To have the best chance of good mental health, there are certain practices that should be a regular part of our lives. These include exercising, eating well, meditation or mindfulness and spending time with family.
Too often, teachers don’t devote the time they should to these practices because of the time constraints of school. Generally, in the mental ill health cases I’ve helped support, teachers were no longer exercising regularly or spending enough time with loved ones.
A large part of what we do every day is actually habit, but some habits are easier to form than others. Moreover, some habits are known as cornerstone habits, because they underpin a healthy lifestyle. If we exercise, we will likely sleep better and feel more inclined to eat healthily.
The American comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, knew that writing every day would be the cornerstone to his success. To motivate himself he pinned a large calendar to a wall in his office (the sort that show the whole year.) He then crossed off each day once he’d written his target amount. The habit was formed by being motivated not to break the chain of crosses.
This method has become known as “Don’t Break the Chain.” It alone was enough to motivate Seinfeld to form a daily writing habit and create one of the most popular TV series ever (and earn him $800 million dollars.)
There are now Seinfeld inspired apps available to check off your daily meditation session or weekly run but you might prefer the original, low-tech wallchart option. I currently use an app to check that I’m running, meditating and writing regularly. If you need further reinforcement to form positive habits try sharing your goals with a friend who will hold you to account, or rewarding yourself every time you complete a task.

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