The walk of life has obstacles. In fact, it has lots of them. Everyone has them. They vary in size and severity. As we continue on living our daily life it’s easy for us to let them wear us down, especially if we don’t address them. The key is addressing them before they take over.
The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. With the goal of spreading the message that taking care of our mental health is critical to our wellbeing. Here are three things that you can start practicing today to start reframing your thoughts and boosting your own mental health.
Identify your circle of control
Grab a piece of paper, sit down, and write down all of the things you think about and worry about on a regular basis. Give yourself some time, because it may take a while. Think about each one and decide whether or not you personally have control over it or not. If you are a visual person, you can categorize them under “things I can control” and “things I cannot control.” Use this as a tool to help you identify how often you are spending your time thinking about things that are beyond your control. Help yourself find ways to focus your time and energy that you do have control over. This can help you reframe your thoughts and decrease the feelings of stress and anxiety.
Pay attention to your internal narrative. How do you talk to yourself? Is it the same way you would talk to your family, friends, or co-workers? When you negatively talk yourself down, you trick your brain into believing it. Shift your thinking about tough subjects into a positive light. Examples could be:
Instead of: There isn’t enough time.
Try: Let’s reevaluate my priorities
Instead of: I’m a failure, I should have done it better.
Try: I’m disappointed, but I’ll learn from this experience and be more prepared next time.
Instead of: It’s time for my daily punishment of being overweight, I have to go to the gym
Try: Whenever I’m done exercising I feel re-energized and in control.
Identify what you are grateful for
No matter how bad things are, you can almost always find something to be grateful for. It requires you to pay attention to the positive parts in your life, no matter how big or small. Examples of things that you could be grateful for is the gas in your vehicle to get you where you want to go, the person you are able to call just to talk, or the roof over your head where you sleep at night. You can start by simply thinking about the things you are grateful for today. You could also journal them, send a note or card to someone you are grateful for and tell them why, or talk about them with your family members at the dinner table. There isn’t a wrong way to do it.
Practice makes progress. Like all good things, you won’t see an immediate shift over night. As you consistently practice these things, you can start to see an improvement in your outlook and decrease your feelings of stress and anxiety.
It’s important that you take care of yourself. If you are struggling with your mental health, please reach out to your health care provider. If you need urgent help, call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357