After writing the first part of this post earlier this week, I’ve definitely got self-assessments on the brain. Whether it’s as simple as running through the last few days or doing an in-depth audit of yourself, trying to look at your thoughts and actions from a broad scope have helped me understand myself better. When I self-assess, I always learn more about myself than I thought I would. I pick up new knowledge and insight, and it helps me continue on my mental health journey. After writing about assessing our vocabulary, I wanted to spend the second part talking about something of equal importance – assessing the way we approach mental health.
In the past eight years, I have learned plenty of tips, techniques and strategies for managing my mental health. Some of those have worked wonders, while others never stood a chance of working. Some provided brief relief, and there are techniques I still use today. But the journey to finding mental health strategies that worked for me was not a direct path, and that continues to this day. This means that every so often, I have to take a look at what I’m doing to manage my anxiety and depression and see if changes need to be made.
What Are Your Strategies for Mental Wellness?
The number of listicles I’ve ran through over the years has taught me that there are plenty of things people do to find and maintain mental wellness. Physical exercise, meditation, journaling and therapy are some of the more well-known activities for mental wellness, and things like stress balls, fidget spinners or finding routines are helpful techniques for managing anxiety. The first step of assessing your strategies is to make sure you know what they are. That might sound obvious, but I’ve had conversations with people who don’t realize that something they’ve been doing for years, an activity or a habit they’ve developed, is essentially a coping strategy to maintain mental wellness. Being aware of what you do is the first step!
Are Those Strategies Working?
Regardless of what strategies we use, a very important part of assessing our mental health strategies is being honest about how effective they are. Do we have strategies that are actively working for us, or are we doing the same thing over and over hoping it sticks? I was in therapy, on and off for several years, before I realized that the CBT approach was not effective for me. But it took a long time to accept that a well-known, common strategy wasn’t going to work for me, and I had to turn to other things.
Both aspects of this self-assessment are necessary to take a good look at your mental health strategies. You need to be aware of what you’re currently doing, and you need to be honest about if it’s actually effective. I also want to add that when we try new things, it’s helpful to try strategies where some involve mental health professionals and others are on your own. For example, therapy would be a strategy with a mental health professional, and journaling could be something you do on your own. Maintaining a healthy mix of that is also important, because your mental health is just that – YOURS!
I hope some of this self-assessment information helps – if not in the short-term, maybe somewhere down the road. Building effective and healthy ways of managing our mental health go a long way toward mental wellness, and there is always room to grow.
Reflecting on mental health strategies can be exhausting, but it can also be extremely helpful. Did you ever learn an effective strategy that surprised you? Did you find one that didn’t work as well as you thought? Let me know!