Sir, With reference to “ How to stay mentally fit, even in a risky job” (Recruitment, November 28): I have spent more than 40 years working professionally in the area of leisure and recreation planning and development, working with people of all ages and interests as they pursue their favourite leisure/recreation interests. Your article typifies so many that present ideas on how to stay mentally fit and healthy. They omit the most natural, powerful and long-term effective way of staying mentally healthy – switching the mind off regularly from stress-related activities and switching the mind on to a favourite and passionate leisure interest.
It doesn’t have to be physical exercise because it is the mind that matters with mental health. Physical activities help the mind only when they are undertaken for the intrinsic enjoyment of the activity. For example, in my personal case (not necessarily for everyone) I sing in two choirs.
The more often people enjoy energising freely chosen passionate leisure interests, the more likely they are to have the resilience to cope with stress and stay mentally healthy.
Such interests are also widely known to help people who are recovering from mental illness, but it is the preventive measure approach that I am discussing here.
Australia’s People Gardener (Lifestyle Mentor),
Kensington Park, SA, Australia
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