As our lives and circumstances continually change, so do our moods, thoughts, and sense of well-being. We all feel sad, worried, scared or suspicious sometimes. But these kinds of feelings may become a problem if they get in the way of our daily lives over a long period of time. It’s easy to misinterpret situations and interactions when you are in a negative headspace. How many of you tell yourself stories or ask yourself questions such as those below when you interact with your co-workers, family members and friends? Were they just talking about me? Are they giving me a funny look? What was it they just said? I think they are mad at me.
Shifting the way we think about a situation or interaction can actually change our behaviours and lead to more positivity and productivity.
The next time you experience negative thoughts, try reframing the story in your head. Try replacing can’t with why not or how can I? Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is still an area of growth for me.
Every once in a while I make myself watch Brené Brown’s TED Talk The Power of Vulnerability. One of the lessons she teaches is that if you aren’t uncomfortable, you aren’t growing. I’ve come to learn that the only constant is change. In my family, we were often told that “a change is as good as a rest.” The type of change you might need is what you know best.
We are all accountable for our own mental health. Do your best to try and be present in the moment. Let the negative thoughts pass by and re-focus. Practice mindfulness – try out an app on your mobile device (I recommend Calm, Headspace or Aura) – practice yoga, meditate, take deep breaths, laugh, go for a walk or participate in mindfulness sessions. And seek professional help or guidance.
Mental health is a spectrum. Where do you fall?
Mental illness touches everyone, but how it looks or manifests itself will differ. Stigma and discrimination often prevent people from accessing the help they need and can hinder recovery. As colleagues and leaders, we need to think about how we can better support those who may be struggling. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are making progress and have opened the conversation. Let’s work towards chipping away the stigma so that we all start to view people struggling with mental illness in a more positive light.