2017 has so much in store for us, with the sudden and surprising flow of good movies (moonlight, lion, Logan *ahem ahem* go watch them NOW), and the simultaneous memes piling over one another, that new year resolution list(even though its march already) keeps expanding and of course, university/school. A whole another year of it! Yay!! (Definitely sarcasm.) So that just means life is busy, and it only get busier. However, one thing to ask yourself in the midst of this amazing chaos called life is whether or not you have put any thought on how to manage your mental health? Have you? No? Well you can start today!! It’s never too late to add some habits of self-care and self-love into your life. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference. I’m sure you’ve heard that almost everywhere. That only means that it’s true! I have saved you some trouble and gathered some ways to mentally help yourself. These are things that are easy to conduct and can simply be trained into being a habit.
- Don’t force or feign happiness.
While it’s okay to maintain a bubbly exterior if you like bringing joy to others or lifting the spirits, it is not your duty to do so. Life isn’t that easy on anyone. Things happen from time to time. Disruptions occur and they give you this roller coaster ride of feels. A.K.A emotions. Emotions are a natural reaction to our circumstances. Feeling sad, angry and vulnerable, are perfectly normal and in no way are they anything to be ashamed of. Supressing them with positive thinking or pretending that there is no problem at hand can create a disconnection form our emotions, which is what makes us human.
Danish psychologist Svend Brinkmann says that the constant implementation of happiness has made it an obligation, therefore turning it into an insistence rather than a simple pleasure of life. You can read more about that here.
Instead of covering up every other emotion with happiness, learn to be manage them and be mindful of them, which brings us to the next point.
- Managing emotions and mindfulness
When managing emotions, first you should figure out what you’re feeling. Is it sadness, anger, or something else? Identify the emotion. And then break down the reasons as to why you would be feeling this way. Sometimes even the smallest of incidents can subconsciously affect us. After working that out, simply allow yourself to feel it. Don’t pass judgement on yourself, don’t blame yourself, simply accept it as normal, let it course through your veins. Don’t act like they don’t exist. Meditate, rant, box a punching bag, scream into your pillow, do what you must to vent it out.
Another thing that is similar to managing emotions is mindfulness. Basically, mindfulness can be described as the practice of directing attention to the present, identity what they are feeling in the present moment and accepting this feeling, and their surroundings without judgement.
- If fights and conflicts happen, resolve them.
Be it small or large, when anger boils our blood we may say things we don’t mean or someone could hurt us even if they don’t mean to. Unresolved conflicts constantly haunting us never lead to anything pleasant. If problems occur, speak to the other party, try to reach a common ground, apologise if you did something wrong, but don’t leave it to pile up. That will cause pent up frustration, resentment and even relationship problems. Such factors disrupt mental wellness. By finding solutions you promote positive change, stronger relationships and a pace of mind. So kill that pride, fester up the courage and go do it. It’s for the best.
- Keep track of your mental health.
Squeeze out at least 20 minutes or so from your day to meditate or have some quite time to yourself. If not meditation then just self-reflection. Break down what made your day good or bad and how you reacted to it. Write it down in a journal. This way you can find patterns between events and behaviour to it, therefore increasing your self-awareness. Self-awareness is very helpful in managing mental health. Additionally, if you wish to get more creative than a journal, then check out this buzz feed article with creative ways to do it!
No matter how busy life gets or what changes, both your physical and mental health are a priority. So slay every day, live your life and look after yourself!