I’ll be honest – these next few months are one of my favorite times of the year. Even though the wintertime can be difficult for many reasons, I separate the holiday season from those negative thoughts that I fight throughout the winter months. To me, the holiday aspect of these next few months is a lot about thankfulness, gratitude and reflection. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to share something I am very thankful for this year, which was the opportunity to learn new techniques to manage my mental health struggles. Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned!
There are two things I am very thankful for this year when it comes to my mental health. The first thing is that I’m thankful for is finding a therapist who has encouraged me to explore a new type of therapy (ACT therapy, which I’ve written about on this blog before) that helps me learn to live with my mental health struggles and be a productive person despite the challenges that come up. Until this year, my experience with therapy has primarily been through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which I haven’t found to be successful. Being encouraged to try a new type of therapy is an experience I’ve never had, and it’s led to better therapy sessions than I’ve ever had before, which has led to me learning more about myself and my mental health – a good win all around.
The second thing I am thankful for when it comes to my mental health is a renewed success with meditation. With the encouragement of a very good person in my life, I’ve been working on meditating to re-center myself and find peace in different moments throughout the day. I’ve tried meditation on and off for years, and it usually ended with me feeling more tense than when I’d started. Timing is everything when it comes to implementing techniques to manage mental health – what may work at one point in your life may not work in another area, and vice versa. I am glad that I was able to take another chance on this technique and make it work for me.
One thing I always keep in mind this time of year is how difficult it can be for a person to remain positive, or how to respond when someone says to just be thankful for what we have. In the mental health community, there is a complicated relationship with gratitude, and it can shine through on Thanksgiving just as much as any other holiday. That’s why, when we realize we’re thankful for something like mental wellness, personal growth or learning a new technique to manage our mental health, it’s important to acknowledge and hold onto that moment however we can.
It’s not always easy to find things to be thankful for – especially when it comes to our mental health. But I hope you can find some positives this holiday season, and I encourage you to look for the good in what you’ve done this year. This approach has been important in my mental health journey, and even when I fail, the attempt to recognize growth does a lot for me – and I hope it does the same for you. Happy Thanksgiving.