What Else Can I Do To Feel Better With My Mental Health?
What Else Can I Do To Feel Better With My Mental Health?
Dear Tacit,

I struggle with Mental Health issues.  I see a counsellor – have supports to lean on – and have a routine I follow to make sure I can function.  But how do I figure out what else I need to do to feel better?

Signed: Figuring Out The Next Steps

Dear Figuring out The Next Steps,

Good question.  Think about when you are going on a trip.  What is one of the first things you have to figure out, before you dive into all of the work to make the trip happen?  One of the most important things is to determine where you want to go.  And it is no different with our journey towards mental wellness.  We need a firm vision of who it is we want to be if the mental health issue was not so prevalent.  We need to visualize how we would be living life at that point.  Once we have the end result in mind, we can take steps to plan how we will get there.  And we will also be much better able to recognize it when we arrive.

Start with a vision of your destination.  Who would you be if you didn’t have to deal with the mental health issues so much?  Consider all the angles (your therapist and friends can help you flesh this out) of what life will be like when you feel stronger, happier, more confident, etc.  Break the image into very small parts – and visualize the tiniest details of each.  (The more specific you can be, the easier it is to make it a reality.)

Here are some prompts to get you started:  Where would you be living – who would be around you (friends, family, etc) – who would you surround yourself with and in what capacity?  Think about your job – what would you like to do – where would the job be – how would it be fulfilling for you?  What would your physical and mental health look like, if you were at your best – and what would you be doing (daily, weekly, etc) to ensure this happened?  Would there be someone special in your life – a partner to share it with?  And what attributes would that person need to have?  How would the highlights of those relationships look – and what about the day-to-day interactions?  What kinds of things would you be doing for fun?  What hobbies or activities would you embrace, alone and with others?  How would you give back to or help support others?  What little moments would add to your overall feelings of satisfaction, contentment and fulfillment, if you could do anything?

Then add a personal mission statement – a motivating reminder that lights a fire in your willpower, especially when things get tough.   This mission statement has to tie into who you really are – your values as a person, and your beliefs about what you deserve/want out of life for yourself.  It will be your anchor (when things get stormy) and your compass (to guide you in the right direction at all times).  Think about the people you admire – the role models you have – the strengths and characteristics of the people who have achieved what you are wanting.  What values and drive did they ascribe to?  What made them so amazing to you?  Now think of these same things in terms of your own self.  How will you wish to be remembered by others?  Whose lives will you have touched in some positive way? Create a mantra to say to yourself that keeps you on the steady path.

Finally, using your destination and your mission statement together, start to build a ladder.  This ladder will be full of rungs, each with very small spaces between them.   Every rung of the ladder has one purpose – to move you every so slightly towards your destination.  If any rung of the ladder does not do this, it can be removed.  Each rung is specifically contained – it has its own end goal, and it is designed around a realistic timeline for achievement.  If it gets too difficult to accomplish any rung of the ladder, pause and break it down into a few smaller parts.   Stop looking at the top of the ladder (you will be tempted to always gaze ahead – but those rungs will change as they get closer – don’t waste time on them until it is their turn).  And just pay attention to the rung that is right in front of you.  Focus on what it will take to succeed with that one!  And then with the next one – and so on!

Connecting to yourself intrinsically will help you with the steps you have already taken to create a stable and supportive external environment for your life!  Together, both will help you find the balance you need to live in a place of mental wellness, no matter what is happening!

Take care!

Have a question? Please feel free to reach out to us at counsellors@tacitknows.com. You answer will be provided confidentially. 

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