We welcome a different rhythm in this new year as we begin to create a sense of normalcy and establish new routines. While we continue to adjust how we live in order to contend with renewed waves of contagion and an endemic state of affairs, it is essential that we learn to navigate even the most difficult experiences with grace, compassion and resilience. We can find strength in the knowledge that creating a life of mental health is attainable while managing chronic stress or even mental illness.
Mental health is defined as a state of mind, a perspective if you will, that allows for a thriving and fulfilling development of oneself. It does not mean the absence of mental illness, crisis or challenges that we all face at some point in our path in life. Rather, mental health allows us to respond with compassion and create a sense of calm in the face of adversity, built on resilience to navigate the bumpy roads that inevitably emerge.
The first step in developing a thriving state of mental health is to be kind to yourself, to allow yourself the space and the time to reflect on various aspects of life, recognizing without judgement that we all have shortcomings to address. But naturally, mental illness or diagnosed mental disorders make this process more challenging, and yet even more necessary. There are numerous resources in your community that can provide the necessary support to develop coping skills that will create a thriving state of mind. Just as there are many simple tools that you are most likely already aware of that will help establish robust mental health.
I will briefly touch on ten aspects that you can focus on more in-depth to develop resilience, which is the ground that will carry you forward during the most tumultuous moments you may encounter. Resilience is the key to establishing emotional strength and creating happiness for oneself even in the face of adversity. Remember that all things do pass, and so too will that perfect storm when you begin to thrive mentally, physically and emotionally.
1 – Shift your negative thinking patterns: We all fall into negative thinking patterns such as all-or-nothing statements or jumping to conclusions assuming the worst. The key is to become aware of these emotional pitfalls and to label them. This allows for non-judgmental shifts in how we think so that we can change how we feel.
2 – Engage positive emotions: Hobbies and activities that bring us joy can generate positive emotions that engage our energetic and neurological states of wellbeing. We can also create positive associations by listening to music, sitting in a natural setting or looking at images or photographs that evoke joy. When we feel sad or anxious, it is best to re-center with a pleasurable connection to someone or something.
3 – Develop relaxation coping skills: Meditation and breathing techniques help us slow down and create the necessary space to listen to our bodies. The more practiced we become, the less reactive we respond in moments of stress. Relaxation techniques are the key to building resilience. There are so many meditation methods available to us, some are passive, some involve movement. Explore different meditation and breathing techniques to discover what resonates with you.
4 – Create moments of reflective thinking: When we begin to develop the skills to calm our mind and body, we create the stillness necessary to listen to our intuition. Journaling is one way to look at our thoughts and actions without judgement. Within this reflective space we can begin to adjust subtle changes in how we approach ourselves and others. The process of reflection, and then adjusting, allows us to become our better self.
5 – Strengthen your community connections: We are not an island unto ourselves. We are social beings and we need the connections that relationships afford us. Altruistic behavior, helping others, is the cornerstone to creating happiness within. The act of connecting with other individuals, especially those who move us into a space of growth. In particular, when we move out of our comfort zone we begin to expand our notion of caring. It can even be as simple as smiling at those you pass you, spreading your love.
6 – Create a sense of purpose: An important factor in living a fulfilling life is to create a sense of purpose. For some, talents help move us in that direction. However, most of us won’t simply discover it, we need to create our purpose in life. We create it by deciphering what moves us, what brings us joy, what generates that energetic recharge that allows us to thrive. Sharing our passions helps build that web of community.
7 – Find your happy place: Sometimes the choices we make in our relationships or career paths increase our level of stress, despite the love we share or the satisfaction we receive. Life is never easy nor always pleasant. Recharging our spirit and energetic connections to the world is essential to staying balanced and maintaining strong mental health. Explore the myriad activities and spaces available to you to create those necessary moments of recharge at an energetic, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual level. Nature and water sources can provide profound renewal and happiness.
8 – Establish a course of action: Physical health is a primary source of energy renewal necessary to develop a thriving state of mind. Stay active, stay engaged. The physical and energetic strengths we develop translate into mental and emotional benefits. Ask a friend to join you or connect with a community member action on your own.
9 – Help others less fortunate: Extending your helping hand to another individual is a powerful way to create community and find that we can be a source of light for someone, even when we feel less than brilliant. Helping others less fortunate than ourselves allows us to shift our perspective and feel gratitude despite the pain of adversity and tragedy.
10 – Communicate with a mental health professional: Reach out to a trained professional who can provide more in-depth guidance and targeted techniques to face mental health challenges. Wellness practices are essential for proper self-care and building resilience. However, some individuals will need professional support in order to establish that thriving mental health.
Ketamine Health Centers offers highly effective alternative therapeutic methods to address some of the most challenging mental health conditions, such as suicide ideation, treatment resistant depression and chronic pain. Our goal is to help you establish mental health while navigating the added stressors of mental illness or chronic pain. Contact us today to learn how we can be of service to you and your family. Wishing you a thriving year ahead!