Can you believe it? It’s finally May. We have all been through a lot with the recent COVID-19 situation. One of the topics in the spotlight as a result of the pandemic is mental health. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it seems that it could not have come at a better time. Millions of people being exposed to a global pandemic and having to adapt their daily routine to fit COVID-19 precautions will definitely do a number on your mental health. So, what happens now? Well, you’ll probably be receiving an influx of mental health-related content (like this one) through most media sources. There will be tons of content strongly encouraging you to “speak up“ or “end the stigma”. The Mental Health Promo wave may be so overwhelming that maybe even people who don’t need mental health services will question, “Hey, I wonder if I should go see a therapist?”
So, let me help you out. Traditionally, psychology is known for focusing on, understanding, and fixing psychological problems. This remains true; however, thanks to the work of Martin Seligman (and many others) the world of psychology has been expanded to where one can focus on understanding and facilitating the positive and healthy aspects of our lives. Seligman guides us to see that mental health is a lot more than just the absence of mental illness, it is strengths that enhance our well-being which we can hone and fine-tune. This, by the way, is a healthy goal we should all strive for.
Well-being consists of:
- Positive Emotions – Do you allow yourself to experience positive emotions? Are things like anxiety, depression, anger, (insert negative emotion here) interfering with this?
- Engagement – Are you able to be fully engaged in what you are doing in a given moment? Are you able to stay present and enjoy? Or is your mind in the past/future?
- Relationships – Have you been able to establish and maintain positive relationships? Do you maintain proper boundaries in said relationships?
- Meaning – Have you found your passion and purpose? Can you identify the meaning behind what you do in your life?
- Accomplishment – Are you able to achieve your goals? And, more importantly, are you allowing yourself to celebrate the accomplishments along your journey?
If you are struggling with some or all of these bullet points it can be the cause of distress in your life and if this distress manifests itself in the form of anxiety, depression, or some other mood-related challenge, then, it might be wise for you to explore therapy. A good exercise would be to start logging how frequently these emotions are triggered so you can get a better idea of how much time you’re spending feeling “less than good”. By investing an hour a week in therapy you can learn proper coping skills that you can apply when you are feeling these distressing emotions. Being proactive with these skills will help you achieve your ultimate wellbeing.
And as I like to say, Proactivity = Productivity = Positive Emotions