Regardless of what part of the world you live in, mental health is becoming one of the most important topic of discussion equal to physical health. It has evolved as a growing concern and a point of discussion not only in the health industry, but in our homes, schools and work place.
The focus of this article isn’t about mental illness, rather about the importance of carving out space within our lives to take moments of mental pauses. Most of us know we should, however we need to move from knowing to begin cultivating it as a healthy habit into our lives.
There tends to be hesitancy and stigma surrounding our personal struggles and how it affects us mentally – fatigues, lows, struggles, stress and depression. Different types, and various force of impact that comes with life experiences. We clam up because we don’t want to be judged, and looked at differently, and that is where the problem lies – by choosing NOT to talk about it, it can evolve to become a mountain if not addressed. Hear me…it doesn’t need to!
Listen, if our mental state is unwell, eventually the impact will be felt and seen in other areas of our lives. No one is immune to the effects of mental fatigue, lows and depression, no matter how brilliant, popular, loving, or successful you are, it affect us.
However, through honest conversation (sometimes hard conversations) exercise, and support, we can increase awareness, and help ourselves and others remove any stigma of shame and judgement associated with mental issues, and improve our mental state.
I consider myself a highly motivated, seeing the glass as half full person, however a year ago when I graduated college as a Life Coach and Counsellor, the transition back to work wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped, money ran out, and rejection from potential employers, found me at my all-time lowest…ever.
My first reaction was self-denial…not me, couldn’t be, I am in control! However, the energy needed to pretend, was spent on crying at a drop of a hat, and my thoughts going places I feared. I quickly learned that it was OK to express my fears, show my most scared fearful side, to a core group of people I completely trusted, and would help me lift myself up.
Fortunately, my decline wasn’t as low as those who struggle daily with mental illness. My loving partner was there showing support to listen and ask questions about “how I felt”, why, and provided affirmation and encouragement along the way. A few close friends were there whenever I needed them. Realizing I could STOP pretending, and BE honest, was the first step towards the mental nourishment I needed.
We’re masters at being busy doing, telling and pleasing, and fail miserably at mental-care, being present, sensitive, and honest with self. If we continue to expend more and take in less, eventually like a car that needs fuel and oil to run effectively, we’ll have mental break-downs instead of break-through, easily agitated and deflated, instead of charged and elevated.
Why mental pause? Simply put, mental pause is meant to do just that – make us pause to give our minds a BREAK! Time to check in, filter and unload and sort through what the mind consumed during the day or week. Time ALONE allows us to stop DOING and practice BEING and make an intimate connect with self by tuning into the messages your body, mind, soul, intuition and senses are sending, and provides the release our minds need.
Let’s take a look at three exercises that can help to elevate our mental state.
Mental Pause I – Practice meditation:
Connect to your spiritual side, nature, yoga, prayer, formal meditation, chanting, or mindfulness. Before your feet hit the floor express thankfulness or gratitude for at least one thing. Doing this helps sets the stage to centre your mind on starting your day off right.
Mental Pause II – Mind your Thoughts:
When, not if, but when your thoughts rise up to overwhelm and affect moods, pause and count your blessings (people, accomplishments and things you enjoy). The one thing we have control over is our thoughts, so bring awareness to what goes on between your ears, and the next time your mood shifts to anger, agitation, sad or anxious, pin point the thought and work it out, don’t let it sit and fester.
Mental Pause III – Solution focus:
When unexpected things happen in our lives it throws us off guard, and consumes our every thought. Stress, anxiety, anger, and fear interrupts the flow of finding a solution. By practicing meditation and minding our thoughts, we can use that time to figure out an answer. This might be a good time to reach out to another life coach to help you with that process.
Taking time to care for your mental state can be a game changer. It will put you more in control of your mental health, and empower you to be a better person in your being and doing.
To your health and enjoyment!