Sure, we all want a healthy body, but how healthy is your mind? You’re eating your veggies and pounding the gym, but what have you done lately to ensure that you are emotionally sound? So, you’re on a health kick, eh? You decided to stop using the drive-through at the hamburger joint. You’re just gonna park the car and walk in. Sheesh. Does your diet plan let you use rollover calories? Which came first: the chicken salad or the egg salad? Yes, its three meals a day, but how many should you eat at night? Uh, oh. But seriously, 95 percent of your serotonin comes from your gut, so please toss that salad.

Let’s start first thing in the morning, shall we? Try this on for size: First thing in the a.m., say aloud that you plan to have a good day. Yes, out loud. Then take a task to notice, and appreciate all the little daily events that you tend to overlook. That hot cuppa coffee. Let’s be honest. Coffee is a hug in a mug. Heck, my birthstone is a coffee bean. Did you notice that smile from someone you know or don’t know? Pay attention.

Does your day start backwards? You wake up tired and go to bed wide awake? Get comfy in your down blanket, free of all distractions, and get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation affects your memory, mood, and critical thinking ability. You know what they say: Some people talk in their sleep; lecturers talk while other people sleep. It’s almost bedtime, so you’ll just check your email, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and watch a season of your favorite show on Netflix real quick. Sheesh. You may want to rethink your nightly bedtime, dear night owls. What you feed your mind during the day will affect your quality of sleep at night.

When was the last time you truly paid attention to your physical sensations and emotional reactions? Life is happening while we are on autopilot.  What do you hear right now? Are you listening? Are you aware of the scents around you?

Be friendly. We are made kind by being kind. You know what they say: Choose being kind over being right – and you’ll be right every time. And don’t forget to be compassionate to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.

Don’t pay attention to the broken fence. Notice the flowers in your garden. Let’s be honest: A healthy life makes for a happy life. Now more than ever, make sure you are getting much needed vitamins and minerals. Want a hint? Your food should be colorful. Add some greens to your meal. Fill up on fiber and protein. You know, there’s nothing “fun” about fun-size candy bars. You bought a smoothie maker to make healthful smoothies. The first thing you made was an Oreo milkshake? I get it. But truly, no medicine can compensate for unhealthy living, my friends.

Get that downtime. You need it more than you know. And not while staring at a screen of some sort. Get out into nature and let her heal you. Exercise please. Good things come to those who sweat. Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury.

Stress, constant worry, and anxiety take a toll on your mental health. How do you keep yourself calm and grounded these days? Playing video games or binge watching your favorite series won’t do the trick. Too much screen time can even lead to depression, sweet friends. Take a few moments to breathe and meditate. Practice self-kindness instead of self-judgment.

A good laugh relaxes your muscles, improves circulation, increases endorphins, and decreases your stress-related hormones. What more can you ask? Not only does it improve your mood, but it also enhances and vitalizes your immune system. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh until your abs hurt. That way you never actually have to work out.

Stop slouching, please. Poor posture puts stress on your joints and ligaments. Shoulders back and sit up straight. It’s the difference between towering and cowering.

Want to combat those stressors that seem to creep up every day? Bond and keep company with friends, family, and loved ones. Show some love. Think about who gives you a sense of belonging. Simply thinking about those warm relationships can reduce your stress.  Feeling down? Let someone take your hand and lead you to the light. Volunteer in your community.

Want to build up your self-confidence? Do something you are good at. There’s nothing like creative expression to enhance your well-being.

It’s been said: “First we form habits. Then they form us. Conquer your bad habits, or they’ll eventually conquer you.” Believe it or not, good habits are just as hard to break as bad habits. Remember: A healthy outside always starts from the inside.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at