There is more awareness about mental and emotional health at the moment than there ever was before. More people understand how important it is to make their mental well-being a priority in order to lead a fulfilled life. Most of us are faced with more challenges because we are physically fit but mentally not at peace on some level.
Are you finding it hard to cope with the challenges in your life? Are you constantly judging yourself and others around you? How many times during the day do you question yourself and your existence? Are there times when you simply want to give in to the challenges and give up altogether? Do you find yourself reacting aggressively to everyday situations and scenarios? Do you find it difficult to get up every morning and start the day? Do you feel like you expect too much from yourself and others? Are people falling short of your expectations constantly? Are you low on energy continuously? Do you feel you are not good enough? Well, if your reply to all or some of these questions is in the affirmative then you need to do certain things in order to be mentally and emotionally strong.
Here is how you can lead a better life by working on your mental health.
Wake Up With a Positive Mind
The fact is that most of us do not wake up happy unless we have to catch an early morning flight to go on a dream vacation! So many people say that they are not a ‘morning person’. This is where the change needs to start. We all have to wake up in the morning and start our day whether we like it or not so why not start it with a positive mind? Positive thinking does not come naturally, it comes with practice. Start practicing today by making sure that no matter what lies ahead, you can and you must take control and stop all the negative talk in your mind and replace it with a positive thought. Embrace the reason why you wake up in the morning whether it is housework, a job, or your baby crying – you can go ahead with your day thinking ‘oh I don’t want to do this’ or ‘I can do this and I will do this to the best of my ability.’ The way you start your day will set the tone for everything that ensues.
Don’t Be Afraid of Challenges
You may wake up with a positive mind, ready to slay the day but a challenge or something unexpected could happen that might catch you off guard. This challenge can only affect your mental well-being adversely if you choose to be fearful of it. Our mind is designed to be fearful because it is supposed to save us from what might harm us in any way therefore we need to constantly train our mind not to be fearful of every single situation which is out of the ordinary. Take charge instantly, tell yourself that you can handle this and once you do handle it, you will feel more empowered than ever before. Challenges can be a source of empowerment when we refuse to be fearful of them. They become a source of strength when we decide to overcome them. Believing that you have the capability to do so is really important. All you have to do is to keep on reminding yourself that no challenge is too big if you decide to overcome it. Most of our anxiety comes from being afraid of these challenges, once you embrace them; they are no longer a threat.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Once you have the strength to face everyday challenges, it is really important to challenge yourself consciously. Step out of your comfort zone every now and then, try doing something you are fearful of and appreciate yourself when you manage to succeed. Stepping out of your comfort zone can mean something as small as going out in public and meeting people or it could be a life-changing decision such as filing for a divorce or pursuing higher studies. Challenge yourself continuously in order to keep your mind sharp; do not live life in comfort zones. Such challenges will make your life more meaningful as well.
Be Aware of Self-Talk
Most of us are really conscious and careful while talking to other people. We make sure we do not belittle others and are respectful. This is one of the first lessons everyone is taught, it is so important to be polite and well-mannered. No one ever teaches us to be polite to ourselves. No one ever tells us to be aware of how we talk to ourselves. Every human on this planet has an internal dialogue going on within them yet no one is ever taught as a child to make that dialogue polite and meaningful! While we are busy pleasing people and being politically correct, we are not focused enough on our internal dialogue. Our self-talk can often harm ourselves more than anything anyone says. How you talk to yourself affects you more than anything else anyone else would ever say or do. You can be your biggest motivator or you could be your bitterest bully. That is a conscious choice you make every day. Every time your subconscious mind tells you that you are incapable or not good enough, prove it wrong. Practice thinking positive thoughts and making these thoughts the tool to achieve goals.
Tackling negative self-talk might be a constant struggle for many people. It is therefore highly important to keep changing the narrative in your mind. The kind of self-talk going on inside your mind will determine how you react to a situation and how quickly you bounce back. Positive self-talk will boost your confidence, help you cope with stressful situations, and will keep you motivated constantly.
Focus On Solutions, Not The Problem
Mental strength comes from looking for solutions instead of focusing on the problem. Every time you are faced with a problem, the only way out of it is to focus on the solution. If you keep on concentrating on the problem, it will appear to be bigger than it actually is. A problematic situation will not resolve itself; if it is left unattended it will only intensify. Be a fighter and not an escapist. The Second you are faced with a problematic situation instead of feeling sorry for yourself and thinking about how this could impact you adversely, swing into action, and start working toward finding solutions. There are many different ways in which people can look for solutions. If we condition our minds to focus on the solution, every time we are faced with a problem, we will automatically be more ready to face problems and be strong mentally.
Meditation & Exercise
There are many different ways to meditate and all of them help regain energy and get rid of stressful thoughts. Meditation relaxes the mind and gives it the energy needed to deal with stressful situations. Meditation exercises also help people increase self-awareness, focusing on the present situation, increasing tolerance, and reducing anxiety. It is a way to organize all the jumbled up thoughts in your mind and moving towards action with a more focused mind. Meditation is also a step towards mindfulness, it gives us the opportunity to sit back and observe our own life from a distance. Life is busy and chaotic for most of us, there are hardly any times when we get to sit down and sort things out in our own mind. We are constantly in action therefore it is always needed to pause and be present in the moment. Mindfulness helps us look at our own life objectively and detangle our thoughts.
Physical exercise also has a lot of neurological benefits as well. It does not only help people stay fit physically but also reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise also improves mental health and memory. The way exercise helps our mental well-being is pure science therefore if you want to be mentally strong you need to take up some kind of exercise even if it is a walking routine, especially during the day.
Stop Expecting Too Much From Others
There are so many times when the root cause of our anxiety and depression are expectations from other people. Most of us are constantly looking for validation from others. First of all, we need to stop looking for validation outside ourselves. When we stop doing that, our actions will be directed towards driving self-pleasure instead of pleasing others. When we expect too much from others, very often we try really hard to win their approval. Similarly, we are constantly expecting people to act a certain way, to say certain things, and when they do not do that we are disappointed and feel hurt. In order to stop expecting too much from others, we need to understand their situations, be optimistic, and finding joy within your own self. Do not hand over your happiness to someone else and don’t let other people determine where you stand in life. If you stop expecting, everything someone does for you is a bonus.
Surround Yourself With Uplifting People
While it is really important to not rely on others to make you happy, it is equally important to choose the people you spend time with intelligently. No one can live a secluded life; all of us need a human connection no matter how self-sufficient we are. The good news is that it is entirely in our control who we choose to surround ourselves with. Choosing your company wisely is just as important as not expecting too much from people. When you surround yourself with people who are uplifting and are achievers, they give you the inspiration you need from the outside world. It is equally important to stay away from people who put you down.
Set Priorities & Boundaries
In order to be strong mentally and emotionally setting priorities is a must. If you do not set priorities and boundaries you are walking on a path with your eyes closed. If you do not have a set goal then you can’t be sure where you are headed and where you should be focusing your energy. All of us are constantly balancing different aspects of life; work, relationships, finances, pleasure, and personal growth. Most of us do not really sit down to determine which aspect of our lives will get more attention than others although determining this is extremely important. Subconsciously, we are giving priority to some aspect of our lives more than the other, deciding if it needs to be changed could affect your mental health greatly. Creating boundaries in relationships comes hand in hand with balancing work and finances. Those people who cannot set boundaries in relationships often end up being emotionally exhausted. Setting these boundaries will automatically lead to making you stronger mentally and emotionally since you will be the one in charge.
Do What Makes You Happy
Happiness means different things for different people. Deriving happiness out of small things is the best way to stay strong emotionally and mentally. Sometimes we associate happiness with achieving big goals but that makes us frustrated and stuck in a constant struggle more than anything else. Happiness should be derived from everyday activities which could be something as simple as having coffee with a friend, a meaningful conversation over the phone, a morning walk, watching your favorite movie or show, taking your puppy out for a walk, spending quality time with you children and the list is never-ending. The bottom line is do not wait for someone else to make you happy and do not wait for something big to happen in order to make you happy. Find happiness in small things and make sure that every single day you find time for yourself and do something to make you happy. This ‘something’ does not have to require a lot of time either, it can be something that lasts a few minutes but manages to make you happy. Redefine happiness for yourself and make it more accessible.
Start practicing today!