For better mental health, challenge the stories you tell yourself


The National Institute of Mental Health has written an article, “Caring for Your Mental Health,” that offers the following tips:

Get regular exercise.

Eat healthy, regular meals and stay hydrated.

Make sleep a priority.

Try a relaxing activity.

Set goals and priorities.

Practice gratitude.

Focus on positivity.

Stay connected.

I am not elaborating on these tips, because they are fairly self-explanatory and because I think there is a much more fundamental issue underpinning all of this: Our emotional health, the way we think, our self-talk and our attitude.

If we don’t understand and work on our emotional health, it may be difficult for these tips to apply because we might not truly believe in what we are doing. A good analogy is the foundation of a house that is not strong enough to support a sustainable structure.

One of the reasons that I practice positive thinking and have interviewed thousands of people who have overcome obstacles, transformed problems into solutions, and survived horrific events is because it has helped me to adapt a mindset that has led me to move forward.

In the article “How the Stories We Tell Mold Our Future,” at, Tzvi Freeman writes, “The narratives of humankind have driven tribes to conquer and grow to empires, sustained civilizations and allowed them to fall and then regenerated them from the dust. …

“More than any other tool of humankind, our legends have been responsible for building the world in which we currently live. Our faith in those mega-stories will determine whether that world implodes, decays or flourishes.

“So too the micro-stories each of us tell of our own private dramas determine the conquest of our personal destinies.  Stories are the channels we dig within our psyches through which our past will flow into our future.”

As I practice the tips above from the National Institute of Mental Health, I pay attention and listen to the stories I tell myself and the interpretations I make, and I question them and validate the facts of the situation.

This has been a very tough time to see positive outcomes and paint positive pictures. It is so easy to catastrophize and draw conclusions based on the past, instead of the present.

Of course, it is important to look at the past, as it gives us important information, but totally basing our next course of action on what has transpired in the past limits our ability to clean the slate and see a different outcome in the current circumstances.

Here’s to hearing and dealing with our inner voices, to lead us to caring for our mental health and positive outcomes!

Happy 2024!

PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is an award-winning radio producer, business owner and leader.  She is on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence, and is a recipient of the Providence Business News 2020 Leaders and Achievers award. Her “Positive Aging with Patricia Raskin” podcast is broadcast on the Rhode Island PBS website,

Healthy Living, Patricia Raskin