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In a world where life’s demands can weigh heavily on our mental state, there exists a reservoir of powerful psychiatric tools that can empower you to take control of your mental well-being. These free dynamic teachings and exercises may be collectively utilized as a transformative guide designed to lead you on a journey of self-discovery, better coping with life struggles, and all-around positive growth.
Each of us intimately understands that the challenges we face in our inner worlds can sometimes feel overwhelming, but within these free tips to higher mental health, you’ll find a collection of strategies rooted in science, empathy, and practicality that can help you navigate the intricate landscape of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
From conquering negative self-talk to fostering resilience through mindfulness, this compilation of expert-backed and scientifically proven techniques is an ode to your capacity for gradual successful transformation. Each point is a beacon of hope, a roadmap to forging connections, and an invitation to embrace the power you hold to create a life imbued with meaning and joy.
From here on and this day forward, consider yourself challenged to join the quest to unravel your mental complexities, equip yourself with the insights you need, and not just cope but consistently and deliberately use the following almost magical anchors to thrive in the face of life’s challenges. Your journey to lasting mental wellness begins but does not end here:
#10: Carefully watch, listen, & learn
- Understanding CBT: Dive into the inner workings of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and unlock the keys to transforming your mental landscape.
- Try this: Ask your mental health professional to provide you an invaluable education, lessons, and daily practice exercises on CBT.
- Fact: This brand of psychotherapy (CBT) has been specifically developed to give psychiatric clients the ability to continue treating themselves all throughout their life, even after their therapeutic journey has concluded and they are no longer a client. Bathe yourself in all its wisdom and insight!
#9: Boot Mental Negativity
- Negative Thoughts: Learn to recognize the hidden culprits of your negative emotions—automatic negative thoughts—and take control of them.
- Challenging Self-Talk: Equip yourself with the tools to challenge and reframe self-doubt, boosting your self-esteem along the way.
- Try this: Recognize any self-doubt ideas, and ask yourself whether they are constructive and motivate you to improve on something or destructive, which is harmful to your mental health and self-esteem.
- It’s really simple: Be easy on yourself. Treat yourself how you would a long-lost loved one you haven’t seen lately. We are only human, so don’t work so hard to be rigidly perfect. Relax, calm yourself, and laugh at your mistakes.
- Bonus Tip: Constructive self-criticism may be fine to deal with and can even be helpful as we should usually strive to improve ourselves and situations every day. However, destructive self-talk should be noticed by you as if it were a tiny floating balloon that shows up amongst a room of a million other balloons, but these balloons are filled with self-love and ideas of wisdom. Choose one of these balloons filled with thoughtful instructions for improving your day-to-day life. With persistence, you’ll automatically train your brain to spot the negative balloons in your periphery and let them casually float on like any other benign thought that POPS in your head. See what we did there?
#8: Cognitive Restructuring
- Cognitive Distortions: Learn the list of various cognitive distortions and expose the sneaky ways in which your mind can distort reality. Break free from their influence with the help of new information. Here are a group of some distortions to catch and rewire:
- All-or-Nothing Thinking: Seeing things in black-and-white terms without considering the gray areas. It’s either perfect or a failure. It’s mostly gray.
- Overgeneralization: Drawing broad negative conclusions based on a single event. If one thing goes wrong, everything will go wrong.
- Catastrophizing: Assuming the worst possible outcome of a situation and blowing it out of proportion.
- Mind Reading: Believing you know what others are thinking or that they are reacting negatively to you, without any evidence.
- Fortune Telling: Predicting that things will turn out badly without any evidence to support that prediction.
- Emotional Reasoning: Believing that because you feel a certain way, it must be true. If you feel like a failure, you must be one.
- Labeling and Mislabeling: Attaching a negative label to yourself or others based on a mistake or situation, as if that’s the sum total of who you or they are.
- Discounting the Positive: Ignoring or minimizing positive experiences, accomplishments, or feedback, considering them irrelevant.
- Personalization: Assuming that you are to blame for events or situations that are beyond your control.
- Should Statements: Holding rigid rules for yourself or others and feeling guilty or frustrated when these rules aren’t met.
- Blaming: Holding others responsible for your emotional well-being, or blaming yourself for situations beyond your control.
- The Fallacy of Change: Believing that others will change according to your wishes if you just pressure or convince them enough.
- Fallacy of Fairness: Believing that life should always be fair and if it’s not, you become resentful.
- Control Fallacies: Believing you’re helpless in the face of external events (external control) or that you must take control of others’ feelings and behaviors (internal control).
- Selective Abstraction: Focusing only on the negative aspects of a situation while ignoring any positive aspects.
- Comparisons: Constantly comparing yourself unfavorably to others, leads to feelings of inadequacy.
- Should-ing and Must-ing: Having rigid ideas of how you or others should behave, and feeling angry, frustrated, or guilty when these expectations aren’t met.
- Fear of Disapproval or Rejection: Being preoccupied with what others think of you, often leading to avoiding situations to prevent potential criticism.
- Magnification and Minimization: Magnifying negative aspects of situations and minimizing positive ones, creates an imbalanced perspective.
- Tunnel Vision: Focusing exclusively on one negative aspect of a situation while ignoring the bigger picture.
- Looking at Thoughts Differently: Rewire your brain by replacing distorted thoughts with balanced, empowering perspectives.
- Try this: Whenever you catch yourself thinking in extremes, pause and think of the various shades of gray.
- Bonus Tip: Challenge yourself to come up with at least one alternative explanation for the situation you’re thinking about. Over time, you’ll start to see things from a more balanced point of view.
#7: Behavioral Activation
- Mood and Activities: Harness the link between your activities and your mood, and proactively enhance your emotional well-being.
- Try this: Remove all the sad, depressing songs COMPLETELY from your playlist. Yes, even that one with the amazing falsetto voice vibrato you’ve been singing since your breakup two years ago. You’re welcome.
- Planning Fun: Craft a blueprint for a more fulfilling life by actively scheduling enjoyable and rewarding experiences.
- Try this: Create a list of activities that genuinely make you happy, no matter how small. Then, each day, make a conscious effort to engage in at least one of these activities. It could be as simple as reading a chapter of your favorite book or taking a walk in the park.
- Bonus Tip: If you’re unable to experience the pleasure or interest you once had for your usual leisurely (happy) activities list, then it’s possible you could be dealing with clinical symptoms of depression that should be evaluated by a mental health professional. Research tells us that a huge majority of depression and anxiety symptoms can be treated successfully with therapy, meds, or both. Never lose hope; many millions of people are just like you and have experienced life-changing treatment by just reaching out. Please, do so and be proactive in finding answers no matter who or where you choose to evaluate your situation.
#6: Exposure and Desensitization
- Facing Fears: Confront your fears head-on through gradual exposure, and witness your anxieties lose their grip on your life. This often has a relation to working to improve past traumas that still bother you or other fears and phobias.
- Step-by-Step Fear Tackling: Conquer your fears one step at a time, gaining confidence and resilience with every stride.
- Try this: Start with something that makes you slightly anxious but is manageable. For example, if you’re afraid of speaking in front of a group, start by speaking up in a small meeting. As you become more comfortable, gradually increase the challenge, like presenting in front of a larger audience.
- Bonus Tip: Remember that really relatively safe thing that as a little kid you were somehow afraid of because you didn’t know much about it and didn’t have the experience to know any better? Like ______________? Exactly. Now, get to it! Force yourself to slowly and gradually experience things persistently over time to reduce their control.
#5: Problem-Solving Mentality
- Choosing Solutions: Practice decision-making and refine your ability to select the best solutions for life’s challenges. Use a systematic approach to dissecting problems and constructing effective solutions.
- Try this: Whenever you encounter a problem, break it down into smaller parts. List possible solutions for each part, and then weigh the pros and cons of each solution. This process can help you make more informed decisions without being impulsive by just accepting (and doing) the first answer that comes to mind. Start dissecting important controllable problems and implement helpful, constructive resolutions for your life and loved ones’ benefit.
#4: Relaxation Management to minimize stress
- Calming Techniques: Arm yourself with relaxation techniques to disarm stress, promoting tranquility and mental clarity.
- Dealing with Mental Stress: Forge a shield against stress by mastering relaxation techniques that fortify your mental resilience.
- Try this: Set aside a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing. Inhale deeply for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and then pause for another count of four before repeating. This simple exercise can quickly calm your nervous system.
- Bonus Tip: First make sure you aren’t operating heavy machinery such as a clown car or an armored tank. The less visually awkward point being made is that the variation of the breathing exercise (above) which I am including in this tip, can make you drowsy and is often successfully used by thousands of people to fall asleep and/or melt away anxiety. And here it is: Repeat the exercise instructions, except exhale for longer than you inhale. The sequence and amount of seconds you choose for each step do not matter as much making the exhale lengthier than the other steps.
- Nerd Bonus: Extended exhalations prompt the vagus nerve to initiate a neural communication to the cerebral cortex, consequently triggering the activation of the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, renowned for its orchestration of the restorative “rest and digest” response. Simultaneously, this intricate mechanism facilitates the modulation of the sympathetic nervous system, universally recognized for its role in the primordial “fight or flight” reactions, resulting in a discernible amelioration of its influence.
#3: Goal Setting and Mental Motivation
- Be realistic: Set achievable goals that slowly propel you toward a brighter future.
- Stop kicking the can: Eradicate procrastination and ignite your motivation to take proactive strides toward your aspirations.
- Try this: Break your larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. Each time you accomplish one of these smaller steps, reward yourself. This not only keeps you motivated but also helps track your progress.
#2: Social Skills Training
- Better Communication: Unlock the secrets of effective communication to enhance your relationships and minimize misunderstandings. One way you can do this is by being respectfully assertive.
- Try this: Embrace assertiveness, stand tall, and express your needs in polite, confident, matter-of-fact terms.
And #1: Mindfulness and Acceptance
- Mindfulness Practice: Immerse yourself in the transformative power of mindfulness. Ground yourself in the present moment through deliberate physical and sensory experiencing.
- Try this: Find a key chain or another fidgety item you usually keep on you to remind you to touch, feel, and examine physically with your fingers automatically grounding you in the here and now as it were. Many ancient Buddhist monks would experience the same principle by the practice of noticing what it feels like to feel the ground under their feet.
- Bonus Tip: Notice the world around you as if you were watching it as a movie through an augmented (virtual) reality headset.
- Handling Emotions: Validate and embrace your emotions with acceptance, which can help you cultivate resilience and emotional intelligence.
- Try this: Individual therapy is a safe place where people can have their feelings validated while experiencing physically cathartic moments of breakthrough and growth in the journey. Consider online or other therapy if you feel you’re stuck at an impasse and need an extra set of ears to relieve your burdens.
Little by Little Challenge Yourself to Improve Your Mental Health
As we traverse the complexities of a world laden with ups and downs, it becomes evident that within the potent instruments of mental health education, practice, persistence, and empowerment we can choose to have mastery over our mental landscape. The culmination of the enlightening principles presented here and transformative exercises relayed to you constitutes an invigorating expedition towards self-discovery and personal growth, which must be deliberately and consistently undertaken on a daily basis to make lasting lifelong changes.
Amidst the passages of our thoughts, emotions, and actions, these invaluable lessons, wisdom, and practical mental wellness strategies unveil a profound connection between scientific evidence, understanding the information, applying the information continually, self-empathy, and pragmatical goal-setting.
From wresting dominion over detrimental self-dialogues to nurturing a robust spirit through mindfulness, these expert-endorsed techniques are a testament to the inherent potential for metamorphosis within each of us. With each facet, we’re beckoned towards a dawn of optimism and guided towards a roadmap that kindles connections and invites the forging of an existence enriched with purpose and mental evolution.
Embarking on this transformative journey, a challenge awaits—a challenge to unearth the intricacies of your mind, foster a reservoir of insight, and, with unwavering persistence, forge brand new neuronal pathways that redefine your very essence as a beautiful human being. In your endeavor to conquer life’s trials, remember, this article marks not a terminus, but a commencement—an inception of your voyage towards enduring resilience and mastering your mental wellness.
If you are in a serious suicidal mental crisis, you should call or text 988. If there is an imminent threat of physical harm, call or text 911 immediately.