In the final part of our life hacks series we are looking at how doing what you are good at, keeping in touch and asking for help can set you on the path to good mental health.
7. Do things you are good at
These days it feels like criticism is more common than praise. As a society we celebrate a child doing anything well but once they hit adulthood we seem to flick the switch from bravo to blame. Thereafter it is a life of appraisals, 360 degree feedback and assessments – which all tend to focus on what you are not doing well.
None of that is good for our mental health. A simple life hack to improve that situation is to spend as much time as you can doing things you are good at.
It might not be something celebrity websites or Instagram suggest we should be good at, but that does not devalue it. In fact it probably makes it more valuable. Good at cooking? Cook and enjoy preparing a great meal for yourself or others. Green fingered? Fill your home with blooming plants or help a neighbour who kills cactuses. Good at building Lego kits? Build a Lego kit. You get the idea.
There may be 101 things you are not particularly great at but there will be at least 1 (and usually more) that you are good at. Find it and do it. And do it lots.
8. Keep in touch
Humans were made to interact with each other. Relationships are fundamental to our wellbeing and mental health. Scientific research has proven that interaction with other humans keeps us healthier and happier.
Isolation can be a cause of poor mental health. It can also be a symptom of poor mental health if we deliberately choose to isolate ourselves. That is why keeping in touch, keeping in contact is so important.
Keep in touch with friends and family, particularly the ones who are good for you. You know who they are: the people that make you feel good about yourself, have you laughing and leave a smile on your face. Instead of getting sucked in to the trends of communicating only via WhatsApp or text, do something radical with your smartphone and call them. Better still call them to arrange a time to meet up in person.
It is easy to slip in to a mind-set that ‘no one is interested’ in you if the mobile is not ringing. Instead flip it around and consider that a friend could be sitting at home thinking exactly the same thing. Give them a call, get together and you will both feel better.
9. Ask for help
A particularly Scottish trait is to soldier on, suck it up and push through difficult times. Self-reliance and resilience are good skills to develop. But not when they begin to harm your mental health and wellbeing.
Stubbornness is probably up there with soldiering on as a famous Scottish trait. It often manifests itself as an unwillingness to ask for help when we know deep down, that we really need it. Meaning we try to fix relationship problems and struggles with mental health ourselves.
There are problems we cannot solve ourselves, despite our best efforts. Unless you are a qualified plumber you will not be able to fix a broken boiler. So why would we expect to solve significant life issues ourselves with no help or support?
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness in mind or spirit. It is a demonstration of strength and intelligence. The Spark is an organisation ready to help with the big life issues and challenges we all face. Through counselling or just discussing a problem on our free Counselling Helpline, you can confidentially begin to address the issues causing unhappiness in your life.