate, that means they need meditation all the more. It’s not as hard as one thinks. It’s often called a meditation practice, because you do need to practice. Everyone does it differently. But the act itself is actually good for you, and exercising the discipline of trying meditation is good for you in and of itself. For me, meditation calms the mind and slows things down; very necessary in today’s fast-paced world. Five to ten minutes per day is all you need, longer as desired. Fact: your mind will wander during your practice. This is ok, and expected. Acknowledge it, and go again. But listen to where your mind wanders, for that is actually worth paying attention to. How to do it? Just count your breaths to ten and then start over. Or, just sit quietly and listen to and acknowledge the sounds around you (cars going by, dogs barking, A/C turning on or off). Or repeat a mantra over and over (“I’m grateful for my health, my family, and for peace and quiet”). Or finally, sit quietly and acknowledge your body (itches on your head, your fanny touching the chair, your hands resting on your knees, your feet touching the floor)…repeat going up and down your body. For any of these, when your mind wanders, and it will, acknowledge it, and simply begin again. Strange things will pop into your head. This is normal, you’re human. The great thing about it is you are finally listening…


Read a bit of philosophy every day. What is philosophy? Well, according to the FSU Department of Philosophy, it is an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other. There are countless books on the subject, from the Ancient Greeks, to the Stoics, to the modern day, written from all walks of life. There is something for everyone. You can visit our resources page to see my daily philosophy list.


Quit drinking alcohol. I quit drinking in July, 2020, and Stephanie quit drinking in June, 2021. This move has changed our lives, in so many ways. To name two, quitting drinking has dramatically improved my sleep, which has obviously had a profound impact on both my physical well-being and mental focus. Secondly, quitting has significantly reduced my stress. Sadly, most people think consuming booze will help reduce stress, “help take that edge off.” Unfortunately, they are very wrong. Consuming alcohol significantly exacerbates your anxiety.


Only worry about things you can actually control. In my view, the best piece of Stoic philosophy to apply to your life. You can’t do a damn thing about what some blowhard in Washington D.C. says, so stop worrying about it.


“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

William James

Acknowledge that the only person responsible for your happiness is yourself. If you think someone else can deliver happiness, you will be mistaken and depressed.


You don’t need to build massive TO DO lists. Realizing that you’ll never complete the list will only result in stress, regret, and distraction. You have instincts…trust them. You know exactly what you should be doing next.


Stop reading the news. For Godsakes man, at least unsubscribe from email news alerts, and do not mistake “opinion” for news. News, which you can do absolutely nothing about, simply adds stress and distraction. If something is important enough, trust me, you’ll hear about it.


Realization that the journey is the true treasure…not the destination. And rarely will you actually achieve the big, bold wins, but contentment comes when you realize joy in the process of getting there.


Seek quiet. One really needs to learn how to do this for himself, for this looks differently for everyone. I love quiet in the morning: no loud television blaring distressing news coverage, not even music…just quiet. Time to be with myself and my thoughts. The solitude brings me calm and time to process the day ahead.


Slow down. If you are in a rush, you are doing it wrong.


1 Comment

  1. […] I think studying and attempting to understand various themes and styles of philosophy is good your mental health. Here are some of my thoughts on it. […]