Resources for a healthy mind

Archer 5x11_00045

I have often daydreamed about walking into the sea, like Leonard Rossiter. But the sea can be quite nippy. I’ve also thought about opening a record store. But then there’s all the admin that goes with that.

I think it would be nice to stop worrying about things, and enjoy my life instead. A few bad things happened, and my brain temporarily shut down, and then my body joined the rebellion. There was a lot of pooing. But, it enabled me to stop and take stock, and revisit some of the techniques I learnt over the last five years of studying cognitive behavioural therapy.

It’s easy for things to spiral out of control, and even when you recognise that your fears are irrational, ‘don’t worry’ or ‘try to relax’ may do little to improve your mood. We need reasons to believe in something.

I lost a work contract, and I poured water over this seed, and watched it grow into something all encompassing. I had to leave social media for a bit. People portray a carefully constructed image of their lives, and the only real thing about it is the effect it may have on the reader. They’ll publish their successes, but they’re no different to you. They have setbacks and all. It’s easy to look at people who are where you want to be, and dismiss their flaws, focusing on the things that have gone wrong for you.

Make a plan and stick to it.

These don’t have to be big. You can have big ideas and aspirations, but it’s important to identify the next thing you need to do to get where you want to be, and then do it. We often don’t bother, because we don’t think it would make any difference. If I look at my successes, most are happy accidents that have come from working towards something, and taking opportunities as they come. They’ve all been vaguely planned, but have evolved. You can’t predict what will happen, but you can control what you do right now to influence the future.

People who appear to effortlessly bounce back from stressful circumstances are resilient folk, and if you don’t feel like you’re able to replicate their response, it can provoke feelings of weakness and inadequacy. Sure there are naturally resilient people walking amongst us, but it’s something most of us have to work on.

Develop a strong support network.

It’s important to develop a network that works for you. Because, you know – you are you, and not a robot or a replica of anyone else. It may be your family, it may be exclusively online, on a forum – on twitter. It doesn’t really matter, because it’s yours. Make connections and accept help from people. Help other people. When you feel like shit, it can be hard to believe that you may be able to offer somebody else some help, but it can be mutually beneficial.

Focus on your strengths and abilities, and have confidence in them. Stressful events are going to happen. The key here is to change how you interpret and respond to your problems. Adverse situations may mean that some of your goals may no longer be attainable. If you are able to accept the circumstances beyond your control, you can focus on the things you can change. Detaching yourself from your problems is the natural response, and if you do that, don’t be hard on yourself.

There are a whole bunch of things that can aid you in feeling better. It really depends on you, and what you need right now. I could say avoid alcohol, cigarettes, drugs. Eat bananas, oily fish, take up swimming, but if you are clambering up the walls, or cocooned under a duvet unable to move, you don’t want to hear that. The same theories can be used though. If you are feeling terrible, do the very next thing you can. Take a shower, change your bedding, try to go for a walk to the shops. It’s about you, and what you need right now.

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