I would consider myself very fortunate to have a job where I am given the opportunity to genuinely help people through the difficulties in their lives. In exactly 2 months, I will be going full-time with Positively Elite, my mental performance business. Right now, however, I am still the Licensed Mental Health Counselor for a private school in Albany, NY, called the Albany Academies.
I have had the privilege of being at the Academies for the last 6 years where I supported the students and faculty K-12 with mental health challenges, but also tried to implement proactive strategies to improve the mental health, well-being, and performance of the community. This is my expertise, and I'll be forever grateful to the community for allowing me to do this as much as I wanted.
I was given a lot of time in front of the faculty in professional development to educate them on the latest developments in neuroscience, positive psychology and performance psychology; so that they could apply these findings to benefit the well-being of the students in their classes. Many teachers brought me into their classes to talk about these topics. I was also given 5 or so minutes every Monday to do a mental training activity (breathing, meditation, visualization) for the high school and middle school, while pushing into the lower school classrooms.
Top 3 Habits For Mental and Emotional Health
For the past month, in our “Mindful Monday,” I have been prepping the high school students for my exit by celebrating the top 3 things that they could do for their mental health, well-being, and success as they get older. Each Monday I shared just one, culminating with the final strategy this week, my final time in front of the community. These 3 habits are by far the most important things one could do for their mental and emotional health. This blog series will highlight those top 3 actions along with giving a variety of ways to practice them. This specific blog is meant as an introduction to those behaviors and why there is a critical need for us to build them into our daily practice.
The Case For Mental Health Education For All
It is increasingly evident that many people are struggling with their mental health. We literally have 20% of the US population dealing right now with a mental health disorder, many of which are struggling with depression, anxiety, substance use issues, or eating disorders. My opinion is that many of the 80% that don’t qualify for a mental health diagnosis still struggle with their mental and emotional health at times too.
At times we all can be negative, or lack confidence, or struggle to manage tough emotions. We each face unique pressures. We have technology constantly in our faces, grabbing our attention, influencing our minds. Hate and violence have become the norm in our country and across the globe. It is harder for us to communicate effectively, especially our children and teenagers. It is not easy to be well in the world we live in.
Many of my blogs touch directly on mental performance for athletes. These next few, however, will go beyond athletes, to touch everyone. Nearly everyone seeks happiness, meaning, and control of their lives. And although people reach these aspirations in different ways, the mind operates the same for all. Addressing this critical piece of our functioning should be valued, accounted for, and systematically educated in our culture and schools.
For decades now, the science is completely backing that there are a few things we can do to get control of our mental and emotional functioning. The 3 actions in the next 3 blogs to follow are what your mind and heart need for your mental and emotional health to thrive.
Check out Part 2 of this 4 part series to learn what these practices are, why they are important, and how to build them into daily practice. : )
Much gratitude to you all for reading!
Powell Cucchiella, LMHC