Self-Awareness: The First Step To Achieving A Sound Mental Health

Being mentally healthy is not just a state of being free from mental illnesses. It is also a condition wherein you can positively cope with stress, work productively, and function with your full potential.

Achieving sound mental health takes a lot of work, from checking up on your thoughts to changing habits. But what is the first step to being mentally healthy?

Mental Health And Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is a psychological mechanism influencing your personal development. It is a way for us to identify our personalities and coping mechanisms.

Simply put, self-awareness is the ability to check up on your mental health. Checking up on your mental state can help you identify habits or mechanisms you want to change to improve your well-being.

Being self-aware also helps us identify triggers to anxiety, stress, or depression. It also enables us to check for symptoms we might have of mental disorders. The earlier we notice symptoms, the earlier we can seek treatment.

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How To Start Being Self-Aware
You can start achieving self-awareness by pausing and evaluating yourself. Give yourself short breaks in between heavy workloads and take a breath with a short stroll. While walking around, try thinking about how you’ve been feeling all day. Start making connections between your actions and thoughts resulting from your situation.

Stressful moments can also be opportunities for self-awareness. Assess your situation and the thoughts and feelings resulting from it. While analyzing your thoughts, you can also determine the root causes of your stress. This way, you can avoid situations connected to such root causes and develop better coping strategies to work healthily.

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Keeping a journal will help you track down your thoughts and emotions every day. A collection of your ideas will show you patterns of behavior. Introspection and meditation are also beneficial to keep you diving deeper into your consciousness.

Being self-aware will also allow you to identify the reactions you want to change. You may find a common factor in the different situations upsetting you. As soon as you recognize patterns, you can prepare and control your reactions better.

Self-Awareness And Self-Evaluation
Your thoughts are often rooted in your ideals. Self-awareness allows you to connect your actions and principles with each other. This way, you can evaluate whether or not you are consistent with your own truth.

Besides realigning actions according to your core beliefs, self-awareness can also do the opposite. As you study your thoughts and feelings, you can discover underlying principles you didn’t even know you lived with before.

Self-awareness will let you find out what is important to you. Setting priorities will help you optimize your resources and save lots of your mental and emotional energy.

Being self-aware not only means being aware of your emotions and feelings but also your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your strengths will build your self-esteem while discovering weaknesses will jumpstart your journey towards progress.

Taking Your Self-Awareness A Step Further
Once you become aware of your state of mind, you can start taking it a step further. Change doesn’t have to be significant and abrupt. Start small to ensure slow but steady progress. You can divide big goals into smaller milestones, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

You also need to learn how to celebrate your small victories. But avoid relying on them for validation and happiness. Remember, you are not only defined by your achievements and failures but of your efforts as well.

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Meeting your self-imposed expectations will not only transform your mental health for the better, but it will also benefit your way of thinking towards the idea of progress. When you achieve your set goals, you will feel like you are capable of anything.

However, achieving your goals does not mean halting your introspection. Self-awareness is a continuous process! Continue tracking your thoughts to gain insight on how far you’ve gone or how far you still have to go.

Gaining Support And Seeking Help
Achieving goals and changing by yourself brings a different kind of fulfillment. However, you don’t necessarily have to do it all alone. If there are still changes you can’t seem to improve on your own, you can always seek help from others. Support can be from your family, friends, or mental health professionals.

Your friends and family can be a source of inspiration. There are times when you may feel you’re not making any progress, especially if your steps are small and gradual.

During these moments, you may confide in your friends and family. They can provide you an external perspective and inspire you to continue your journey towards a better self.

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A therapist also helps you manage your emotions and thoughts. Professionally trained therapists and counselors will guide you towards healing. They can also teach you practices you will need to reach your self-imposed goals. The pacing still depends on you, but they will be there to guide you through the journey.

Having sound mental health will unleash your fullest potentials, and self-awareness is the first stage to achieving it. Learn to evaluate and change in a cyclic process until you reach your peak. Start by taking a step back, aligning your thoughts and emotions with your principles, and accomplish all you can be!

9 Situations When A Family May Need Family Counseling

Family is an essential connection that humans have from birth until our last breath. Even so, it is inevitable for families to experience problems, conflicts, and stress. The key to having a well-connected family is through understanding and identifying the needs of each individual. Family counseling is one of the several types of therapies that can help tackle those problems.

Here are some situations when a family may need to undergo family counseling:

Lack Of Communication  

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People tend to change as they grow older. In the dynamics of a family’s relationship, we need to adapt to how each of our family members changes and grows. Communication should flow freely and openly within the family.  When families don’t communicate these changes, it is impossible to reach an understanding of each other.

If you cannot share problems and opinions willingly to your family, who can you run to in times of distress? Family counseling can help the family look more in-depth into how they should be relaying their thoughts and emotions.

When Someone Hold Grudges

If a family member holds a grudge for a long time, it affects the entire family’s relationship. Family counseling can help resolve these conflicts within the family by understanding the perspective of the people involved. Containing and suppressing these feelings often result in unnecessary fights and miscommunications. Often, they will lash out at the person without them knowing the reason why.

Here are some reasons why families may form grudges against each other:

  • Parent/Child Conflict 

Parents often play such a massive part in the child’s earliest development. Thus, issues between parents and children can be especially emotional and deeply rooted.

  • Competition

Competition between siblings is unavoidable. It can get to a point where you may hurt each other’s feelings that can lead to a lifelong conflict.

  • Comparison

For a child, being always compared to their siblings or other children can be very stressful. They can hold grudges on this issue and may result in having low self-esteem and feeling of inferiority.

Neglect

Affection and emotional support are some of the bases of having an emotionally healthy family. Unfortunately, many parents become too focused on making a living to the point where they start neglecting their spouse and children. It’s also the same situation when children ignore their parents because they’re busy having fun with their friends.

If a family lacks attention and affection from each other, they will find other sources to fill that need. Children may turn rebellious, while your partner may look for affection in the arms of someone else. When issues like these arise, it is vital to seek a family counselor before it gets too late.

The Disconnected Family

Do your family members prioritize their gadgets over having a conversation or eating meals together? The more we spend time in the virtual world, the less connection we have with the family. Sometimes, we get too caught up in “connecting” that we tend to forget the people who mean the most to us. 

A family counselor may help you formulate a plan that lessens the use of gadgets in the household to increase physical interactions instead.

Trust Issues

Trust issues are a significant problem that causes division within the family. There are times when a couple fails to be honest with each other. While this can be resolved quickly by sitting down for a conversation, not addressing it may lead to a spiral of problems. Such problems may cause further lack of communication, distrust, and lack of support within the family. It also applies to children who always lie to their parents, making parents doubt what they say.

Depression

It is normal to seek some privacy and solitude when you’re at home. While wanting to enjoy some time alone is okay, it can turn alarming if you see signs of withdrawal from socializing. In some cases, this can be an early sign that they may be suffering from depression or other mental health issues. It can also be a result of falling victim to bullying or abuse, which family counseling can address.  

Addiction

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Any kind of addiction can have a significant impact on a family either in the short or long term. Children who witnessed or experienced addiction from a young age may suffer from its long-term effects. It may often lead to the development of mental and physical disorders. In cases like this, a family counselor may help address the root of the issue of a family member.

Here are some examples of addiction:

  • Substance addiction
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Gambling addiction 
  • Gaming addiction
  • Shopping addiction
  • Social media addiction

Violence

It’s normal to have arguments and quarrels in the household. However, if it turns into physical or verbal violence, the relationship may lead to an abusive path. Experiencing violence at home is the most severe issue among family problems. Thus, immediate counseling is necessary to help stop it from going.

A home should not be a place where people feel threatened. Unfortunately, violence destroys many families and relationships.

Financial Problems

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Financial shortage is a dominant reason why many families develop conflicts. For many parents, debt is the leading cause of their stress. Often, stressful financial situations turn into fights and blame games.

Families with substantial financial capacity also face this problem. If a family member feels they do not receive their fair share, they may feel cheated or disrespected. Families fighting over money can develop into long-term resentment against each other.

Conclusion

Whatever problem there is in the family, it is possible to overcome it by seeking help together.  Whether your loved one needs a diversion from their issue or counseling, the entire family will benefit from family counseling. Family counseling can help navigate those problems and give suggestions on how to deal with it properly.

Life Lessons During Coronavirus Outbreak

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The coronavirus is one of the fiercest enemies you’ll encounter in this lifetime. Every country is practically fighting it by urging the citizens to hide in their homes and avoid going out unless they’re told that it’s safe to do so. Do you hear that? We are fighting by hiding.

Despite that, what else can we do but stay at home like we’re all told? It is better than going out without any vaccine to shield us from the coronavirus. At least, when we remain in one place for a long while, the virus cannot find us. And there’s no shame in retreating from a fight sometimes, especially if you don’t have the necessary weapons to win the battle.

I have thought of a few more life lessons besides that, including:

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Saving Up Is Good

For many years, people always tried to advise me on what to do with my hard-earned money. Some of them that I should save up as much of it as I could. Others told me than I didn’t have to do that at all. Instead, I could choose to invest my money in some businesses and watch it grow on its own.

Well, I feel thankful that I decided to do both of them. I have investments here and there, and then my savings account gets regular deposits.

I am especially grateful for the latter because I need not worry about not having work for at least a couple of months during the quarantine. I know that so many people around the globe are struggling financially because of the pandemic. Instead of waiting for monetary aids, I can even help others with my savings.

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Being An Introvert Is Not Bad These Days

My friends have always called me out for being an introvert. After all, they are the type of people who enjoy talking to strangers while I cannot even stand chatting with them for hours. I prefer to stay at home and be with my dogs instead of going out and socializing with people.

As it turns out, being an introvert is not a curse these days. Between my friends and I, I am the least bothered by this quarantine. I can spend an entire day in my garden doing quarantine while they are getting bored out of their minds. I never feel the need to break the rules; however, they come up with excuses to be able to go out.

Although I would never wish for my friends to contract the coronavirus, I knew that my introversion made me safer than anyone.

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You Can Learn Anything When You Have Nothing Much To Do

I realized this fact when I ran out of bread for the first time during the quarantine. I was never interested in baking, but my local bakery was closed. Then, I saw a YouTube tutorial about it and thought that I should give it a try.

Without the stay-at-home order, I may have never tried baking at all. But now I am aware that I can do it and it’s more fun than I have expected. It shows that you can learn anything when you are left with nothing much to do.

Final Thoughts

We all need to stop protesting about the lockdowns and quarantines that govern different parts of the globe. If it is challenging for some to stay at home, it must be 20 times more difficult for the government officials and frontline workers to try to save us all from the coronavirus. Besides, there’s no reason to complain too much if:

    • You have a comfortable house.
    • You can buy anything you need.
    • You can pick up any hobby you want.

Let’s all try to learn some valuable life lessons during this coronavirus outbreak. Agree?