Right around March, many of us turn our focus to a spring refresh in our homes. Tasks often include ridding homes of excess clutter, scrubbing crevices that don’t often get attention, and organizing what we do choose to keep. We do this yearly, and our homes reap the benefits of this refresh and reset. Have you ever thought of giving your mental health and mindset a refresh? Taking care of our brain is one of the most rewarding and important choices we can make. Yearly mental health resets could offer massive benefits for those that choose to make it a priority. Beginning therapy, practicing gratitude, kicking negative thought patterns, or building positive routines are just a few of the many excellent ways to kick start your mental health spring clean.
One of the most obvious choices we can make to take care of our minds is going to therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, known as CBT, is one of the most effective methods for handling a vast range of mental health issues. CBT is one of the most common forms of talk-based therapy and is widely available and accessible. There are multiple different ways to engage in CBT such as in-person therapy sessions and telepsychiatry. For those that prefer the comfort of their own home, telepsychiatry is a great way to actively work towards improving mental health while remaining in a well-known environment. For those that prefer to speak with their therapist in person and don’t mind traveling outside of the home, in-office options are ideal. Both options allow for face-to-face interactions, as telepsychiatry can be done via online video chat. Whatever method you prefer, therapy is a perfect place to begin your spring mental decluttering.
Gratitude is an important practice that helps to re-route our brains when negative self-talk, stress, or anxiety strikes. By either saying aloud or writing down three things to be grateful for, we can actively switch up the spiral the brain is engaging in. The benefits of consistent gratitude practice are astounding. Some of the incredible benefits include improved sleep, decreased stress levels, and increased self-esteem. One of the easiest ways to integrate a regular gratitude practice into our daily lives is by journaling. Whether it is first thing in the morning or right before going to bed, allotting the time each day to write down what we are grateful for can enhance our overall happiness by 10%. Another huge benefit to practicing gratitude is the reinforcing of positive emotions. In general, what we practice is what we become good at. By focusing more-so on positive thoughts, we become increasingly skilled at positive thinking. Integrating this practice into our daily routine can have wonderful effects on our mental health.
Everyone can be guilty of allowing themselves to engage in negative thoughts from time to time. Typically, stressful situations or low points of self-esteem are to blame for this. When we allow ourselves to participate in negative self-talk we are moving further away from a positive place with our mental health. Fortunately, there are countless ways in which we can force ourselves to halt this common thought pattern. The first of these is allowing yourself to simply observe your thoughts. It is normal and, in many cases, healthy to recognize negative thoughts as long as we can sort through them in a positive way. For example, if you are feeling a lack of motivation to exercise you may instinctively tell yourself you are lazy or unhealthy. By taking a step back and telling yourself you are experiencing a moment of negative self-talk and you do not deserve to speak to yourself this way, you are reinforcing a sense of self-worth and internal gentleness. Another great way to kick negative thoughts is by visualization. An example of this is when a negative thought pops into your mind, close your eyes, and visualize a stop sign. We do not question stopping our cars at stop signs and with enough practice we can train ourselves to stop negative thoughts as well. There are many other simple and effective ways to practice stopping negativity in its tracks and the best way to find what works for you is to experiment and try different methods.
It’s a no-brainer to work towards kicking negative habits to improve mental health. But what do we replace them with? Mapping out positive routines that we can build to promote inner wellness is an important place to start. Some examples of positive routines that can make a dramatic difference for our minds are journaling, meditation, movement, and mindfulness. On average, it takes about 66 days to form a habit. This is roughly two months and is an incredibly small amount of time when compared to a lifetime of increased happiness. In the beginning of habit forming, it can feel challenging and labor intensive which is where motivation is needed. The more days these habits are completed, the more automatic they will gradually begin to become. For example, spending 5 extra minutes in bed each morning to meditate could feel unnatural at first and will require dedication. But the benefits of meditation are so incredible that they will begin to be experienced within the first few days. Some of the most noteworthy benefits of mediation are increased patience, greater self-awareness, reduced stress and positive perspective. All of these benefits add up to a more positive state of wellbeing and mental health.
A Spring refresh is no longer made for only our physical homes. By engaging in this yearly mental health cleanse, we can continue to reintroduce positive habits and skills into our lives as well as actively focus on ridding ourselves of the ones that have negative impacts. Remembering that we are active participants in our own mental health allows us to maintain control and power over how we think and feel. It’s also important to remember that this reset and refresh can take place anytime throughout the year. There is no reason to wait on your mental health. Prioritize your mental health whenever you can!
Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals are qualified to help you at our Flower Mound, Texas, and Southlake, Texas, offices. Our Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Counselors specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological testing, and medication management for a variety of emotional and behavioral health needs. All services are available in-person and online (telehealth). If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are here to help.