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.
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.
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.
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.
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!