I first posted these 10 things 3 years ago for my 30th Birthday. Here they are again for those who might find them helpful.
Plus, I include my take on them at 33. One of them I actually changed as I have evolved my thinking.
Note: I am not a Mental Health professional. I am just a fellow human being yelling from the roof top, “Let’s take care of ourselves!” I always recommend seeking professional help when you feel you need it and you are able to.
1. How serious do I take my own Mental Health?
Often times when we mention mental health we are referring to someone else’s mental health or society’s mental health. I think it’s important to sometimes look in the mirror and evaluate our own mental state. We need to take care of ourselves.
2. Have I ever gotten professional help for my mental health?
Not everyone needs professional help or has access to professional help, but I think it’s an important question to ask ourselves so we can explore our options if we feel we may need to.
3. Do I listen?
Listening is important both with ourselves and with others. I believe listening to our body (including our thoughts – mindfulness) is a very proactive way of taking care of ourselves. With other people, sometimes people just need to be heard. Whenever possible, it’s good to be that person.
4. How self aware am I?
I find most people (often myself included) aren’t aware of their own behavior. I think it’s important to ask this as a check on ourself, almost like a reality check. This can be a great prevention measure for bad and/or escalating situations.
5. How can I help end stigmas?
While I still think this is a great question to ask, I think it’s important to know the complexities of this. Society is filled with so many stereotypes and stigmas. They go well beyond mental health, but they all link back to mental health. I’m learning the best approach to this is to just be human. Be kind and understanding. Be ok with being wrong and be open to learning a better way of treating others.
6. Do I randomly check on my friends?
I still struggle with this one myself and I know how important is. I often get could up in the chaos of my life (which isn’t the greatest excuse). Whether people admit or not, it does make a positive impact (at least for me).
7. Do I ever disconnect?
I think it’s extremely important for our mental well being to disconnect from everything once in awhile, especially the way the world is today. I sometimes disconnect for long periods. I think it’s counterproductive to our mental health to be constantly checking social media, feeling the need to post, and seeking approval from others.
8. How can I work through negative experiences and emotions?
This one I changed. The original question was: How can I replace negativity with positivity? I now understand that negative experiences and emotions are unavoidable. To force yourself to only have positivity around you is a form of toxic positivity, which is a form of suppression. The better questioning for ourselves is about how to work through (acknowledge and heal) the negativity in a way that doesn’t harm ourselves or others.
9. Do I take the mental health of others into consideration?
We don’t know what most people are going through and we probably never will. This question is about being considerate and understanding of others. It’s about knowing that we have absolutely no idea where others have been, where they’re going, what has happened to them, what is happening to them, what their current situation is, and so on and so forth. Bottom line, just be kind.
10. Have I ever shared my mental health story?
Excellent question, but still very discretionary. Being vulnerable and sharing a personal story of mental health does wonders for those struggling in silence. For starters, it lets them know that they are not alone. It also helps to bring visibility to the cause, which matters greatly when fighting to change the current mental health system to better work for everyone. However, only share your story when you are ready and comfortable.