Mental health is not about eating clean, living clean and natural alternatives. Sometimes it’s a very large glass of wine or late night full fat refined sugar snack or just finding the right medication dose. And that’s ok! Because what’s important is you’re ok not how you get there. It’s taken me a very long time to realise how detrimental the perception of what “you should do” is on mental health. I find what we think people will think shape so many of our life decisions, there’s definitely points where I’ve reflected on why I’ve done something and it’s because of my inability to have an argument with someone else about it, because they just can’t see what they’re asking of me is actually hurting me. This doesn’t mean I don’t hurt myself through my actions. It is just important to keep in mind that although people can have the best intentions that these come with their own biases. Reaching out for help can be the onslaught of SO many people telling what you should do, it’s overwhelming.
I’ve never been one for doing what other people think is best for me. I have had very strong opinions of how I think things should operate even if they’re against the norms of society and this has led to many moments in my life where I’m not behaving in line with my fundamental beliefs and values, you know because peer pressure. This is called cognitive dissonance and it’s an excellent tool for shaping desired behaviour if you’re trying to create habits for a healthier life. Healthier in the holistic view, I aim for a mentally healthy life and yes physical health plays into this but also interpersonal relationships balanced with selfishness. If you’re someone who say is really passionate about the environment but you litter or buy fast fashion those behaviours either mean the environment isn’t as important to you as you perceive it to be or you’ve not consciously made the connection that those actions don’t align with your values. When people are made aware that their beliefs and actions differ, one of two things generally happen… they change their behaviour or change their belief. Cognitive dissonance causes me a lot of anxiety, and it’s a time where I sit down and think about the way I behave and how that aligns with my beliefs and decide what is actually best for me. Especially when I’m in the head space I have been in recently, it’s very important that I can identify if there’s anything causing unnecessary stress. Keep in mind my last post, not everything that causes us anxiety is bad for us. I’m focusing my attention on a few of my behaviours that don’t align with logically what I know is best for me so I’m working towards small changes to help build some habits to better align my behaviour towards my mental health. The first step I take to determining these things is completing a habits journal for 2 weeks. It’s just being mindful of your habits and reflecting on when you do certain behaviours. Somethings are easy to shape such as “I bite my nails when… ” or “I eat shitty food when.. ” some are harder to correlate to a trigger. Important fact – habits cannot be negatives, you can’t not – not do something as part of habit building. Habits are positive. And I am looking forward to building some positive habits.