6 Intangible Tools You Need to Take Charge of Your Mental Health
When I first started college I brought a small toolbox with me. It had a hammer, a couple screwdrivers, a pliers, etc. I could recall a student across the hall asking to borrow my hammer. I gave it to him. I remember he used the hammer the wrong way. He choked the top of the hammer and was getting nowhere with this nail. I stopped him and showed him how to correctly hold the hammer and how to use it with the nail. He laughed at himself, and thanked me.
With mental health, there are so many times where I’ve worked with clients who knew what tool to use just like this student did, yet had no idea how to use it effectively. Here are 6 intangible tools you can use to manage your mental health effectively:
Taking charge of your emotional well-being is a process that requires preparation and continual development. It's a great feeling to have an emotional wellness toolbox that you can use to handle and manage the problems that you face on a regular basis.
Your overall wellness is a holistic concept. Not only is your physical and emotional wellness important, but there is also social, spiritual, intellectual, and financial wellness which contribute to your overall sense of being well.
When considering emotional wellness, we’re often fooled into believing that either we have it together or we don’t. That could not be farther from the truth.
Pro Tip: You can develop and train your emotional wellness just like you can train other areas of wellness.
Willpower to grow and mature is an intangible ingredient needed to take charge of your mental health. Developing in this area of wellness requires courage and humility, both of which you need to have a high chance of success with your emotional well-being.
Pro Tip: A will to break patterns in how we interpret, respond and cope with change during adverse times is a tool we need to possess. Are you willing?
3) Self Awareness
To increase your self-awareness on a regular basis, we have to be able to acknowledge our emotions and know what that really looks in our daily routine. With clients, I often share that I only have one rule during our sessions. That rule is: “ ‘I don’t know’ is not an answer.” This encourages them to really think through what they are feeling and learn how to express themselves effectively.
Pro Tip: You can often explain how you feel more effectively when you’re able to find the right words. Use a dictionary, thesaurus or list of emotions that can help you find the words to describe your feelings accurately.
Pro Tip: Question to ask yourself: “What's making me feel this way?” Consider this question and go three steps beyond your initial answer.
4) Honest Reflection
Reflection is the process of serious thought and consideration. In every area of our life there will be times when situations don’t go your way and/or times when you don’t respond as well as you intended to in the middle of difficult situations. Reflection is an excellent tool available to all of us and can prove to be priceless if we use it well. In order to reflect well, we must dedicate necessary time to reflect and keep it real.
Pro Tip: Here are two questions that you can use in moments of reflection: Was my response helpful towards the outcome that I wanted? What’s a healthy alternative response I could consider in the future that would have a higher chance of success for being understood or my feelings being acknowledged better?
In order to navigate the general trials of life, we need to leverage positive support from friends and family that’s available to us. Developing genuine relationships is key. We benefit from deep meaningful relationships - there’s no app to create strength in relationships. It’s a slow, uncomfortable, and sometimes messy process, but it’s necessary.
Pro Tip: For better conversations, ask better questions. You can Google great conversation starters and take your pick!
6) Professional Help
Professional help is oftentimes an integral step on the path towards personal development. Sometimes clients ask advice from others who seem to “have everything together” and yet they are unable to get an explanation on how they do it. Talking with a professional counselor can help you work through the “how to” that is often told to us as “just do.”
You can do it!
You have what it takes to take charge of your mental health. You can start today.
Lawrence Lovell is the founder of Breakthrough Solutions. For more information, register for a workshop, or inquire about counseling visit BreakthroughSolutions.com