Meet Editor in Chief of Verywell Mind, Amy Morin
Amy Morin has spent her career as a psychotherapist studying mentally strong people– the basis of her viral TED Talk, “The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong.” She is also a bestselling author and the editor in chief of Verywell Mind, the biggest online mental health publication. We chatted with Amy about how we can become mentally strong, reduce nighttime anxiety, and improve our sleep.
You have spent your career as a psychotherapist studying “mentally strong” individuals, analyzing the unhealthy habits that keep us stuck in life. What are some of the most common unhealthy habits that you see?
The most common habits that drain people of mental strength are feeling sorry for yourself, giving up after your first failure, and expecting immediate results.
Anxiety is often tied to sleep struggles. Are there any particular habits that we should commit to, or break, to reduce this anxiety and improve our sleep?
Worrying about things you can’t control can definitely interfere with sleep. A lot of people spend hours imagining catastrophic outcomes. These worries can keep you up at night and they won’t do you any good. It’s important that during the day, you set aside time to problem-solve. And then, during that time, focus on the things you can control. That can free up a lot of mental energy and help you stay focused on things that are within your control.
What role do you think mental health plays in sleep, and sleep in mental health?
Mental health and sleep are certainly linked. Good quality sleep is key to optimal brain function. When your mental health declines you might struggle to sleep or you may sleep too much.
Do you partake in any mindful activities prior to bedtime?
I practice gratitude before I go to sleep. It helps me feel good and quiets my brain.
The Guardian has dubbed you the “self-help guru of the moment.” How do you define self-help, and what do you feel are the best self-help practices?
Self-help is all about learning how to be the best version of yourself. I love 30-day challenges. Changing one habit or making something a priority for 30 days can help you discover what works best for you. Whether you try a gratitude journal or you work out in the morning, you won’t know what helps you become the best version of yourself unless you experiment.
RAPID FIRE ROUND:
Do you have a bedtime ritual?
I drink a protein shake and read before bed.
What do you wear to bed?
Shorts and a t-shirt
What is on your bedside table?
I live on a boat so we don’t have bedside tables.
Do you have any recurring dreams?
Are you reading or watching anything good at the moment?
I watch baseball.
Which scent makes you think of bedtime?
What are some nighttime items you cannot live without?
My sleep mask.
What is your guilty pleasure?!
How do you engage in self-care?
I do fun things, like ride a waverunner!
What do you consider the single most important thing for a good night’s sleep?
A calm mind.
Did you have a bedtime routine growing up?
I watched TV before bed.
What was your favourite childhood bedtime story?
I didn’t have one.
What is your skincare and beauty routine like? Do you have any holy grail products?
I brush my teeth and wash my face. Nothing fancy here.
How would you choose to spend one hour of free time?
Swimming the Florida Keys.
If you could choose a song to wake up to every morning, what would it be?
Happy by Pharrell Williams.