Nov 2, 2015

Mental Health Monday - Some Resources!

Since attending counseling and the encouragement I've received from many different people, I've begun to delve more heavily into mental health and self improvement.  Here are some of the best resources I've come across in that time (Note: one happens to be my first free book from Blogging for Books, but that's because it was legitimately a good read - this post was getting written regardless.)

4 Awesome Mental Health Resources

1. TED Radio Hour on NPR

TED Talks are great and cover a vast array of topics.  The Radio Hour podcast is even better, because they pick a few talks on similar topics and pull out the best points of each presentation.  Here's the one I really, really recommend, even if you don't listen to any of their other episodes.

They're all good topics, but my favorite was section 2, which talks about staying in the moment, and provides a free resource, the Track Your Happiness App, which is a super cool idea!

Basically, the app sends you a survey a couple times a day, asking about what you're doing right at that moment and how you feel about it.  Using that data, over time you can see what factors contribute to your happiness and make adjustments accordingly.  The app also collects data for their research project to better understand how happiness works for humans as a whole.

After using it for a couple weeks, I'm not entirely sure how effective it will be because sometimes the questions don't make sense, BUT I do think it's worth doing, if only to help the research group get their stuff figured out and to make the app more effective.

2. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (and other books)

Full disclosure, this happens to be my first free book from Blogging for Books (dude, free books are amazing!), BUT I received it at the perfect time, as I was delving into all this mental health stuff.  I was expecting it to be more life coach-y, so when the first chapter started going in-depth into the science of the brain, I was a bit thrown off.

That aside, there is so much good information in this book!  I thought the author's viewpoint on mental health was very eye-opening.  Dr. Amen points out that psychology is one of the only fields where we treat a disease without actually doing any sort of physical examination.  The author talks about brain scans and gives demonstrations of what a healthy brain looks like vs all sorts of illnesses and abnormalities.

Then there's the really good stuff: how to treat and fix your brain health by using biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors rather than just taking a medication and hoping that it works.  This changed the way I think about my brain and I'll definitely be implementing some of these suggestions.  The only reason it didn't get a full 5 stars was the occasional self-congratulatory tone and sometimes it got a bit dry or went in a sales-oriented tangent.  There were resources online, including a brain test that I desperately wanted to take! (But wasn't willing to pay the $8/month fee for.  I'm more of a one-time payment gal.)  But I feel like that's hard to avoid when you're talking about your own discoveries or accomplishments and how do you mention additional resources you happen to provide without sounding salesy?

To sum up: the author does a great job of using case studies to explain the science behind brain activity and resultant behaviors, sheds some light on the issues with current approach to mental health, and provides techniques for improving your own mental health.  Definitely worth a read!

Other, similar, books you'll be hearing about soon:
And for all the books that have changed my life, check out my game-changers shelf on Goodreads.

3. The One You Feed

Another podcast, this one is based on the parable of the good wolf and bad wolf in each of us.  The one that "wins" is the one you feed, and the podcast focuses on all the different ways you can feed the good wolf.  I've only gotten through a couple episodes, but already found some really good insights!

I was trying to figure out how to embed it, but maybe that's not an option.  Anyway, this mini episode called The Elephant and it's Rider is my favorite so far.

4. Jessamyn Stanley and Other Self Love Advocates

Ok, this woman right here is a baller.  She so perfectly sums up my thoughts on being overweight but working on health rather than looks, and loving yourself throughout the process.  Check out her yoga poses - she is amazing!  I can't do half of that stuff, but now I realize that's just from lack of practice, not a size or weight issue.  Also she has awesome style and great recommendations for workout wear for bigger girls.

AND did you see her tagline?  "Yoga enthusiast and fat femme."  I LOVE that she's not shying away from the "f" word.  Fat is just a description and it really doesn't need all that emotion attached to it.  Plus the play on words, which is clever and makes my heart happy.

I'm going to quote from her FAQ page, because I think this is just perfect:

Q: "I really want to lose weight and get healthy! How much weight have you lost because of yoga?

A: "This is a very sticky topic for me because I hate equating weight loss and overall health and wellness. While I think there are a number of legitimate health reasons to lose weight, I don’t think being physically smaller is a necessity to achieve better overall health. I definitely don’t think it’s a necessity to practice advanced yoga postures. HOWEVER, it would be completely hypocritical for me to ignore the weight I’ve lost as a direct result of my yoga practice..."

This is the most practical and well-rounded perspective on the issue that I've seen.

So, anyway, I'll stop crushing and just say this: this is my new self love role model.  I aspire to reach that level of strength and flexiblity and I might just have to get me a pair of leggings like one of her pictures.  You know, for my mental health.

A couple other bloggers who are a great resource for self love and mental health:

What are your favorite mental health resources?  Do you listen to podcasts and if so, which ones?!

Jenn signature graphic | Business, Life & Design


  1. The blogging for books one sounds interesting in that you are changing your actual brain? I am with you...monthly fees for sites turn me off. Even if it is "just $8"...that adds up quick over the months!!!

  2. Great post with some great suggestions!!! The Track Your Happiness app sounds pretty fun!!!

  3. hmm the tracking your happiness app sounds super fun, but i can't download apps at the moment, boo. and i feel you on the one time payment vs monthly fees. no thanks!

  4. I'm checking out the podcasts right now. I drive way more than I want to for work so its nice to listen to podcasts while i drive.


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