Over the years I have seen people make a lot of mistakes with their mental health. At one point, I was one of these people. Sometimes I still am. Despite this, I want you to be as successful as possible on your journey towards having great mental health. This is why I am going to share the top 3 mistakes people make and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Avoiding Negative Thoughts and/or Emotions
This is by far one of the worst things that you can do and what I see happening all the time. For some reason people think that avoiding something means that it’s going to go away. Too bad that almost happens like…never. Does avoiding your exams make them go away? How about your taxes if you never pay them? None of these things go away. The same goes for your negative thoughts and/or emotions. Avoiding makes it worse and causes the thoughts and/or emotions to come back even stronger.
Action Steps - 2 Other Ways to Cope that DON’T Involve Avoiding
Acknowledge your thoughts and/or emotions. Call them out for what they are. If you’re feeling sad, say it. If you’re having insecure thoughts, say it. Be careful not to label these thoughts and/or emotions as good or as bad, simply state them as they are.
Accept your thoughts and/or emotions as they are. This means to come to be peace with what you are experiencing in the moment without resisting it. Avoid distracting yourself with an activity that will make you feel good short-term but has a negative impact on your mental health long-term.
Mistake #2: Not Planning for “Bad” Mental Health Moments
I put “bad” in quotation marks because ”bad” is subjective and it really only exists because we label things as that. Anyways, we can all still admit that we have these moments. The best way to overcome these moments is by being prepared for them. Expect not-so-great things to come your way because that’s just how life works. “Bad” things happen just like “good” things happen. It is a normal part of life.
Accept and acknowledge the fact that “bad” is a part of life.
Create a plan for yourself that outlines the action steps that you are going to take when you have negative experiences in life. Are you going to phone a friend? Take time off work? Go workout? Take the time to reflect on this. Think of yourself like a solider going to war who wants to win this battle. That’s how well prepared you should be. The more prepared you are for these unavoidable experiences, the easier it will be for you to stay resilient through them.
Mistake #3: Only Focus on Their Mind
A big misconception is that treating poor mental health means to fix the mind in some way, shape or form. The only problem with this is that it only fixes a part of the problem. There is so much outside of your thinking patterns and mindset that you need to work on. This includes your diet, sleep, exercise, relationships, physical environment, boundaries etc. It is important to optimize all these factors. There is no point in working on your mind if you are going to put your mind in the same environment that negatively affected it in the first place.
Assess other areas of your life and see how you can optimize them so that they support great mental health. Examples include, diet, exercise, sleep, relationships, your physical environment, how you structure your day etc. Choose one area and decide one way that you are going to take action then move onto another area. Over a few weeks and months this will lead to monumental change. If you need support in any of these areas reach out to experts who can help you make the journey easier.
Comment and let me know below if these resonate with you and if you have noticed any other common mistakes that people make!
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing” ~ Winston Churchill