Strategies For Being Mentally Healthy

River-March2014There is a difference between mental health and mental illness.

Mental illness is a diagnosed condition. Examples are depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorder.

Mental Health is your overall well-being and how you feel; It is often about the absence of mental illness in ones life.

To have good mental health, it is important that one has good self-care. This is when you have ways to relieve stress for yourself when you begin to feel worn down. So how can you smooth out your stress or pick your self back up again? Here are some short-term self-care strategies:

  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Have strong social supports/networks
  • Hug your pet
  • Take a deep breath
  • Take a long, hot shower
  • Go for a long walk
  • Reward yourself
  • Become more aware of nature

These are all unique to each individual. These specific ones may not be helpful for you, so try to discover what helps you. Make your own list and write it down. Place the list somewhere that you know your going to see it multiple times through out the day.

Michael-March2014Stress management is a way to help keep you mental health contingent and is something that can be learned. One of the most effective ways is using self-affirmations. An affirmation is a positive phrase that you repeatedly say to yourself, this is to block out negative and unwanted patterns; you can also make an audio recording and listen to the affirmation. My personal favourite is writing your affirmation down on a piece of paper and again, placing it somewhere that you will see it through out the day, such as a bathroom mirror, or the back of a bedroom door or your desk at work.

Below are some basic examples of negative thoughts and positive affirmations to combat them.

Negative Thoughts Positive thoughts
1. This is unbearable! 1. Maybe things aren’t the way I want them to be. But I can learn to cope with this, and this stress will eventually pass
2. What if this problem never goes away?! 2. I can’t deal with the future. I’ll deal with this one day at a time.
3. I always screw things up! 3. Everyone makes mistakes, even me and that’s okay.

How would you talk to your best friend when they are going through a hard time? You would be supportive, helpful, compassionate, and maybe even try to make them laugh. You wouldn’t call them weak, lame or stupid! Treat yourself the same way you’d treat a best friend. You will find it makes a big difference!

MichaelMarshall_smMichael Marshall
– Concurrent Disorder, 2012

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