#mentalhealthmatters has over a billion tags on TikTok and several million on Instagram, but as I search the hashtag I see a wide variety of content, much of it glossing over what mental health truly is.
And that makes sense because there are several components of mental health and not a lot of them are fully understood. Even I, as a licensed therapist – sometimes struggle to truly define mental health.
For 2023 my goal for this blog is to focus on a Healthy Me. Holistically healthy – not just physical health, or grooming activities that we mistakenly label as self care (which they could be, but that’s a topic that will be covered in another blog), or emotionally healthy – but literally healthy in mind, body and spirit. And my goal is to take you along with me. Are you ready?
So why is mental health FIRST, LaVonia? I’m glad you asked.
Mental health is defined as “a state of well being in which an individual realizes her (or his) own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to (her) community.” (MentalHealth.gov). Mental health encompasses your emotional, psychological and social well-being – all topics that we will go into great detail over the next several months.
If our mental health isn’t priority, then nothing else will be permanent. If we can’t learn to take care of our cognitive (where thinking starts and actions begin), then nothing else will line up.
As a woman thinketh so is she. Proverbs 23:7. Even if you don’t love Jesus, you can find the truth in this statement. Our thoughts drive our actions. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can – said The Little Engine that could. That’ll preach so let’s let it.
I want to take literary creativity and add a ‘so’ in this mantra.
I think – SO – I can. So modifies what comes before and connects what comes after.
I think – I have the cognitive ability and the mental capacity. My head is clear from distractions, my focus is concentrated on my purpose or task. I am walking in understanding, I am in control of the thoughts that I allow to stay and occupy my headspace and I am capable of dispelling those thoughts that aren’t welcome. I choose which thoughts I allow to drive my mental train.
If this is true – (then) So –
I can – I am capable. I am present. I am accountable. I can accomplish what I set my mind to do. I don’t doubt my abilities or allow insecurities or fear of failure to stop me from trying because I already have thought it through, and I see myself succeeding.
It starts with thinking. I have to first think that I am capable, believe that I am capable (emotions which we will talk about in the next blog) and then act accordingly (alignment of thoughts, beliefs and actions.)
Over the next several weeks, we are going to dive deep. We’ll define each component of the health triangle (mental, physical and social well-being) and then we will dive into how to heal each one of these areas to become holistically healthy. I’ma be honest and let you know that the physical component will be approached from a therapeutic mentality too, so be mindful (see what I did there J) of that. There are so many programs and information about dieting, exercise and nutrition that I won’t even attempt to go down that road, but I will talk to you about how your mental health may be hindering or helping your physical health.
I’m going to give you some clinical terminology, but also practical implications. We are going to spend the first few months of 2023 clearing our thinking, re-establishing our beliefs and aligning our actions. And then we are going to watch the latter of 2023 be the healthiest version of ourselves – beyond what we could even imagine.
You ready to get started?