Train your mind to boost your wellbeing

April 30, 2024

Photo by Dmitriy Ganin at Pexels

Alessia Georgiou explores practices to improve mental health

Having mental health issues is normal; acknowledging our difficult feelings is key. Suppressing them only increases stress. Remember, our difficult emotions won’t vanish overnight. Let’s aim to recognise how we feel; denying emotions will only heighten anxiety and stress.

Much about our lives is uncertain and many things remain outside our control. Ever since lockdown, teaching myself ways to quieten and enrich my mind has helped immensely in improving my mental health, and I hope that by sharing what I’ve learnt it will help you too.

Here is what I’ve discovered:

Focusing on what is good in our lives and appreciating it by pausing and noticing what we often take for granted is incredibly important.

How we can express gratitude:

  • Noticing: stop for a moment and acknowledge the good things in your life, the thoughtful things people do, and what you do for others
  • Feeling: appreciate what you’re grateful for. Allow yourself to let it make you feel good about yourself and your life
  • Doing: journal what you are grateful for, saying it aloud or in your head. Tell someone you appreciate them or do something kind for yourself or for others.

How will this help?

  • We can refocus on what we have, rather than what we lack
  • We’ll notice the positives more often than the negatives
  • We’ll feel greater happiness
  • It will help relish good experiences
  • It will help deal with adversity.

“There are only two days in the year that cannot be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly, live” – Dalai Lama.

Practicing positive thinking and self-empowerment is a vital tool for improving your mental health.

I started by finding powerful phrases that resonate with me. Over time, with concentration and regular repetition of these positive words, my mind started to embody them. This practice has motivated, challenged and pushed me to reach my full potential in life.

How do you do this?

  • Write down several areas in your life or behaviours that you’d like to work on
  • Turn negatives into positives; note down the persistent thoughts and beliefs that are bothering you. Then choose an affirmation that is the opposite of that thought or belief
  • Visualise: don’t just think, imagine these affirmations and what it would be like to embody them
  • Repetition: the power of affirmations lies in repeating them to yourself regularly. It’s useful to recite your affirmations several times a day (have them pop up in your notifications!). Examples: “I am worthy”. “I attract good things”. “I am deserving”. “I attract success”.

How will this help?

  • Reprogram your thinking patterns positively
  • Increase your confidence
  • Build up your self-esteem – learn to love yourself
  • You’ll start to attract more good things – by speaking them into existence
  • Motivation and focus beats procrastination
  • Calming your nerves will help in stressful situations (e.g. a test or job interview).

There are numerous ways to help you heal and there are many healing methods. However, it doesn’t mean you will be totally cured or that you will never feel the ramifications of any trauma or negativity you’ve experienced in your life.

Nevertheless, shadow work is a healing method that has helped me greatly. It is working with your unconscious mind to uncover the parts of yourself that you repress and hide from. These can be parts of your personality that you subconsciously consider undesirable.

How do you do shadow work?

  • Identify your inner shadow: spot habits you may have that are bad or are bringing you down. What patterns do you replicate that are holding you back?
  • Think back to your childhood: explore what parts of you were treated as bad or lesser as a child. Which emotions were you punished for having? Look into inner child healing;
  • Avoid shaming your shadow: embrace the things you don’t like about yourself. Fully accept that side of yourself and practice self-awareness;
  • Shadow journal or inner dialogue: you can let out your thoughts using the written word. Write whatever comes up without overthinking it. Or have inner conversations with your shadow. Ask yourself some questions and listen without judgment.

How will this help?

  • You will build better relationships with others. You can only fully love and accept others when you love and accept yourself;
  • Gaining self-acceptance will get rid of the self-loathing you may unconsciously have and help you accept all parts of yourself;
  • Discover your hidden talents. You can uncover the ‘gold in your shadow bags’ – your inner strengths and resources you didn’t realise you had. Tempt this empowered side of yourself out of hiding so you step into everything you are capable of doing;
  • Increase your clarity. It will give you greater awareness of how your thoughts, emotions and feelings lead you to act the way you do.

I hope my suggestions help you improve your mental health!

Alessia is studying A-level English literature, sociology and psychology. She has an interest in creative and informational writing, debates, discussing societal topics and travel. She loves to express these through producing articles for Exposure.

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