Improving Your Mental Health
We hear so much about mental health lately, but we rarely define what mental health is and how it looks like. I love Daniel Siegel’s definition of the mind. He defines it as “an embodied and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information”. This means that it has to do with our bodies, with sensations, emotions, feelings, thoughts in relationship, thus our relationship with our own internal processes as well as with relationship with our environment, with other humans, with all beings. Our mind would be that process which regulates the energy and the information that flows from our relationship with all, internal and external. Sometimes this process is not able to regulate this information and energy, leading us to states of rigidity or states of chaos. These states would be, for example, depression or anxiety. These states reflect a series of emotions that we might not be aware are there or we are pushing away to avoid pain and relational conflict/disconnection. So, a key element for a healthy mind is awareness. We need to be able to observe and pay attention to what is happening inside of us and how it impacts relationships, and how relationships impact what happens inside.
How to Improve your mental health each day
Make time for yourself.Make sure that this time is quality time, time to bring awareness to your feelings, to our needs. Life can get busy, and we forget how crucial it is to focus on ourselves and tend to our needs. Spend some time enjoying, for example: a long warm bath with some drops of lavender essential oil, reading your favorite book, being out in nature or spending time engaging in your hobbies. The key is to be in the moment, to take in those moments.
Do things you enjoy and take them in. Each day we may be faced doing tasks we do not enjoy, so it’s important to incorporate things that you do enjoy into your daily life. This could mean getting together with friends and family, unwinding with your favorite show, self-care, cuddling with pets or listening to your favorite songs, it’s important to make these things a priority.
Learn to say No. Sometimes It can seem like we are constantly being pulled in many different directions from situations that were challenging to say no to, this happens because at times we don’t want to let anyone down or we feel obligated to do things for others. By learning to say no allows you to set boundaries in your relationships and set realistic expectations from others. Saying no and setting boundaries are an essential component of self-compassion and self-care.
Listen to Guilt and see what it is trying to teach you. Guilt is a very tricky emotion. It can be a source of feeling paralyzed and stuck, or it can become a source of motivation and wisdom. It is important to listen to guilt…guilt can be like a compass that guides you when you might have hurt someone, in such a case, it can move you towards repair. Sometimes, guilt comes up in a more irrational way, in a way of an inner critic that is too harsh. In such a case, see if you can ask guilt, if it could become a Yoda, what is it there to teach you.
By implicating these 4 important aspects into your daily life, it will not only help you improve your mental health but also allow you to experience life in a different light.