I am totally into preventive health care – especially mental health care.

We hear a lot about preventive health care, such as mammograms, ┬ámonitoring blood pressure and testing cholesterol levels. We don’t hear much about preventive mental health care.shutterstock_150200261

I practice preventive mental health care. It’s a program I came up with on my own based on a bunch of stuff I’ve read and been told by people I trust. It’s based on this simple premise: my brain is constantly producing or not producing chemicals and hormones. If there is too much of one chemical and not enough of another, I can sink into a black hole or leap tall buildings in a single bound.

The single, most powerful preventive tool in my little toolbox is exercise. Exercise prevents both depression and mania. It releases endorphins, hormones that activate my opiate receptors. As for my mania, exercise is like a fire extinguisher, snuffing out that burning desire to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

I also pray… a lot. I’m not a particularly religious person but God and I are tight. As for meditation, yoga and visualization techniques, I’m not there yet. I’ve tried them all and believe in them all. They are great preventive mental health tools. They just aren’t my favorite tools right now.

If you are in recovery like me, you know what to do: 12 steps and meetings.

Finally, there are two ingredients – my special sauce – for balanced mental health: vapid and humor. I am not ashamed to say that the Kardashians and the Housewives of Beverly Hills have played a crucial role in maintaining my mental health.

I find the shear absurdity of what goes on in these peoples’ lives and their obsession with enlarging certain body parts, such as lips and breasts, so compelling that it stops my racing thoughts in their tracks. Remember the episode when Kim Kardashian got an x-ray of her butt to prove she didn’t have implants? You can’t make this stuff up.

Finally, but not the least important, is humor. I once read somewhere that laughing releases some kind of chemical in your brain that is good for you. Prevents and protects you from sliding into your black hole.

So, I actively seek out things that make me laugh out loud. The harder the laugh, the better. Jokes. Photos. Videos. Stupid dog tricks. Saturday Night Live. Chris Rock. Been there. Done it. Just make me laugh.

doberLet me indulge you in my most recent find: Doberhuahua. It’s the car maker Audi’s Super Bowl commercial. (Spoiler Alert! If you savor the Super Bowl commercials during the game, don’t click the link). I won’t give away the details but it involves cross-breeding a Doberman with a Chihuahua. Don’t try this at home.

I’ve watched this commerical about a dozen times and it still makes me laugh out loud. Just saying the word “Doberhuahua” makes me chuckle.

I hope it does the same for you. Save yourselves!

Woman with strong arms photo available from Shutterstock.