Trying to Get on an Upswing

I was reflecting on my last few posts about goals and goal-setting when a thought popped into my head. I feel like once or twice a year, I get fixated on goal-setting and self-improvement. It’s a mixture of reflection and idealism. I try to think up better strategies for my goals and ways to achieve them. At the same time, I know that there are many circumstances that get in my way, some of which are of my own making. But there’s another aspect of goal-setting that I only recently discovered and that’s what I’d like to talk about today.

Mental health, like many things in life, has its ups and downs. There are some weeks when I feel like everything is working in my favor; my schedule has a flow, and I know what I’m doing. Other weeks…not so much. There’s mix between order and chaos, busy and bored, with most of my time somewhere in between these extremes.

I’ve gained a pretty decent sense of when I’m in the midst of an up or down, but there are times where things feel tricky. One of these times (that I’ve been able to identify ) is when I feel like things could be on an upswing.

There are many reasons why a person could feel like they’re on an upswing. Maybe you’re doing well at work, or enjoying a newfound relationship with someone. You might think you’re entering a new phase of life and hoping to settle in to what’s to come.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with thinking I could be on an upswing. It’s happened before and I know it will happen again. Sometimes it’s because of what’s going on around me. Other times, it’s simply a feeling and that’s where I run into trouble.

When I’m on the verge of being in this upswing, I feel like anything I do that get’s in the way of success is a massive road block. I’m almost afraid to set a goal because of the possibility I won’t achieve it. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter how big or small the goal is; it’s the fear of not achieving it that gets in the way.

Setting and achieving goals doesn’t have to have as much weight as I give it. Every goal I make doesn’t have to make-or-break my mental health, my psyche or my wellness. If I reach my goals I should revel in the accomplishment but if I fall short, I don’t want to be so dejected that I give up. Getting on an upswing isn’t just about what I do; it’s about my frame of mind in doing it. The more I can change and improve this approach, the more possible and common these upswings can be.


Mental Health and Complacency

There have been many moments along my mental health journey where I’ve felt like I’ve failed. I don’t quite know how I’m failing or in what way, but I feel that I am. There’s a sense of impending doom, a fear that I am not living up to my potential, that I’m not accomplishing enough. Enough what? you might ask. To be honest, I don’t know what to tell you. This desire to be enough, to do enough isn’t only tied to what I’m hoping to gain. It’s also about what I’m hoping to avoid. There’s a fear of complacency about my mental health that I never want to test, and that is what I’d like to share today.

What does it mean to be complacent?

Complacency is a challenging word for me. It’s one of the many concepts that are difficult for a young person to grasp, despite how often people use the word. From what I could tell, I was trying my hardest at the things I tried growing up and avoiding complacency. I played sports, I tried my best in school and I tried to take something from the hobbies and activities I wasn’t as talented at.

But in those younger years, the idea of complacency never came up. It was when I was older that I heard adults talking about it, about the desire to to never settle. Complacency breeds failure, I was told. Being complacent will get in the way of winning. The fears of complacency were drilled into me as a teenager and young adult and I think these effects still resonate with me today.

I understand that there are plenty of areas in life where it’s not good to be complacent. That desire to strive and be the best at what we do is understandable. But what about in our mental health? What does it mean to be complacent with our mental health, and is that a good or bad thing?

What complacency means to me

Many of us have worked hard to get where we are with our mental health. It’s taken days, months and years of learning, understanding and trying to grow in ways that help us live healthier lives. We find what works and learn what doesn’t, but each new thing we learn is valuable. If I find something that works for my mental wellness, I want to build around it and make it part of my routine. I want my mental health to be as consistent as possible but given all I’ve been told in my life, that sounds eerily similar to complacency.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s not about complacency at all. It’s possible that mental illness can exacerbate my fear of complacency, or get in the way of it. I confuse a lot of things in life with anxiety and depression, and vice versa. It’s affected my relationship with happiness and joy, fear and panic. It’s changed how I see agitation and aggravation. But that’s okay. It’s all part of me. If I keep that desire to figure out my mental health challenges and move forward, I know I’m not being complacent. I’m simply doing the best I can with what I have which in my mind, is the opposite of being complacent.

Now, over to you! Do you have any sort of feelings about the word complacency? Is it a useful word in your life or (like me) do you struggle with it? Let me know in the comments!

"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it." Quote from George Bernard Shaw over a photo of mountains.

Finding the Rhythm of Life

When I watch movies, there’s a specific type of scene that always makes me jealous. Before we see our characters go off on their adventure, we sometimes see a morning routine montage – a quick-cutting, crisp shot-by-shot look at how these people get going in the morning. Maybe it’s because we know their world is about to change or because of the way it sets the scene, but that peek into a character’s life is such a great way to get to know our heroes of this story. But on occasion, it also makes me wonder – why can’t my days have more of that sort of rhythm?

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Five Reminders About Negative Thoughts

Earlier this week, I wrote about the persistence of negative thoughts and how I manage them on a daily basis. Even though negative thoughts are a big part of my mental health journey, I’ve learned some things over the years that have helped manage my approach to negative thoughts and the power they have over me. Today, I wanted to share five reminders that I repeat on a daily basis when I manage my negative thoughts.

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Making Space for Positive Moments

I’ve written about the power of positive moments a few times on this blog. One time, it was about it’s hard for me to enjoy good moments or changes in my life. Another time, it was about trying to hold on to those good memories, wherever they find me, and take them with me as I continue on my mental health journey. The relationship between people and their memories is fascinating to me. For some people, memories are something to be left in the past, to never be thought of again. For others, memories can be a crutch that can hamper someone from continuing on with their life. In any case, I think there’s a positive relationship we can cultivate with our memories that can help us grow stronger on our mental health journeys.

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What’s Possible for Your Mental Health

It’s possible.

I’ve been trying to work these two words into my vocabulary for months, trying to say it out loud as much as I can. It’s possible. There are a ton of ways to say it too, based on your inflection, so it was also important that I was saying it in the right tone of voice. At first, I was saying it wrong and turning into a negative phrase, but after some repetition, I’ve been turning it into a more positive reminder and tried to strip those words of their negativity.

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Taking a Minute

Things move very fast for me these days. Maybe it’s that I’m keeping myself busy with writing, or doing my best to maintain a mentally healthy lifestyle, but sometimes days fly by without me noticing. Not that I mind; I have some long-term goals in mind that I am very much looking forward to, and they can’t happen without the passage of time (hopefully I’ll get into those goals one day on this blog – I’m very excited about them!). However, time moving too quickly is a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, if I’m having a bad day mentally I’m just hoping that the day will move by without further incident, that I can make it to bedtime with my mental health still intact. There are days where I long for my bed so that I simply lie down and try to conquer the thoughts in my mind.

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