Making Your Mental Health a Priority
1. List your priorities.
Take some time to look at the big picture. Are there areas of your life where you know you could make improvements? Devote some of your attention to figuring out which of these areas is most important to you.
- One of your priorities might be developing a more positive relationship with your sister.
- Another priority might be figuring out how to maintain a healthy work-life balance, good physical health, fulfilling relationships, and a satisfying spiritual life. Figuring out what you most want to improve can help you figure out the most productive path.
2. Take a self-assessment.
In addition to traditional intelligence, everyone has what is known as “emotional intelligence” or EQ. EQ refers to how well you understand your emotions and actions. Figuring out your EQ is a great place to start if you are looking to improve your mental and emotional well being.
- You can find online assessment tools to help you figure out your results.
- A mental health specialist can also help you determine your EQ. This will help you figure out which areas need the most improvement.
- For example, maybe you’ll learn that you are not great at acknowledging your emotions. That could give you a starting point for improvement.
3. Set goals.
After you have completed your self-assessment, you can clearly identify the areas you would like to focus on improving. Take time to set some clear, attainable goals. These can be both long term and short term goals.
- For example, maybe you will set a goal of meditating for 10 minutes every day. That is a short term goal.
- You might say, “I would like to feel more confident in my conflict resolution strategies by the end of the year.” That’s more of a long term goal.
- Write down your goals. This will help you solidify them and make you more likely to commit.
4. Process your emotions.
An important part of improving your emotional well-being is learning to acknowledge your emotions. Sometimes it might feel simpler to shove aside an uncomfortable emotion. However, it is important to process your emotions. Processing your emotions is a multi-step process. This process includes:
- Sensing. This is when you notice the way you are feeling. There might be a physical sensation associated with this emotion. For example, you might feel sad and notice a feeling of heaviness or tightness in your chest.
- Naming. This is when you apply a name to the emotion. For example, you might decide that what you are feeling is sadness.
- Attributing. This is when you try to find the source of the emotion that you are having. For example, you might attribute a feeling of sadness to a bad day at work or a falling out with a friend.
- Evaluating. This is when you think about how having the emotion makes you feel. For example, you might note that you feel angry for feeling sad or uncomfortable for feeling sad. This may be a result of your background or culture.
- Acting. This is when you decide what you are going to do to express or cope with the emotion. For example, if you are feeling sad, then you might decide to write about it, go for a walk, call someone, or just sit and do nothing for a while.
5. Learn how to identify and deal with your triggers.
Everyone has different triggers. Yours might be certain people, situations, or places. To cope with your triggers, take some time to figure out what they are and develop plans for how to deal with them.
- For example, you might note that you get anxious whenever you are around your sister, so she might be a trigger for you. Therefore, you might develop a plan to cope when you are around her, such as keeping to light topics of conversation, setting a time limit for your visits, or bringing a friend along to act as a source of support.
6. Gather information.
Avoid the stigma that mental health issues are somehow not “real” problems. Your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Take some time to learn about the importance of your mental health.
- Head to the library. Look for some books about the value of taking good care of your mental health.
- Research different ways to improve your emotional well being. For example, you might visit a yoga studio to ask them about the mental benefits of practicing yoga.
Choosing Healthy Activities
1. Have fun.
Good news! Experts say that playing might actually be good for you. A great way to boost your mood is to make time to do something fun.Think of some new ways to enjoy yourself.
- Organize a game night. Invite your friends over for board games or cards.
- Head to the park. Swinging is just as much fun for adults as it is for kids.
- Make more jokes. Try something as simple as saying, “Lovely weather, isn’t it?” while you’re waiting for the bus in a downpour. It may not be original, but the act of making a joke can improve your mood.