5 Ways to Boost Your Mental Health

Scientists tell us there are certain things we can do to improve our mental wellbeing. These techniques will help you feel more positive about yourself.

They teach you how to ride the lows and wait out the lows. Once you know that, nothing can stop you from getting what you want out of life.

Today, we’re going to share with you five ways to boost your mental health. Keep reading for more.

1. Connect With Others

Good relationships don’t need years to build. They can form in a matter of months, or weeks even. Plus, they don’t have to be an all-in, best-friends-for-life type of relationship.

Just talking to a neighbor or members of your church can have a great impact on your mental health. You learn to listen, empathize, and build a strong sense of self-worth and value.

Have you and a friend not seen each other in a while? Then, reach out and try to arrange a coffee date so you can get together and catch up.

How about your children or other family members? Why not try to set an hour during the day where you talk or play games?

We all know how social media has become an important part of our lives. And it’s made it easier to stay in touch with important people in our lives, especially if they live far away.

It’s good to text and chat on a regular basis. Just make sure technology isn’t replacing your face-to-face communications with people.

2. Learn New Skills

Learning a new skill or hobby can have a significant boost on your mental health. It’s an excellent way to meet new people and improve your self-esteem.

It’s nice to have a sense of purpose, other than your work. It gives you something to look forward to each day.

The problem, however, is many people complain they don’t have enough hours in the day. Luckily, though, technology has made learning more accessible.

Here are some of the ways you can use those high-tech gadgets you have to good use:

• Sign up for an online course, like learning a new language or a practical skill like programming

• Look for free video tutorials online to help you out with a DIY project

• If you enjoy cooking, find healthy recipes and learn how to make them

• Try a new hobby that challenges and entertains you, like painting, writing, or gardening

• Learn to play a new sport or physical activity

3. Pay More Attention

We’re all guilty of not paying attention to people and things going on around us. We’re always busy with work or scrolling through our social media feed.

Learning to focus all your senses on the present moment can improve your mental well-being. It also boosts your mood and lowers stress levels. Experts call this type of focus ‘mindfulness’.

When you practice mindfulness, you enjoy the little things in life. Things like watching a bird soar overhead or taking in the nuances of nature are just two small examples.

When you’re in tune with the small details, you feel more relaxed and at peace. Plus, you start to get a better understanding of what makes you happy or anxious, which is a healthy way to approach life’s challenges.

4. Get Physically Active

When you do any type of physical activity, you boost your physical fitness, as well as your mental wellness. It could be a short 15-minute walk, an hour of cycling each week, or 30 minutes at the gym. You pick the activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good.

Then, once you start noticing the difference, you start to feel good about your looks. That’s when your confidence will soar through the roof.

In addition, your brain signals the nervous central system to release ‘feel-good’ hormones known as endorphins. These wonder chemicals trigger a positive response, which boosts your mood. They also reduce feelings of pain and anxiety.

Check out the following tips on how to get moving to boost your mental health:

• Look online for free activities catered to your fitness level

• Find local centers where you can dance, swim, or cycle

• Try running with a ‘couch to 5K’ app or podcast

• If you have a chronic health condition or a disability, there are many exercise’s and physical activities that can be customized to meet your needs

5. Give to Others

According to research, acts of kindness and giving are great ways to improve your mental well-being. The reason is that when we help others, our brains trigger the release of another ‘feel-good’ hormone called oxytocin.

This chemical promotes feelings of empathy and trust. It also makes us calmer, happier, and more inspired to do more.

Giving to others could be volunteering at a local shelter or helping out someone on a personal level. The point is to offer your time and energy doing something for other people. In return, you’ll feel good about yourself, knowing that you’re valued and appreciated

Helping children to be more resilient

Resiliency is the ability to adjust to life’s difficulties and overcome challenging and stressful situations. On a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how resilient are you? How resilient is your child?

Resilient parents don’t automatically have resilient children. This can be frustrating for parents who want their kids to get motivated about school, say no to bad choices, or accept rejection and failures. If your child scores low on the resiliency scale, you can build new skills to help them grow emotionally and mentally.

Resilience has several attributes that parents would love to see in their children:

  • Emotional awareness and regulation
  • Inner drive or motivation
  • Future focus and readiness for change
  • Strong social connections/relationships
  • Physical health, sleep, and diet

Creating this in your child will be a process that occurs over time. The hope is that children will show these characteristics by the time they turn 18 and leave the home but even if it takes longer it is a goal parents will want to continue nurturing in them.

Don’t compare your child to others. Focus on the qualities of your child only! Comparisons places to much pressure on you and your child and will sabotage your efforts to develop this mental strength.

Parents have to model resiliency. You can’t preach resiliency if you don’t practice resiliency. Children will always do what you do over what you say. Put words and actions together to encourage resiliency.

Peers have a strong pull on children actions contrary to what your teenager tries to tell you. Be aware of who they are interacting with and work to know your children’s friends and their family, if possible. You don’t have to ban a friend you feel is the best influence on your child but you can talk with your them your concerns and offer suggestions on how to set boundaries and stand up for themselves and what they believe in.

Start with emotions. The more you validate and empathize with your child the stronger their conscience development. A strong moral compass will help your child overcome tough circumstances and follow the right path. This way you don’t have to be hovering over their shoulder every minute. If your child handles a situation poorly or makes a wrong decision, be empathic but encourage them to try again. Isn’t this how we all learn? Focusing on your child’s emotional awareness will produce more resilient people. about changes in behavior and encourage your child’s friends to be at your home and offer your supervision over them. Children with high emotional awareness will be more resilient people.

Young children will need to increase their emotional vocabulary. Label feelings, explore different feelings, validate positive and uncomfortable emotions. Make feelings ok and don’t push them down or brush them off but don’t over focus on them. A good healthy, emotional balance translates into greater resiliency.

Older children can have more complex conversations about feelings and social situations. Don’t shy away from cultural discussions and world situations. Use them to explore thoughts and ideas, helping the older child to see all sides of an issue. A more open-minded approach will rap children who have better judgment and compassion.

You can learn more about resiliency by consulting with Ron Huxley through a free online course at FamilyHealer.tv or schedule a session today.

This is the Year of Letting Go of Resentments

Resentments are defined as the “bitter indignation at being mistreated.” It is a hard feeling that creates discontent, hostility, bitterness, and an inability to trust others.

It is destructive to relationships because it is a hook to the traumatic events of the past. When we are tied to our histories, we cannot fully enjoy the present, and the future feels like a painful rerun. We make vows that we will never let anyone hurt us like we were hurt before. Unfortunately, these vows isolate and insulate us from loving relationships.

Resentment is connected to our ego. Our ego needs to be correct, and it needs to be good. When we experience trauma, it can strip away our dignity, causing us to get needs met in unhealthy ways or won’t allow anyone else to help meet those needs. We believe that “I can do it all by myself” but it feels safer when we are alone. Unfortunately, cutting others out of our lives is a very lonely life.

Resentment can also keep us stuck in a victim role. Victims need abusers to maintain this position. Therefore, our ego will fault others, reinforce the belief that people “can’t be trusted”, and only see the negative in the circumstances. We will gravitate to rescuers to make us feel good and validate our victim-mindedness.

WRITE BRAIN/RIGHT BRAIN:

Write about ways resentment keeps you stuck in the past. What are the struggles you have experienced that make trusting others difficult? Have you chosen to be right over having a relationship? Journal about ways to select connections first. Visualize what the world of your ego looks like, who lives there, and what beliefs you take as truth in your ego world.

How can you imagine a new, different world where you feel safe and secure? How would you do it this time if you could do a situation over? Have a chat with your “ego” and offer it comfort and seek what it needs to care for it healthily?

Explore your resiliency. You didn’t want to go through tough times, but you got through them. What strengths did you discover about yourself? How did this challenging experience change your priorities? Celebrate how you have grown instead of feeding the monster of resentment.

P.R.A.Y. and Create More Peace

What does it feel like when you notice your feet on the ground? What about your butt in the chair or the sunlight on your skin, or the wind on your face? Most likely, you weren’t noticing any of those things before I asked, right?

You are not alone. We seldom pause to get grounded and notice what sensory input is coming into our brains and bodies. We are detached walkers in the world, always focused on what is next. It is no wonder anxiety, and panic attacks are increasing at an alarming rate in the world.

Let’s take a moment and pause… Breath deeply in and out. Take stock of your five senses. Adjust your body to be more comfortable and Breath in and out again. Once more…

That might have been enough to settle you down a bit and allow you to feel more relaxed. The wonder is that it only took a minute out of your busy day…and you thought you didn’t have time for meditation!

Not having enough time is just one excuse for not pausing and breathing (what I call meditation). Another excuse is our uncontrollable mind. Our anxious thoughts want to wander constantly. It’s like a hyper toddler getting into everything and being totally unaware of the danger it keeps putting itself in. The reality is that everyone’s mind wanders. All of our thoughts move quickly and uncontrollably. Just like the parent who has to watch the busy toddler, you can parent your own thoughts and redirect them back to…the pause, the ponder the breath. Return to noticing the body. Notice even your thoughts and then go back to pause. Hopefully, you get the idea by now.

It is not the wandering thoughts we should be concerned about. Instead focus on the pause. The more you practice this, the more you will feel at peace. It literally retrains the nervous system and makes you more resilient.

>> Build a stronger nervous system with my “What the Hack? Learning to build a resilient nervous system” course at http://familyhealer.tv

Recently, I started using an acronym to help my clients manage anxious thoughts and emotions. It is P.R.A.Y, and it stands for…

P = Pause with a simple, deep breath. Close your eyes, rest your shoulders, stretch, and force your awareness to be still for the span of just one breath…and then another. Repeat as needed.

R = Reflect on what is happening in the now. Return to the now each time you wander to the past or future. What do I notice inside and outside of me now? Write it down if that helps, and it will. The training of the mind is hidden in this simple act of returning and reflecting. The more you have to do this, the more resilient you become as new neural networks are laid down. The nervous system loves habit, which is why it will resist breaking a habit.

A = Accept and Affirm what you reflected on. Accept what is happening without judgment, expectations, or resentments. I don’t have to like it. Say to yourself, I accept this “thought”, “feeling”, or “sensation.” Next, create an affirmation about what you want to believe or experience instead. It won’t feel true to say “I am confident and joyful” at the moment, but the more your repeat this affirmation, the more your emotions will go along with it. You are creating space for new thoughts and feelings that your nervous system was filtering. This shift from acceptance to affirmation will start to transform our mental states.

Y = Yield to the freedom of surrendering expectations, resentment, fears, and forgive yourself or others. This is actually the most challenging part. You have to walk out what you just affirmed over your life. Live an “unoffendable” life by continually for-giving back all the negativity life hands you. You have to forgive yourself for not being perfect, making mistakes, being discouraged, or hating yourself. One definition of yielding is relinquishing possession of something. That means that negative something you have been gripping so tight. It might also mean saying “no.” It could be simplifying your schedule. You know what it is…and it is time to let it go.

>> Get more help learning to P.R.A.Y. and find peace in your day by allowing Ron Huxley to help. Schedule a session today. <<

6 Benefits of Starting Self-Care In Your Life

Self-care refers to any attitude or activity we participate in to keep up and support our wellbeing, including mental, physical and spirit. Although everyone agrees with the importance of it, self-care frequently gets thrown away for the demands like work, family and the other pressing factors of life. The time to start self-care is today. Yes, right now!

Self-care doesn’t interrupts your life or take time away from your busy schedule. It benefits it and re-energies you. Here are a six simple reasons you should start benefiting form self-care:

  1. Improves state of mind

Putting time in your own consideration can significantly affect your state of mind, prompting more noteworthy hopefulness and inspiration. It will assist you with feeling more joyful, more fulfilled and better ready to adapt to the difficulties that life tosses you way. In any event, taking a limited quantity of time each week to sustain your physical, passionate and psychological wellness can be tremendously advantageous on your state of mind.

  1. Creates connections

Self-care assists you with being the best individual you can be, which has a positive effect on your connections. Setting aside standard effort to put resources into your own wellbeing permits you to be more joyful and more steady as a person. This permits you to be more persistent and obliging with others and along these lines have better connections.

  1. Diminishes hazard of burnout

Most Americans are over-worked and so self-care is important to keep away from burnout. Discover a type of self-care that works for you, regardless of whether that be going for a stroll, investing energy with family or getting a back rub, and focus on participating in it consistently. It will assist with dealing with your pressure and prevent burnout.

  1. Causes you to be more present

Investing energy overseeing yourself permits you to turn out to be more present and drawn in with your environmental factors. You are probably going to have a superior comprehension of the stuff to keep up your psychological, physical and passionate wellbeing, in this way bringing about you having a more prominent spotlight on your present mind-set and trigger that can possibly affect your wellbeing.

  1. Better execution on your goals

Self-care is frequently seen as an afterthought or luxury. The truth is that it is a requirement for better health and wellness. Taking care of yourself increases your capacity in every area of life: work, family, and sport. If you don’t get enough sleep, you are going to drag at work and miss deadlines. If you don’t meditate each day you will be grumpy and react more to others. Good diet, exercise, and time to yourself will help you focus more, stay more motivated, and finish tasks.

  1. Builds personal happiness/satisfaction

The general advantage of self-care is that it builds the quality of your life. That is probably obvious by now but it not only improves things around you, it improves your identity. Wouldn’t you like to be happier? You can be on the journey for this if you keep this as your focus and your develop habits that promote happiness. Hey, you could read on happiness research for just 5 minutes per day. Try it and see happens in just one week. Why not start now?

Let Ron Huxley help you by scheduling an appointment today to change the negative patterns of your life and transform you relationships into greater satisfaction and joy.

You can get more help on parenting, trauma, and anxiety with online courses at http://familyhealer.tv

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

This past year presented so many different challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. The global pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, and a lot of us struggled with our mental health as a result. The good news is that there are tools and resources available that can support the well-being of individuals and communities.


Now, more than ever, we need to combat the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. That’s why this Mental Health Month Ron Huxley is highlighting the TraumaToolbox.com- what individuals can do throughout their daily lives to prioritize mental health, build resiliency, and continue to cope with the obstacles of COVID-19.


Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time. During the month of May, we are focusing on different topics that can help process the events of the past year and the feelings that surround them, while also building up skills and supports that extend beyond COVID-19.


We know that the past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over. If you found that it impacted your mental health, you aren’t alone. In fact, of the almost half a million individuals that took the anxiety screening at MHAscreening.org, 79% showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety. However, there are practical tools that can help improve your mental health. We are focused on managing anger and frustration, recognizing when trauma may be affecting your mental health, challenging negative thinking patterns, and making time to take care of yourself.


It’s important to remember that working on your mental health and finding tools that help you thrive takes time. Change won’t happen overnight. Instead, by focusing on small changes, you can move through the stressors of the past year and develop long-term strategies to support yourself on an ongoing basis.


A great starting point for anyone who is ready to start prioritizing their mental health is to take a mental health screening at MHAscreening.org. It’s a quick, free, and confidential way for someone to assess their mental health and begin finding hope and healing.
Ultimately, during this month of May, Ron Huxley wants to remind everyone that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible.

Check out the many mental health tools create free at the TraumaToolbox.com.

The Upside of Toxic Stress

When it is chronic and untreated, adverse events can become toxic stress and severely impact individual health, social and cultural structure, and economic stability. 

Trauma affects everyone and has known no boundaries. It affects children and adults from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. It is one of the common denominators for individuals receiving services from social services organizations, and its structural disorganization shows up in correctional institutions, jails, schools, hospitals, and the workplace. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.” [https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/clinical-practice/trauma-informed

The upside of recognizing the commonality of adversity and toxic stress causes us to respond compassionately to ourselves and others! 

Bessel van der Kolk, a leading researcher and author of the book “The Body Keeps the Score,” notes that “trauma is not the story of something that happened back then… it’s the current imprint of that pain, horror, and fear living inside people.” https://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/blog/details/311/video-when-is-it-trauma-bessel-van-der-kolk-explains

This continual horror, triggered by events in the individual’s world, leads to a nervous system shutdown that has repercussions in the ability to read and express social cues, access executive brain skills, and find motivation or purpose in life. For researchers like van der Kolk, the body is key to understanding trauma treatment. This insight into toxic stress opens the doors of hope to helpers burdened by the cold cognitive concepts consisting of thought processes alone. 

Recognizing the body’s role on the mind and the mind on the body has opened the door to new therapies that allow for deeper healing!

Get more healing for you and your family with Ron Huxley’s online courses at FamilyHealer.tv or schedule a session with Ron today.

Reflections for Resiliency: I Live A Worry-Free Lifestyle

In order to develop a more resilient sense of self, Ron Huxley has created a new series called “Reflections for Resiliency”. The reflections are free to use for your inner development and self-care. This is a sample of what you will get in a new course on resilience at FamilyHealer.tv, coming Fall 2020.

In this first blog on personal reflections, Ron Huxley provides direction on living a worry-free life. Use them as proclamations over your life and shift the atmosphere of your home and relationships. Use a journal along side each reflection to write our thought own thoughts and feelings. Answer the Self-Reflection Questions at the end to help you apply them to your life.

You can download a PDF version of this reflection : Click Here!

Be sure to share this blog post with your family and friends…


I Live A Worry-Free Life

There is no better way to live than to live a life full of joy, health, peace, and happiness.

I choose to live a worry-free life because I know that anxiety crowds out productivity. I can and do plan for the future, but I realize that the only moment I can control is the present.

I use the creativity and wisdom I have gained from my experiences to make the best plans I can for the future. I realize, however, that even the most carefully laid plans are just ideas – figments of my imagination susceptible to factors outside my control. By acknowledging that I have no control over the future, I free myself from the dead end of worry.

I choose to conserve my mental and emotional energy by keeping my focus on the reality of what is in front of me. I make the most of this moment and trust that I will be able to handle the next when it comes.

When my focus is on this moment, I am alert and able to recognize the people who are invaluable to me. When my focus is on this moment, I am able to take advantage of new opportunities that come my way and create a life that is rich and rewarding.

By letting go of worry, I free myself to use my energy to be productive in the here and now.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Am I wasting time fretting about something that is outside my control? Why?
  2. What do I realistically gain by worrying?
  3. What can I do, today, to help me live a worry-free life?

Building Family Resiliency (Video)

Parent Connection Coach and Educator Ron Huxley, L.M.F.T., is here to help you and your family build resiliency during these stressful times.
Watch the video and learn how to:
1. Gain new perspectives.
2. Teach your children to be problem solversHelp parents become resiliency coaches and avoid power struggles.
3. Eliminate negative game playing to develop loving and cooperative relationships.

Ron Huxley has over 30 years experience helping families heal and serves as a parent coach and educator with Parent Connection of San Luis Obispo County. In his capacity as a parent coach, Ron specializes in working with families who’ve experienced trauma. He believes in taking a strength-based approach that builds on solutions and he creates strategies that fit each family situation in the shortest time necessary.  


Ron Huxley is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist providing trauma-informed therapy for individuals and families. Currently practicing on the Central Coast of California, Ron travels internationally educating parents and professionals on trauma-informed care.

Trauma + Faith = Resilience

According to the National Opinion Research Center’s General, Social Survey over 90% of Americans believes in God or a higher power. Sixty percent belong to a local religious group. Another 60% think that religious matter is important or very important in how they conduct their lives, and 80% are interested in “growing spiritually”.

Even when people do not belong to a specific religious group or identity with a particular spiritual orientation, 30% of adults state they pray daily and 80% pray when faced with a serious problem or crisis.

Trauma is defined as any event, small or large, that overwhelms the mind and bodies ability to cope. Some people appear more resilient or able to “bounce back” in the face of trauma. Studies proof that faith is one-way children and adults can cope with traumatic events and suffering.

The question remains “how does faith make us more resilient?” It may be that faith reduces the negative, victimized thinking that results from trauma. For example, victimized people understandable “feel” as if they are damaged, dirty, worthless, stupid, vulnerable, ashamed, or unlovable. The type of trauma might be small or large but this is a common emotional reaction to the hurt someone suffers.

This reaction results in a lower ability to mentally plan and adaptively cope with situations create more possibility that fear, hurt, and worthlessness will result. You can see the vicious cycle that trauma can create…

Our minds are meaning-seeking devices. We like to find things to validate our thoughts and experiences so we can better navigate future circumstances. The upside of this is that we can be more efficient problem-solvers and survive. The downside is we can unrealistic or simply untrue beliefs.

Faith counters this downward cycle of believing, acting, and reacting by shifting the story from the negative plot lines to the bigger themes that “I am loved, valued, and cared for…even when things are bad!” Faith can override negative views of oneself with the belief that you are loved just as you are, normalize the internal spiritual struggles, encourage opening up and being vulnerable again, renewing a sense of control or mastery in life, and fostering social connections.

Being part of a larger group of people contributes to our collective connectedness that detours isolation and loneliness and encourages greater personal healing. Research demonstrates that socially connected people are more likely to meet the demands of everyday loss and stress.

Spirituality and religious affiliation can also benefit traumatized people from the toxic memories of the trauma event. This occurs with the individual feels they can share their grief with a greater community. Traumatic memories cannot be forgotten but they can be contained and/or unburdened when shared with fellow sufferers and with God or your higher power. This is a move toward memory instead of moving beyond memory. As one author described it: “One must have the courage of memory, because through it, one can seek God.”

Finally, religious groups have the best inspirational self-help scripts available in the form of the Bible, Torah, Koran, other holy scriptures, liturgy, and worship. They offers a framework for dealing with trauma and copes with stress.

Rabbi Harold Kushner, in his popular book on “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” writes:

“In the final analysis, the question of why bad things happen to good people translates itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it has happened.” (p. 147) .

Faith provides us with the HOW of living resiliently!

REFERENCES:

Meichenbaum, D. (2016) TRAUMA, SPIRITUALITY AND RECOVERY: TOWARD A SPIRITUALLY-INTEGRATED PSYCHOTHERAPY :

Click to access SPIRITUALITY_PSYCHOTHERAPY.pdf

SAMHA Website on Faith-based Communities : http://www.samhsa.gov/fbci/fbci_pubs.aspx

Pargament, K. I., Kennell, J. et al. (1988). Religion and the problem-solving process: Three styles of coping. Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion, 29, 90-104.

Microsoft Word – MeichSPIRITUALITY INTEGRATED PSYCHOTHERAPY1 final edits.doc

Jay, J. (1994). Walls of wailing. Common Boundary, May/June, 30-35.

Harold S. Kushner’s “When Bad Things Happen To Good People” New York: Schocken Books, 1981.