Want to feel better? Here's How
May was National Mental Health Awareness month, and even though the month is behind us it is always a good idea to be aware of your mental health.
I’ve had the honor of speaking about this topic and find that many people have multiple questions about mental health – what is it, how can I improve it, and how do I know when it’s time to seek outside help? In the coming weeks, I will share with you tips on how to counsel yourself so you can feel better, happier and find more joy in your life; tips to maintaining good mental health.
Let’s begin with an acronym I’ve created to help you remember important keys to positive mental health:
C = Clear Your Mind
In order to clear you mind of negative thoughts and have more positive mental health, you must first understand the relationship between your thoughts, feelings and behavior, called the Cognitive Triangle
This is the first principle I teach to all of my counseling and life coaching clients, the relationship between your thoughts, feelings and behavior.
To have good mental health (barring chemical imbalance, pervasive mental health issues or more serious mental health concerns like sexual abuse or other kinds of trauma) it is important to not only understand this relationship but to manage it intentionally.
The average person does not realize or even think about his/her thinking. To tell you the truth most people live by their feelings, and then behave based on how they feel.
But GOD wants you live out of your will, in spite of how you feel. And if you want to feel better then, making a decision to think differently is the first step.
You do it all of the time. When you wake up on a Monday morning and don’t feel like going to work, you say talk to yourself, and say something like “Hey, I better get up and get to work cause I have to pay these bills.” Then you get up, in spite of how you feel.
That is an example of how, when you think a thought “I don’t feel like going to work” you feel a certain way i.e. tired, exhausted, etc. But when you change your thought “But I better get up and get to work cause I have to pay these bills” you feel differently i.e. motivated, energized, and you get up. Not that you still don’t feel exhausted, but you’ve made the decision, which influences your thinking which, in turn, drives your behavior.
So when I say C = Clear Your Mind, I’m referring to managing your thinking, clearing your mind of negative, pessimistic thoughts and replacing them with positive affirming thoughts so that you can improve your mood, and move in a positive direction in your life.
How do you CLEAR YOUR MIND?
How do you clear your mind of negative, pessimistic thinking and self-defeating beliefs?
Begin by noticing your self-talk, that internal conversation that you have with yourself all day long. That inner thinking voice that no one can hear but you.
Paying attention to your self-talk will help you to recognize your negative and pessimistic thinking which are connected to your negative emotions like sadness, regret, discontent, etc.
Start paying attention to the self-talk that you hear yourself thinking often. What phrases do you repeat to yourself constantly? What are your “go to” thoughts that you think regularly? When you begin to pay attention to your self-talk, you will begin to see a pattern of thought that you can then learn to manage so you can feel better, but the first step is being aware of your negative self talk. The second step is to write it down, then dispute it, but we’ll get to that in the coming weeks.
It’s not what happened to us that disturbs us, It’s how we think about what happened to us that disturb us” Albert Ellis, PhD
In the meantime, here are a few scriptures that you can use to meditate on especially when you are feeling bad.
Philippians 4:8 – For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is kind and gracious, if there be any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things (fix your mind on them)
2 Corinthians 10:5 – We refute arguments and theories and every lofty thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God; and we lead every thought captive in to the obedience of Christ.
Philippians 2:5 - Let the same attitude and mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:23 – And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the Word of God is alive and full of power, it is sharper than any 2-edged sword… exposing the sifting the very thoughts and purposes of the heart
2 Corinthians 10:4 – For the weapons of our warfare are not physical but they are might before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds.
Ephesians 6:12 – For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood, but against the despotisms, against the powers against the rules of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly sphere.
Rom 12:2 - Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of GOD.
Isaiah 26:3 -You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on YOU, because he trusts in YOU.
If you have a favorite scripture that you use when you are feeling down, please share it in the comments below or email me, and I will include your suggestions in the next blog post.