Mental health is an extremely essential part of us. The way we respond, think, feel, perceive certain aspects of our lives, interact with our environment and within our interpersonal relationships, etc. go back to the core of how we treat our mind and our mental well-being. However, most of us fail to pay attention to even the minutest of details that fall under mental health. For instance, we may believe that avoiding experiences and emotions that make us uncomfortable is a way of keeping our mind safe hence, avoidance here is used as a coping mechanism. We may use ‘bottling’ as a way to deal with difficult emotions by suppressing everything that causes us pain deep under into our unconscious, almost like it never existed, with little idea of how the same pain can come back in the most unintentional ways, breaking us beyond the limit of our capacity. We may also engage in using several defense mechanisms such as living in denial where we consciously don’t want to accept something which is painful, or projection, where we project our own unhappiness or something we did onto others in order to push away the responsibility and patience that comes with it.
As and when you read this, try identifying the form or pattern you most resonate or relate to. Do you use denial often? Do you bottle up your emotions? Do you project your pain onto others? This is what comes in the way of our mental health, the simple idea behind our own failure to acknowledge and understand what patterns we are indulging and engaging in. Without acknowledgment, it’s automatically going to transform into a never-ending vicious cycle which seems impossible to detach ourselves out of. We may know what’s good for us but our mind is trained to do the exact opposite – repeatedly putting ourselves back in patterns and situations which make us resentful of ourselves and bring about hopelessness to feel any better.
The five ways to keep your mind safe!
Acknowledge, Identify and Understand:
This is an extremely crucial step in keeping our mind safe. We must acknowledge the direction our mind is taking us to, we must acknowledge our difficult emotions, sit with them and think –
- This is what I’m feeling, now let me understand why I am feeling like this?
- How have I been coping with these emotions?
- What can I do differently?
The truth is, without identifying and understanding certain emotions and thoughts and where they come from, it’s impossible to bring about any kind of change in terms of our interactions and responses. We must acknowledge to heal and to consciously detach ourselves from people and things that make us unhappy and attach ourselves to the people and things that bring out the best in us.
Living in denial and resentment is harmful as it prevents us from moving forward and from reaching a point where we can finally say “I accept this situation as it is, and there’s nothing I can do about it other than focus on the present moment and the people and things that I still have.” A lot of situations in our lives won’t go as planned, we may face multiple failures and rejections, lose the most important people in our lives, people we once considered close to us but to dwell on the idea of our failures, or on the idea of letting go is never going to bring us peace. To accept the situation as it is and letting go without resentment, anger and willingness is what puts us on the path where we can finally be resilient and strong enough to move forward.
Who is/are going to be there for you?
Our interpersonal relationships are an extremely important part of us. We all have certain people in our lives who are consistently there for us, people we can depend on, who support us through thick and thin, stick by us not only through the brightest days but also through our lonesome dark days, and people who we know have a special place in our heart. Focus on the people who are a combination of all the aspects you want in any form of relationship. We tend to attach ourselves to people who bring about the worst version of ourselves or people who we believe are going to be there for us primarily because we are there for them, and this can lead to feeling mentally drained, unloved and unworthy. It’s important to identify the patterns of all our relationships and distinguish between what we want and what we have. To have even a small knit of people who are present rather than a large number of people who just exist, is everything and more.
When some of us slip, have a moment of weakness or face failure, we tend to be extremely hard on ourselves, blame ourselves and in most cases hate ourselves for falling back into that cycle but self-compassion is not resenting yourself for the mistakes you made, for the genuine feelings you had or the failures you faced. It’s important to be aware of the idea that it’s not a bad thing, it doesn’t make you weak or worthless, it just makes you human. When we recognize our pain and suffering, we begin to act compassionately towards ourselves, in turn validating our emotions and experience. We are gentle with ourselves in times when we feel like we’re going to fall apart or when we face any failures, we step onto the path of positively relating to ourselves rather than negatively looking at ourselves. To be compassionate towards yourself is a way to keep your mind safe and prevent yourself from incessant suffering.
Although a little stress can be a great motivator and help you sustain your ability and focus towards the goals you want to achieve, it can also limit your capacity when you are taking stress beyond the limit of your mental health and ability to handle it. It’s important for each of us to acknowledge how much stress we can take, when we need a break, and till what point is “being stressed” still helping us. “Is the amount of stress I am taking helping me move forward or disrupting my ability to move forward and instead fall into a downward spiral?” Know when to draw the line and set boundaries.
To conclude, we must dive deeper into our inner world to keep our minds safe as no one can do it for us. Our mind takes in what we feed them, similar to how the body functions. Give your mind the same priority you give your body because it’s as important, if not more. Reflect back on the article and identify how many of the five ways do you engage in or do not engage in from time-to-time. Acknowledge, reflect and understand what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. It’s never too late to make the changes we need in order to become better and more resilient versions of ourselves.
Find a BUDDY to share all your problems with (even anonymously, if you want) on the FeelJoy Mobile App available for all Android users.