Am I happy all the time? No. Am I totally free from worry and anxiety? Absolutely not. I highly doubt anyone alive and breathing would answer yes to these questions. In improving our mental state, the goal is not about becoming some perfect being who is floating on a happy cloud all the time. Being happy and mentally healthy is not about that. It is about feeling good more of the time. It is about learning to handle the lower moments better. It is about learning how to gain better control of our minds so our thoughts do not destroy us. As someone who was sick of battling intense anxiety and a negative outlook on life, I found ways to dig myself out of that hole and I became the type of person I never thought possible. Here are three ways I accomplished this goal, a goal I believe anyone can accomplish if she is willing to work on herself.
It is difficult to definitively say there is one best way to improve our mental well-being—different things work for different people. But, with that being said, I would have to say that meditation should be a key ingredient in anyone’s mental health improvement plan. So much of our suffering in life is not due to our actual circumstances, but rather, how we are viewing our circumstances. It comes from the distorted view we have of ourselves. Meditation helps us change perspective. It helps silence that inner critic. It helps us gain control of that raging river of thoughts that runs through our minds unchecked. Once we begin to slow down mentally, we are better able to redirect our thoughts. We become better at simply observing, rather than judging or getting swept up in the thoughts and emotions that strike. We learn to respond rather than react to situations we encounter, and this does wonders for our stress levels.
One of the greatest causes of our mental woes is the lack of gratitude for all we have in life. We get consumed with our worries, frustrations and unmet desires. We focus in on all that is ‘’wrong’’ with our lives. This creates depression, anxiety and a host of other internal issues. When we live in a modern society where are all our basic needs are met, we naturally shift our attention to the things we want. We take all the other stuff for granted because we have never experienced a life without it. One of the biggest shifts in my mental health came when I started practicing gratitude for all the things I had, things I just took for granted, like my health and living in a stable environment rife with abundant opportunity. It is okay to want more out of life, but in your quest for all that other stuff, don’t forget to be thankful for all the stuff you already have. No matter what you think is wrong with your life now, I assure you there are at least a couple of things that are right. Make a list of all the things you can be grateful for in your life. No matter how small something may seem, write it down. The more you bring these good things into your awareness, the more your attitude will begin to shift.
Took Better Care of My Physical Body
Our mental and physical health are deeply connected, and this is something that the modern medical community is truly starting to realize. When I made the decision to pursue a healthier mental state, I soon realized that I could not neglect my physical body. I figured out I needed to take a holistic approach. How we treat our body affects our mind. The nutrients in healthy foods affect all sorts of things in the body that affect how we feel. They impact our energy levels and brain chemistry. When we take good care of ourselves, we alleviate the guilt, self-loathing and judgment that comes from knowing we are being unhealthy and knowing we should be making better choices.
No matter how you feel now, you can feel better. I assure you. The first step is deciding you want to change how you are now. Once you make that intention, you will figure out the exact things you need to do. These are just a few powerful tips.