What if We Treated Our Mental Health Like We Treat Our Dental Health?

How often do you brush your teeth?

For most of us, it’s twice daily. We brush, floss and use breath freshener to do what we can to keep our teeth as healthy as we can. And why do we do this? Because our teeth are important and taking care of them is part taking care of our  health.

Mental health is not about being in balance or having a relaxing day. It is mostly about paying attention

If you don’t take care of your teeth you will end up significant levels of both physical and financial pain.

An article by Forbes recently asked the question, “What if we treated our mental health like we treat our dental health?” If we were to substitute the word “dental” for “mental,” it can put our mental health, and our recovery, into perspective.

Just like dental health, mental health requires daily attention

Most times, our mental health does not require major amounts of time.

  • One key to our mental health is to take a moment to be present, pay attention to our mind, our emotions.

Paying attention to our thoughts, our emotions is important. But what happens through out our day is also important.

  • Our dental health requires that we invest time brushing and flossing. But we also need to think a little bigger: How we eat, the amount of sugars we consume and how acidic our foods may be (if we drink coffee, pop, or juices) will effect the health of our teeth.
  • Our mental health is no different. If we have conflict at work, or with our spouse or children; or if whether or not we exercise; or how we eat that day; or if we have another day where we are too busy to even take a short break… these experiences may not feel like they are major incidents, but they can create a silent drain on our mental health and overall well-being.

Mental health is not about being in balance or having a relaxing day. It is mostly about paying attention.

Paying attention looks a lot like learning ways that we can become more supportive to ourselves (self-kindness), recognizing the emotional toll that stress and change can have on us, and noticing our physical reactions – because our bodies are often a way that we can literally ‘sense’ that we need something or need to pay attention.

Mental health, like dental health, is about making connections with other people.

Dental health can improve our smile and even our confidence. Attention to our mental health will no doubt do the same. But even more importantly, attention to our mental health can change how we connect with our family and those we care about. And our relationships are like vitamins for our mental health.

“Imagine if we treated mental health with the same priority and importance as dental health. No taboo, no nonsense, just looking after our minds twice a day with regular check-ups on top of that. Would we be in a different situation with mental health? Would antidepressants prescriptions reduce? Would we all be happier, wiser, more prosperous?” Jodie Cook

I invite you to read some of my related work, “6 Activities that are Like Vitamins for Your Mind.”

I invite you to sign up for my blog by clicking “Follow Getting High on Recovery.” When you enter your email, you will be able to access the articles in my blog at no cost. I do not send spam or share your email with anyone.

What I ask in return is that you comment on articles that connect with you and please share my work. And please take a moment to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.

Keep it Real

Photo by Hannah Gibbs on Unsplash

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