What is mental health? How do get to be mentally healthy and how do we maintain it?
In this podcast I will share with you:
- 4 Things Mentally Healthy People Do
- 10 areas that contribute to mental health
- 7 Ways to Maintain your Mental Health
You don’t want to miss this one!
Today I want to talk to you about mental health. I think it is something we are really lacking in today’s world and something that is so important. Most people think that mental health is just a lack of mental illness. A lack of depression or anxiety. I also think some people think they are mentally healthy because they don’t have a diagnosed mental illness like bipolar or schizophrenia. But what I want to offer you today is that mental health is not just a lack of mental illness, but it is a state of awareness and well-being. It determines how we handle stress, how we relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is about mindfulness and where your thoughts and intentions are at all times.
Now that being said, if you suffer from mental illness from a chemical imbalance, I think you can still achieve mental health with the help of medication. I think medication is also helpful to get someone to the point where they can be more mindful and shift their thinking so that they can get mentally healthy and don’t have to be on medication anymore if they don’t have a chemical imbalance.
There is so much to mental health that I want to talk about today. What does it mean to be mentally healthy and how to get there. But first WHY? Why do we want to be mentally healthy?
I was to a podcast and the host was interviewing Rachel Hollis. If you don’t know who she is, she is a female entrepreneur and runs a lifestyle website. She recently came out with a book called “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop believing the lies about who you think you are so you can become who you were meant to be” I’ve heard great things about this book and I think it encompasses a lot of things we talk about here on the podcast and in my coaching program. But on this particular podcast I was listening to, she said as she was writing this book she was looking back over the hardest things in her life and the whole time she was trying to figure out how to SUFFER less. And I was thinking about that and isn’t that what we all want? We want to suffer less? And whether the situations truly hard, or we just find it hard because of where we are in our life, it is still suffering. And that is what Life Coaching does for people. We teach you what you can do to suffer less. We think that our circumstances are causing our suffering, but really they aren’t. It’s our thoughts and how we are dealing with our circumstances that cause our suffering.
But someone who is mentally healthy is able to deal with those circumstances a lot better. I see these posts on facebook of women who are constantly struggling with anxiety about driving places, and going to their kids soccer game, and making a phone call to make a doctor appointment. And all of that is suffering! And that is not healthy! And that is no way to live! That is not what Heavenly Father wants for us! He wants us to be brave and courageous and confident in our abilities to deal with anything that comes. I want that for you! For you to feel confident and empowered, and that you can deal with whatever.
For example – I was talking to a friend of mine this morning. She is the one who originally introduced me to Life Coaching and has been getting coached herself. May is always a crazy month for everyone – I call it May Madness! Along with all the end of the year school stuff, sports, she also has her birthday, her husbands birthday, and 3 of her kids birthdays. And May is usually just so insane. But this year, even though she just had just as much stuff as she always does, she suffered less! Because of what she has learned about thought work and life coaching, she was able to more easily deal with the stress and challenges that came up. And looking back, it was the same thing for me! I always feel so stressed in the Spring with sports and all of the kids stuff and I just haven’t this year. I was able to handle things so much better and SUFFER less!
So mentally healthy people know how to SUFFER less. They also….
Positive mental health allows people to
- Cope with the stresses of life
- Reach their full potential
- Work productively
- Make meaningful contributions to their communities
How do we become mentally healthy?
The first thing is self-care. Self-care, especially as women, gets put on the back burner. We take care of everyone else before we take care of our own needs. We take whatever time is left over for ourself instead of prioritizing it and making it one of the first things. So in order to have good mental health I first want you to put your own Self-Care at the the top of the list. I want you to schedule it in your calendar every single day. Now what does self care mean? It is different for everyone. For some it is eating healthy, exercising, meditation, prayer, scripture study. For some it might be taking some time to read a book or take a hot bath. Maybe go get your nails done or get a massage. Getting yourself in a place where your thoughts and intentions are on the right track and you can focus on what you want for yourself and for those around you that day.
I was recently listening to the 3 in 30 podcast and Rachel Nielsen had on Dr. Leah Weiss, who is a professor in the Stanford School of Business and she’s written a book called “How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim your sanity, and embrace the daily grind.” In it she talks about when she was in college she went and studied in Northern Indian with Tibetan Refugees. She says that the word “meditation” is a translation from the Tibetan word “gom” (gome) which means something more like “familiarization” or “getting to know your mind and heart.” And really it’s not something you do on a meditation pillow for 5 minutes in the morning, and 5 minutes in the evening, but its really something you can do all the time. Getting to know yourself and where you intentions lie.
She also talks about mindfulness. And mindfulness is the Intentional use of attention. Now the Tibetans have been using this for thousands of years, but modern research backs it up that Mindfulness is how we make meaningful progress in our life.
Our minds wander 49% of the time. That’s normal. But paying attention to that wandering and pulling things back gives us progress.
The Tibetans have a 3-part mindfulness process called Dampa Sume – which means 3 good principles, or 3 good things. And what it entails is that when you are going to do something, you need to first think about it and what your intentions are with it. What do you want it to be. Then when you are doing it, remember those intentions. If you get distracted, try to get back to those intentions as soon as you can. And then when you are done, reflect on what happened. Then start again.
I like to do this as part of my self-care at the beginning of each day. With my scripture study, ensign reading, and prayer. And I include Heavenly Father in setting my intentions for the day. I specifically ask what I can do to serve Him and serve others. I really feel that setting your intentions is the key to personal revelation. And I am so delighted when I am inspired for certain service opportunities that come up throughout the day and I am able to follow through with my intentions. And then at the end of the day I reflect on those things and write about them in a gratitude journal.
I also set my intentions during the day with my eating habits, how I spend my time for work and with my children. How I want to show up in my marriage and with my husband. Sometimes its an all day practice, and sometimes its a little event or task. But there is intention and thoughtfulness behind it. And once you begin to focus on those things as you go about your day you will find you are looking outside of yourself and you are so much happier. You will also find you are so much more productive as you set your intentions for each task. Your mental health is so much better when you are constantly setting those intentions and living up to them, not with perfection, but with progress and compassion.
You also have to value your self-care above anything anyone else says about you. You know what is true and you need to be confident in that.
Checklist of mental health
- 1. Future plans – Believe in your capacity and your abilities. Have big goals that stretch yourself. Five years down the road 10 years down the road.
- 2. Emotional balanced – Having both positive and negative emotions. Be willing to experience and process negative emotions.
- 3. Little or no buffering – Seeking falls pleasure as an escape to negative emotion. Escaping your relationship with yourself and negative emotions
- 4. Take action – set your intentions and follow through
- 5. Internal control. Control yourself and not try to control others or your environment
- 6. Self-coach yourself (use model) everyday
- 7. Contribution – create value in your life or on the world
- 8. Unconditional self love – Grace for your mistakes and failures
- 9. Time management- keep a time journal. See where you are really spending your time each day. Is it matching up to your intentions and your priorities?
- 10. Money management – It doesn’t matter how much money you have, only how you manage it.
Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
- Getting professional help if you need it
- Connecting with others
- Staying positive (change your thoughts)
- Getting physically active (change your state)
- Helping others
- Getting enough sleep
- Developing coping skills
On next week’s podcast I am going to share with you my own personal journey to mental health. It did start with mental illness and has been a long process. And it’s kind of hard to share and very vulnerable, but as Brene Brown (one of my favorite mentors) says “Vulnerability is where connection is created” and I want to connect with you as my audience and I want you to connect with me. I think so many times you listen to people on podcasts or in books and you think..”oh they are just so perfect and I can’t be like that.” But I want you to understand that I am so far from that. And while things are going really good for me right now, I am mentally healthy now, I have no always been this way. It has been a lot of really hard work to get where I am now. But it is possible! It is possible to go from mental illness or just being mentally unhealthy to being mentally healthy. I want that for you and that is what I am trying to communicate to you about in this podcast and what I teach my clients in my coaching program. I want you to see how amazing you already are and what the possibilities are for YOU, because if I can do it, so can you!