Understanding and developing good mental health is a complex area. Before you read on, remember that we are all unique, made up of our own special ingredients and that’s what makes us one of a kind. You are one of a kind that has a special place in this world; you will leave a legacy in this world for being you, and you are an important part of the human race. Never ever forget that.
YOU are important.
No one can be happy all the time, can they?
If you’re happy all the time then surely you don’t experience real elation and a true sense of well-being. Unless you experience the ups with the downs and the downs with the ups then you don’t get real balance in your life to experience what happiness really is, and what true sadness feels like.
One thing we do know is that no other human being can feel exactly what you are feeling. They can only empathise and sympathise. So, the next time someone tells you, “I know what you feel like,” your simple response should be “No you don’t, because you are not me.”
We are all unique, and that’s your starting point for you to really understand yourself.
It’s part of life, riding the rollercoaster. Those terrible moments when everything goes wrong. All the wrongs and the bad things come together at the same time and you ask yourself ‘why me?’ ‘Why now?’ That’s the rollercoaster stuck at the bottom, but trust me, the wheels will turn again and you will ride up the the highest point and keep riding that rollercoaster.
Some things in life we cannot control. However, what we can choose to control for good mental health is to know how we as individuals can best cope with, and in difficult, challenging and dark times; stressful, anxious and traumatic times, by knowing ourselves better and truly understanding our own mental health.
Here’s something for you to consider.
‘Do you really KNOW yourself?’
Before you start rolling your eyes and shouting at the screen saying what a stupid question. Think about this.
If you are in a grumpy mood and you KNOW you’re in a grumpy mood, then why do you still choose to be in that grumpy mood and maybe take it out on your nearest and dearest when that’s all you want to do is get it out of your system. Why choose another person to take it out on? We all do it sometimes because we need someone to share it with, shout it out, or even let them know there is something wrong.
It’s part of human nature and our DNA to call for help when our mental non-coping mechanisms kick in. You’re not the only one, we all do it (well, some a lot more than others). But, if we continue to do it a lot of the time and make others miserable as well as ourselves, then we really don’t KNOW ourselves and the strategies we need to help ourselves through those ‘grumpy’ times.
Good mental health is you KNOWING yourself.
You knowing yourself well enough and being able to spot the inside out triggers, just incase your mild grumpy moments turn into real angry shouting matches or even worse, you take out on yourself and begin to get ‘down’ or ‘depressed’ is what an understanding of your mental health is about.
Here are some simple suggestions you may like to try – even when you’re in that grumpy mood!
The Positive Things
Think of all the positive things you’ve done and achieved so far that day – even if you’re just getting out of bed. Getting out of bed can sometimes be a great achievement if you’re feeling a little low. Wherever you are, either write them down, jot them in your phone, or just mentally run through the list. For every positive thing you’ve done, give yourself a little smile. Lots of little smiles add up to giant ones!
Daily quiet time is important. When I mean quiet time, I don’t necessarily mean being silent (although that works for me), try making an appointment with yourself that’s time for YOU. Some people I have worked with like a Sudoku, some like a jigsaw, others like to read, or doodle for a little while. Whatever works for you is the best ingredient for your quiet time. As one lady once told me, her only quiet time was in the bathroom away from the children and her large family, it works for her. What works for you then formulates your journey into the ‘KNOWING ME’ part of good, healthy mental health.
I love a good vent, don’t we all? There’s huffing and puffing and blowing all the bad things away, which is different to huffing and puffing at someone. But the best type of venting is knowing how to breathe properly and slowly exhaling the knots and inside worries away.
Think of your mouth as the opening of a balloon. Take a deep breath in, not raising your shoulders but extending your abdomen, as if the balloon is between your stomach and underneath the top part of your chest or your breast bone. The best way to practise this is to lay on the floor with a set of books on your waist area and as you breathe deeply you should see the books raise up. As you exhale slowly the books drop down to their original position. Good to try with the children in your family too as this teaches them correct breathing techniques. It’s what all good opera singers do – no, you’re not auditioning for Covent Garden, but what you are doing is breathing correctly to vent everything away. You will soon be able to do this standing up anywhere and everywhere, even in a frustrating supermarket queue. Try it and let me know how you get on.
Getting fresh air and doing gentle exercise is good for us all. When you’re not feeling quite yourself, sometimes this is the last thing you want to do. Push yourself just to get out the door. Smell the air, and even a few steps are better than no steps. You will feel better at the end of it and you can increase your steps daily and eventually get a good walk down at the seaside or up on a windy mountain. You’ll be surprised what magic those two places have in taking all the pressures on your shoulders away.
Without overwhelming you, try these simple steps for good mental and emotional health to begin with. In Part 2 I will give you some more simple steps to save those smiles and look forward to your thoughts on these.
Sending you all super smiles and a little video gift…..
Send your selfie smiles to @musicmind on Twitter if you fancy being in Part 2 of this series.