Mental health maintenance kit
I – “I” = Self Care
M = Mindfulness
A = Acceptance
Ask yourself if there is anything that you are resisting when you need to accept it? Are there things out of your control that you fight against? Acceptance can take a lot of strain off us. Resistance can lead to unnecessary anxiety and/or depression. Regularly look at your life and learn to accept the way it is at the moment. That doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to want things to change but acceptance frees up our energy to focus on what can influence and change.
Example: I went througha breakup a while back and found it hard to accept. I kept resisitng and hoping we would get back together. Once I accepted the status quo I healed much quicker and was able to move on.
Ask yurself: What am I fighting against that I actually have no control over? Accepting what is can be very liberating.
G = Gratitude
It’s easy to focus on what isn’t right in our lives. The grass can seem greener on the other side and it’s common to want what we don’t have. It’s a great mental skill to practise gratitude as it can instantly help us to feel happier.
Think about what is good in your life, no matter how small. Some people even keep a gratitude journal and write in it daily.
Our default seems to be quite negative and it’s a good strategy to remind us that things aren’t always that bad.
Each day focus on what went well – it could be something as simple as the fact that the sun is shining. We activate different neuarl pathways in our brains when we focus on what is good and this leads to longer lasting levels of satisfaction over time.
I = Interaction
Spending time with others can often bring us the most joy. Being with others releases the feel-good hormone called Oxytocin. Being with others helps us to feel connected and involved. If you find you are avoiding others, it’s important to figure out why. Of course we all need time out but if you systematically avoid people, you are missing out on many happy opportunities.
N = Nurture fun/playfulness
Make time to be silly in life. Laugh often and always maintain a sense of humour. We often take life too seriously and seeing the funny side can lessen the emotional impact if it’s negative. Watch comedies, play games, go skiing, do things that make you smile.
Get in touch with your fun childlike side again.
E = Explore
This involves looking a little deeper into your patterns of behaviour. Identify what your ‘mental diet’ is – that is, what thoughts are you ‘feeding’ yourself? The thoughts we accept and ‘buy into’ will affect our quality of life. Are there any unhelpful thoughts leading you off course – such as mind reading, catastrophising or being self critical? (see the list of unhelpful thinking). If you struggle to understand your behaviour and find that it is causing you issues, Cognitive behavioural therapy could help you uncover deeper issues.
Copyright mandy kloppers/thoughtsonlifeandlove 2019