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Six Modes of Mental Care

Principled mental care calls for a simple, routine action that you can do easily and consistently on a daily basis. Just as you brush your teeth every night for dental care or apply moisturizer after a shower for skin care, we want a simple routine for mental care. You can choose a routine from any of the six modes of action for mental care.

  1. Sensory mode: See, hear, smell, taste, touch, or sense of motion can help stimulate, relax, or regulate your needs. For example, nature, art, music, sound and voice, touching fabric, plush toys, feeling motions, wind, massages, aromas, food and beverages—they can all stimulate you, relax you, or help improve your condition. This is probably the most instantly gratifying mode of self-help, but the effect may be limited or short-term.
  2. Biochemical mode: Sunlight, hydration, nutritional intake, medications, and supplements, all have a direct impact on the chemical balance of your body. Alcoholic beverages and sweet snacks are not a positive biochemical substance because of their negative influence on your chemical balance. They should be considered a sensory mode of self-help—quick, short-term relief.
  3. Cognitive mode: Language is the primary tool of this mode. For example, reading books, watching movies, or writing in journals are some of the many cognitive activities for self-help.
  4. Social mode: Being in touch with friends, family, pets, or people in general can be stimulating, relaxing, and often helpful for regulation. Stress can arise in a social environment, but social relationships can also be a good remedy.
  5. Spiritual mode: Meditation and praying can be an important self-help mode, especially for regulation. Certain activities at churches or temples may offer additional social, sensory, and physical options.
  6. Physical mode: Physical activities can help stimulate, relax, or regulate your needs. Gardening, craft works, cooking, singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, golf, walking, exercising, stretching, deep breathing—the list is endless. This mode is favored, as it combines aspects of the sensory, biochemical, cognitive, social, and spiritual modes.

There are a variety of elements within each of the six modes that will work for your specific needs, preferences, and circumstances. The six natural ingredients of mental care (sunlight, hydration, exercise, breathing, sleep, connection) are good choices as your initial routine portfolio. They are your tools, so you just need to choose one and try it.

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