As I write this, it’s Student Mental Health and Well-being day, and in honour of that this post is about positive steps you can take to improve your mental well-being. It starts off with the rather tough week I had last week. It had been brewing all week, then last weekend it all sort of came to a head. I had gone through so many emotions; from feeling down about things going on in my life, to trying to get organised with uni work, to really wondering where I’m going wrong; that despite the fact I keep telling myself all of the positive things I write about in this blog, I still have down days, and recently there seem to have been quite a lot. Then a realisation hit me (not for the first time, if you read my blog you’ll know I’ve been hit by a lot of realisations recently!) the reason I felt so down on myself was because I kept coming back to focusing on the negative aspects of my life. The lesson I woke up too late to attend, the coursework I could have done better on, the friend who I seem to have lost touch with. The scary thought of what I’m going to do after university. No wonder I was feeling down a lot, if I constantly looked at the bad things which had happened or could happen, then I was just trapping myself in a never ending cycle.
Most people are good at doing this, I’m sure you’ve all had times when you just couldn’t shake yourself out of a slump, feeling like nothing was going your way and life was just one big mess you didn’t have the energy to clean up. The thing is, that is never going to get you anywhere, except perhaps further stuck in the dark pit of your own making. The only way to be happy is to focus on the positives, and work to build on them, and improve the things that are getting you down. I’ve talked about this a lot, but I got to a stage this week where I’d become stuck in a circle of my own talk. It’s all well and good to realise that you should do x, y and z to be happier, and then go on the internet and write all about it so other people can read it and nod their heads in agreement. That’s pretty easy, anyone can just repeat what they’ve heard others saying and seem like they are more ‘put together’ than they actually are. The hard part, the bit which will actually tangibly improve your life, is in putting those words into actions. So instead of just sitting at my computer, telling you all about my life and the ‘revelations’ which I get on a seemingly regular basis, I am going to put my money where my mouth is (so to speak) and take action.
Right at this moment I am in the process of putting together a ‘happiness workshop’ which I hope to run with some of my friends this week, and I have also started a motivation journal. Obviously this won’t be for everyone, as we all work best, and respond well to different sorts of activities and affirmations, but for me personally, making myself take time out to reflect on the positives, and then document that, is a really helpful process. If it’s your sort of thing, I have linked the post from Hello Giggles which gave me the idea for this. You’ll need a new notebook to serve as your journal, and a good amount of time set aside to think about what to write in the front sections. I honestly think it’s so worth it, as it helps you to focus on your goals, dreams and good qualities, and be grateful for things too. You can read the step by step guide here: http://hellogiggles.com/a-recipe-for-inspiration.
As well as looking at that, I’ve also been emailed some info on mental health and well-being by my university, which came with a great picture detailing a lot of things you can do to invest in your own mental well-being, and also that of others around you. It’s a great little list to have around, so if you’re feeling down or just have some time to spare you can do something good for yourself, which we forget about too often in the busy modern society we live in.
If you have any other ideas of things you could do to improve your mental well-being, or things that you’re already doing, please share them in the comments so others may benefit from them too! I will write more about my happiness workshops once I’ve got further down the road of development too, so watch this space!