Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
Each and every one of us will have stressful events to deal with, for the most part we deal with challenges the best way we can and move on with our lives, learning as we go. We may not give ourselves enough credit for this.
However, stresses can build up and interfere with the way we think, feel and behave. In other words, our emotional or mental wellbeing can start to suffer.
The following suggestions can help us take care of our mental health:
Be kind to yourself - often we are our own worse critics. Rather than praise ourselves for doing our best and having a go, we are self-critical and put ourselves down. ‘Not good enough - could do better - wrong, again - can’t do this’.
Being aware of the times when we have done our best and being able to give ourselves some credit will help us feel good about ourselves. We may have had messages from our childhoods that self-praise will give us a ‘big head’? Is that true? Could it be that noticing positive feelings in ourselves will make us more likely to notice and praise the efforts of others?
Help others: get connected - Whether or not we have paid employment, being involved with a community project, charity work or simply helping out another person are great ways of staying connected to the wider community and making valuable contributions.
When our mental health is suffering, we tend to look inwards, to be absorbed in our own thoughts and feelings. By looking to the needs of others, we are not only of value to them, we also help ourselves to feel better by redirecting our attention away from ourselves.
Talk - about your feelings. Often we keep our feelings to ourselves fearing sharing them is a sign of weakness. In fact expressing feelings is an effective way of reducing their intensity. Recognising our feelings, naming them e.g. anger, sadness, shame or regret, defuses their power over us and is a good starting point for the process of change. Talking to a trusted friend or relative is often enough.
Sometimes we may have thoughts and feelings that are deep seated. We can feel ‘stuck’ in a situation where change seems too difficult. Seeing a professional counsellor can help. A visit to the GP will help if these feelings are significantly impacting on daily life.