Thousands of people decided to take action with Madefor throughout the Month of May, joining us for our free 21-day Mental Health Text Challenge! We didn’t want anyone to miss out, so we’re giving you the resources right here, so you can take action with Madefor any time that’s convenient for you! (This is Week 2 of Madefor’s Mental Health Challenge. If you’re just finding this, we’re glad you’re here! Make sure to check out the Week 1 Challenges, to get the full benefit of the Challenge.)
So, if you’re new to the Madefor Program, you may be wondering why we are encouraging you to engage in these small actions each day. It's changing your brain for the better! Changing your brain is like driving a car. Learn more by watching this short video from Dr. Andrew Huberman, our Lead Advisor and Neuroscientist as we head into Week #2 of the Madefor Challenge.
Day 8: Learn about Active Listening
Practice Active Listening. Choose a close friend or family member and ask them what the highlight of their day was today. Make eye contact, smile, and listen intently to their response. Engage more deeply by asking them follow up questions. Pay close attention and ask curious questions!
Extra Credit: Journaling Exercise
By reflecting, you are reinforcing the positive brain effects you felt today. How did it feel to connect more deeply with a friend or family member? How did the other person react? Committing your memories to the page with vivid details will intensify the effects and generate the feel-good chemicals!
Day 9: View a Horizon
Use your vision to calm your mind and body! Viewing a horizon (long-range view) allows your brain to deliberately disengage, giving it the break it desperately needs from a screen-heavy or stressful environment. As Madefor’s lead advisor Dr. Andrew Huberman notes, “this helps to replenish your attention stores, so you can focus and be more present when you need to be."
Your challenge today is to find a horizon. It could be at the top of a mountain, a park bench in your neighborhood, or just looking outside a window. Let your attention drift to give your mind space to recover and reset. Where did you go to find a view today? How did it make you feel? Share the impact with a friend.
Day 10: Creativity & Focus
"Tapping into the creative brain states is a great source of joy and an incredible relationship builder - not just between people but to your relationship to the world. I believe that one of the great routes to happiness isn't just focusing on 'happiness' but is trying to find and increase the number of things that you can delight in. This is a skill that can be accessed through creativity." - Dr. Andrew Huberman
Let's access your creative brain! Set aside 15 minutes today for personal time. When ready, turn on your favorite song, sit in silence, or watch this video. Practice being present and aware, but relaxed. Allow your mind to drift, then focus, then drift, then focus. Write about your experience in your journal today.
Day 11: Strong-tie Connections
In a survey of more than 20,000 Americans, two in five said they felt like their “relationships aren’t meaningful” and that they “are isolated from others.” Studies show that chronic isolation has severe health effects, including an increased risk of disease and death that’s on par with known risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking. With the past year of social distancing and odds like these, we could all benefit from prioritizing connection with others!
Take 10 minutes today to identify one person who is struggling, and come up with a meaningful way to help them. Haven't heard from a friend in a while? Give them a call. A neighbor just had a baby? Drop off a coffee. This is not about being a superhero and parachuting into a situation to save the day. A small favor can pack a big punch. Spend a few minutes writing in a journal about who you helped and what you did for them! How did it make you feel?
Day 12: Identify your Strengths
How often have you actually spent time acknowledging and celebrating your strengths? Or, do you tend to spend more time thinking about your weaknesses? Learn to take a strengths approach and find balance by knowing, growing, and showing your strengths.
Take the FREE VIA Character Strengths questionnaire to identify your top strengths. Think of a creative way you can use your top strength today. What were your top 5 strengths? How did you use 1 of them today? www.viacharacter.org/
Extra Credit Journaling Exercise
Were you surprised at the top strengths that came up? How do these shine through in your life? How can you use your top strengths to approach a current challenge you are facing? Reflect and write it down.
Day 13: Savor your meal!
Take yourself back to the best meal you've eaten - maybe it was from a trip you took, the first bite of your wedding cake, or BBQ you had with friends. What did you eat? Where were you? How did you feel? Your next challenge is to slow down, put the phone away, and savor the beginning, middle, and last bite of your next meal. You might just remember it forever! 🍔🍦
Day 14: Take one small step
One of the best ways to harness your brain's incredible natural ability to learn and grow is through small, consistent steps forward. As simplistic as it sounds, our brains are like muscles. When habits fade, so do their corresponding neural connections. But when we intentionally engage in a practice repeatedly, even at the smallest level, you create new connections that result in lasting change.
Today's challenge is to identify a goal you want to accomplish. Write it down and think about how you can break it down into small steps. In fact, what is the smallest step you can take today to move towards that goal? Remember, all it takes is small steps to make big changes!
Congratulations! You’ve made it through another week of Madefor’s Mental Health Challenge. You’ve taken deliberate steps on a journey to your best self. Check out Week 3, and keep the momentum going!