Mental Health Tips
Self-Coaching is the secret
It is great to be helped sometimes but helping ourselves is the best thing of all
We all want to be happy and we try to achieve that goal by staying healthy, financially secure etc. In addition to that, there are also techniques we can learn that can greatly improve our ability to stay positive and resilient. Great news is that you can learn them at little or no cost and yet they can change your life. Here are a few things that helped me to overcome my decades long depression and anxiety.
A simple trick to reconnect with your inner strength
One of the things that have been very helpful to me was discovering transactional analysis. According to this theory we move between three main ego states: adult, parent and child. The way somebody treats us, affect us and creates an expectation of a certain behaviour. A patronising person is inviting you to behave like a child for example. If you decide to behave like an adult instead, you challenge the person. A screaming and angry boss might actually be experiencing a temper tantrum just like a toddler.
We all move between these ego states sometimes very quickly. I now understand that some situations send me into my child state. If I catch myself there, simply by reminding myself that I am an adult, I become strong again. This simple trick restores my peace and confidence instantly. This is an example of what I call "self-coaching". Nothing helps more than helping ourselves because nobody else is there for us 24/7.
You are better than you think
I find cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to be very helpful. The effectiveness of this type of therapy is well supported by scientific evidence. The strategy is to identify unrealistic or factually incorrect thoughts that contribute to anxiety and depression, etc. Once these are identified, you replace them with realistic ones. For example, we might catch ourselves saying "I am useless". If you catch yourself saying that, you may ask: is this true? The answer is obviously "no" since we all do a lot of things successfully. A more true statement could be "I did not do this thing well this time but I can try again. I can do this." I love using cognitive behavioural coaching and I encourage my clients to keep working on their self talk and especially negative thoughts ti;; they feel perfect and 100% true.
Eat well to be happier
I have spent a lot of time, learning about nutrition. I have learned much about how deficiencies in various nutrients can contribute to anxiety and depression. According to one article, published here, "The most common nutritional deficiencies seen in patients with mental disorders are of omega–3 fatty acids, B vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that are precursors to neurotransmitters." I studied my intake of various nutrients and realised that in many cases it was insufficient. This was happening even though I ate more vegetables than an average person and more than the recommended "5-a-day." As soon as I improved my diet, my symptoms improved.
Our simple health checkups and blood tests can give us a false sense of security. More complex tests may be needed to discover deficiencies in certain nutrients such as B12, for example. I had to learn how to read my blood test results, so I do not have to rely on my doctors completely. Nothing has served me better than educating myself but asking a dietician to look at our diet can also be very helpful.
Rediscovering my spirituality was a turning point in my struggle with depression and anxiety. What helped me more than psychology, was building a relationship with God and many of my invisible friends as I call them. I stay in touch with them nearly all the time. Just a few days ago someone close to me was exposed to a potentially dangerous situation. I felt an instant reassurance in my heart that all would be well... and it was. Thanks to that, I was able to let go and not worry about it. For someone who is prone to anxiety, this is an enormous help. I have been experiencing a lot of this type of reassurance during challenging times in my life. I even had a premonition that my 9th attempt to pass the driving test would be successful, and it was.
Love yourself to be stronger and happier
I think what has really helped me to improve my mental health has been to help myself. I have kept searching and have found elements of useful advice here and there. Sometimes these elements come from God, from other people, from articles on the internet or from lectures on YouTube... "Seek, and you will find." You can learn techniques from others but you are the only person who can keep you on track longterm. The real secret of good mental health is to self-coach yourself for life. This is one of the best ways to love yourself.
If you would like to improve your wellbeing by practicing this type of self-care, I am happy to help. We can find together a set of tools that will work for you so you can be stronger and happier for the rest of your life.