Recently I’ve heard many of the veterans I work with talking about how helpful the classes they take through the VA are for them. The PTSD and Anger Management Classes especially allow them to share their feelings without fear of ridicule or shame. That’s an important part of developing good mental health.

Yes, it’s possible to work on improving your mental health. While we readily think about exercising, cleaning, shaping and toning our bodies, rarely do we think about doing the same thing with our minds. Yet, it’s possible to set goals and design a program for improving your mental health.

Sometimes poor self-esteem requires an effort to overcome, but accepting yourself as you are is an important first step. You can read books or go on line to learn ways to increase self-esteem; remember “I’m Ok, You’re Ok”? If it’s an engaging book, it can be a big help.

Work on nurturing your personal relationships. Treat your family and friends well. If you make life miserable for them, chances are you’re just going to be making life miserable for yourself too. After all, you have to live in that environment too.

Think positively. That’s a choice you can make: choose to be happy! I was doing it on the way to work this morning: a truck pulled out in front of me so I had to slam on my brakes. He just wanted to get through the light before it changed, but my first response was to chew him out even though he wouldn’t hear me. Instead I quickly reined in my anger and said aloud, “I’ve done that before too.” We all do stupid things now and then. Forgive and move on.

Just as you have to work at being physically healthy, you’ll also need to make an effort to pull yourself out of negative thinking. In the long run though, it’s worth it.


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