How to Bolster Your Mental Health - Deepstash

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Mental strength is the ability to control your mind instead of being controlled by it.

Becoming mentally strong doesn’t mean you are able to completely control everything that goes on in your head.

Mental strength means understanding which parts of your mind you can control and being able to do it well when it matters.

You may not be able to control whether a random worry pops into your mind. But you can control whether you keep worrying about it.

There are usually 3 factors that sabotage our emotional strenth:

1. Emotional dishonesty

2. Destructive mental time travel

3. Unhealthy impulses

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How to deal with the 3 Factors that Sabotage our Mental Strength

Like any kind of training, building mental strength requires a commitment to good habits and practices over time. However, some of these practices can be daunting especially if you have to think of how big of a change in character and lifestyle you have to make in order to be mentally strong. You would have already given up before you've even started.

Just like your with your least favorite vegetable or a bitter medicine, how about about taking them in small doses at a time?

Here are 3 small changes you can make that can make a difference

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1.Emotional Dishonesty: Not Being honest about how you feelings

This habit is so simple that it’s incredibly easy to miss.

There'a a chance that you're not quite as honest about your emotions—especially the really difficult ones—as you’d like to believe.

ou had a big argument with your spouse last night. This morning, your coworker asks you how you’re doing. You instantly do the textbook 'Im good' of emotional dishonesty because it’s not appropriate to talk about personal issues at work.

While its inappropriate to go into detail, that doesn’t mean you can't be honest with how you feel at all. A simple, "I’m doing okay but I had kind of a stressful night."

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Know how you really feel

First of all, Do you really know how you feel? Sure you know that you feel upset. But what emotions specifically are you feeling?

  • Are you feeling angry? If so, what type of anger—frustrated, mad, irritated?
  • Or maybe you’re feeling hurt… But what type of hurt? Do you feel sad or disappointed? Regretful or ashamed?
  • Or maybe—and much more likely—you’re feeling some combination of emotions… Mostly disappointed, but also a bit mad and anxious as well.

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And teach your brain that difficult emotions aren't dangerous

Even though you may intellectually know you're not ok,if you're in the habit of avoiding talking about how you feel, you’re training your brain to think that painful feelings are things to be avoided and feared and that is a set-up for emotional fragility and pain.

By taking even 3 seconds to acknowledge your emotions honestly to yourself and to others, rather than avoiding them, you're teaching your brain that, however painful, difficult emotions aren’t dangerous.

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2. Destructive Mental Time Travel: Resisting the unnecessary

The majority of emotional suffering is a direct result of too much mental time travel.

Mental time travel is the amazing ability we have to think about the future with our imagination or relive events from the past out of memory. While this can serve as a warning and help us plan and prepare for the future, this can also hurt us if used inappropriately.

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Hurt us how?

Anxiety. The vast majority of anxiety comes from unhelpful thinking about the future. Know when to use your mental time travel ability.

Shame. Many instances of depression and low self-esteem are driven by powerful mental habits of self-criticism and self-judgment. Though these painful mental habits can help you become a better person and improve your relationship with others, they can be horribly destructive if allowed to run wild.

Aggression and resentment. Ruminating on other people’s mistakes and shortcomings can quickly lead to excessive levels of anger, resentment, aggression, and conflict

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The Antidote to destructive mental time travel:

Cultivate the ability to hold your attention in the present moment. Use your ability to mentally time travel mindfully, not mindlessly

When faced with a challenging situation, keep your attention on that current situation, don't replay any upsetting past event to add to what you're already dealing with. Focus on what you currently have to do, or better, focus on the upside.

When going for a run, instead of replaying a fight you had w/ your spouse last night or worrying about your exam tomorrow, focus on how it feels to run and be outdoors,how the wind feels on your face or the music on your ipod

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3. Unhealthy impulses: Outcompete them with your values

All too often, our best intentions get sabotaged by our own minds: impulsive reactions, cravings, fears, and the like.

Resist these unhealthy impulses and cravings by shifting your focus onto your values: why you want to resist that impulse in the first place?

If you’re feeling the impulse to eat a second serving of dessert, don't just repeat 'don’t eat the dessert', over and over. Instead think about why you want to resist that craving in the first place. Maybe you value loosing weight and improving your health, or looking good at the beach this summer

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Clarify and Justify your Values

Then, once you’ve figured out at least one good value behind your desire to resist your craving, clarify and justify it: what are its benefits and advantages? What are the benefits of losing weight and getting healthy? What will you be able to do when you're healthier? How will it make you feel: will it give you more confidence, will it make your home life happier?

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CURATED BY

samsalt

Jack of all people-related trades, master of none. Majored in Psychology, Customer Service Assoc for a few Years, HR Officer for 4, Manager and ESL Teacher for over 11 yrs now, an artist since birth.

Mental illness can creep up when you least expect it. It pays to be mentally strong & prepared at all times

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