How to manage your own mental health

There is an epidemic of mental health challenges in the world today. This article explores a fresh way of taking charge of your own mental health by understanding your own mind so you can be in charge of it, and determine how you will think, feel, and react. (If you have a serious mental health condition this article may help, but you should also seek professional help).

You are not alone if you are feeling distressed:

  • 1.7 million people in the US attempted to take their own lives in 2021 (AFSP)
  • 15-20% of young people self harm (NIH)
  • 76% of employees in the US have a mental health condition (US surgeon General)
  • 59% suffer from moderate to severe anxiety (HappierMe survey)
  • 77% suffer from moderate to severe stress (HappierMe survey)

Why are the numbers so high? Has it always been this bad or are we just measuring it better? Has life become more challenging and uncertain? Is social media to blame? Are people becoming more selfish and are more relationships in trouble? Are people less resilient now? The explanations don’t matter because they do not help the person who is suffering now.

What is important is to find a solution.

Our mind assumes our emotional distress comes from the outside, from our lack of money, or our job, or the conflict in our relationships, or our health - and to some extent that is true, but it is not the whole picture.

In every situation there is an external trigger and then an internal reaction in our own mind. It is the reaction that creates our suffering because different people react differently to the same trigger.

By realising that we cannot control our circumstances but we can change how we automatically react to them, we can take charge of our own mental health.

Here are #4 ways you can do that.

#1 Calm your mind

The first step is to calm your mind so you can notice what you are thinking and feeling. Otherwise, it is like trying to study a snowflake in a snow storm of thoughts and emotions. When we are triggered, this is what it can feel like.

There are many ways you can do this including breathing exercises, journaling, a formal meditation practice, and walking in nature.

There is an entire section in the HappierMe app dedicated to calming your mind and you can explore it here.

With a calm mind you can also create a pause between the external trigger and the internal reaction, allowing you to use your intelligence to decide how you want to respond.

#2 Accept that all you can do is work on yourself

This acceptance is not easy to do.

‘Why should I have to change when the problem is being created by someone else?’, is a common question we automatically ask ourselves. If I think work is causing my stress, my employers need to change, or if I think my partner is causing my stress then they need to change.

The answer is simple - because your number one priority is to feel better and not be distressed, because that distress is impacting your mental and physical health. This does not mean that the situation does not have to be dealt with - it is just that you can do it better with a mind that is calm and capable. The only person you have control over is yourself, so begin there.

Explore the How to begin module in the HappierMe app here. This 1-min video on dealing with stress explains it clearly.

#3 Realise your mind is an automatic reaction machine

Once you take ownership of how you feel and realise the only person you can change is yourself, then you can begin to explore your own mind and understand what is going on in there to create the feelings you experience.

Your mind tricks you into thinking that how you feel is true and caused by external events. It also convinces you that how you feel is inevitable and you can do nothing about it. This is just the nature of our mind and not true. You can change how you think and feel and react by understanding your own mind better.

You will notice that your mind reacts in predictable and automatic ways to its challenges and you have little control over them. In fact, everyone’s mind is reactive. This reaction comes from all our accumulated memories and since each person is different, so are our reactions.

If someone says something negative about you you can automatically feel bad, or if someone does something that is different to how you would do it, you are automatically critical of them. If you think about an exam or interview that is coming up you can feel automatically anxious, and so on.

Explore the Reactive Mind module in the HappierMe app.

#4 Be curious. Begin learning about your own mind.

Now that you have accepted that you need to work on yourself, and you have a mind that is calm you can notice what is happening and begin learning about your own mind. The more you learn, the more you can be in charge of it.

Curiosity and an open mind are perhaps the two most important skills you need on this journey of learning about yourself. We had this curiosity as children and need to rediscover it for ourselves. With curiosity we can study what we are thinking or feeling and explore why.

Our mind usually only notices what we have seen before and if we come across something new we can either not notice it or dismiss it. With a mind that is open to learning about itself we can be explorers and discover the new for ourselves. It is the discoveries we make for ourselves that lead to transformation.

We usually believe what we think is true and this drives how we feel and react to others. It may not be. There are always many different ways of looking at people and situations and being curious allows us to explore them all.

Journaling can help, and we have an Online journal with Guided Questions you can explore in the app here.

This is a journey and you will get out of it what you put into it. The more you learn about your own mind and gradually take charge of it, the more mentally healthy you can become. You can get to a point where even if there are challenging situations to deal with, your mind remains calm. You will find your relationships also improve and you are able to self-regulate your habits to lead a healthier lifestyle.

The HappierMe app is packed with resources to help you to do this.

Explore the Feel Better Now section here.
Explore the Mental Health section here.
Explore the Awareness exercises here. These help build your own self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
We have developed a 5 step program called PATHWAY to help you take charge of your own mental health, have happier relationships and flourish in life. You can explore it here.

With a healthy and calm mind you can remain mentally healthy when dealing with life’s challenges. This approach puts you in charge of your own mental health - so you don’t have to wait for people or situations to change to feel good in yourself.

The HappierMe app is free to download and there is a free trial.

Understand your mind. Live a happier life.

Life can be tough. The HappierMe app is your personal guide to help you feel better now, but also to take you deeper to understand your thoughts and feelings. It supports you to become the person you want to be, to be happier, manage your emotions and  succeed in the world. There are also coaches you can speak to through the app.

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved

Copyright © 2024 HappierMe. All rights reserved