I know January is almost done but I wanted to share some tips on how to have an emotionally healthy year (and life):
1. Analyze what’s affecting your mood
Think about times of the day, locations, people, activities/tasks, transitions and changes. It helps to write these things done. Write about when you are at your best and when you are at your worst. It helps to evaluate both so you can find out what’s working and what’s not working. Don’t judge your response, just write it down, and notice the difference from both lists. You might notice some patterns that might surprise you.
2. Determine how much control you have over your emotions
There are things we cannot change and most of the things you analyzed on step 1 are probably external factors. When it comes to your emotions, remember this…
YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR EMOTIONS BY CHANGING THE WAY YOU THINK.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is an evidenced based approach, can help you improve your emotions and life. With CBT we see how your thoughts affect your emotions, which in turn affect your behaviors, then that affect your thoughts, and the cycle starts all over again. If you think that people are not going to like me, then most likely you will feel alone; and then you would act in ways that makes me more alone, like sitting in a corner during a party. If you realize that you have difficulty making friends and then decide to work on making at least 1 new connection instead of trying to impress the whole world, then when you are at a party, you might be in a corner for a while to observe, but then you could choose one table where people are talking about something of interest to you, a conversation that you can contribute to. Then you might want to join that table and make at least one connection. This experience will then change your thinking about how you are perceived by others and empower more positive actions on your part. So, change your thoughts so you can improve your mood, your behavior, and your life.
3. Practice good mental health hygiene.
What can you do one a daily basis to create an emotionally healthy lifestyle? Are you taking care of your physical health but neglecting your emotional and spiritual wellness? This is not healthy! Would you wash half your body or brush half of your mouth? Most likely not; so why do we do that when it comes to wellness?
Take care of your whole self. Create routines that would help you take care of your emotions. For me, it’s having time for prayer and devotions every day. I also start my day by reviewing what my values are, what’s important to me, and what my priorities are for the day. I encourage to review these things on a daily basis. This will help you determine where to invest your energy. You don’t want to waste your time and especially your mental energy on things that don’t matter to you. Doing so would negatively affect your emotions as well.
Additionally, be kind to yourself… Pay attention to what you think about yourself, what you say about yourself, and how you treat yourself. YOU ARE AWESOME, no matter your challenges. Please treat yourself as the awesome person that you were created to be. If you are struggling with this, then be sure to join us online on February 10th @ 5:30 PM EST when we discuss the power of Self-Compassion.
Until next time…
Chou writes about disAbilities, mental health, parenting special needs children, faith and everyday life.