Our mental health is important. That’s what’s going to get us out of bed in the morning, govern our day, and determine how our interactions within ourselves and with other people are going to go. So we’ve got to get this straightened out ASAP, right?! Now, most people have, or will have in their lifetimes, some mental health issues of some sort. Grief, for one, will be there, as will anxiety, depression, and stress. These don’t always have to reach clinical intervention levels, but they often do. Here are a few things that I’ve learned that may help.
Do what you love because you love doing it. Don’t choose a career because it’s going to make you millions if you’re not going to enjoy it. Don’t engage in activities that you don’t like or that don’t fulfill your needs on a basic level just because someone else expects you to do them. Find something YOU love to do and DO it!!! Find your passion in life!!! Then DO it!!!
Notice there’s an action word here. “DO”. You have to actually DO these things that you love for them to have the desired effect. Yes, that includes when you don’t feel like doing them. It’s especially important to do them when you don’t feel like doing them. There’s an behavior-emotion feedback loop that works as follows: your emotions can affect your behavior, and your behavior can affect your emotions. It works both ways. I know this from experience and all the psychological training I’ve had, in addition to my doctor telling me this time and time again. The hardest part is often getting started doing what you love to do. Once you get started, you remember that you feel better when you do this thing that you love, and you begin to feel better!!! For example, with me, it’s climbing. The hardest thing for me to do is get to the climbing gym and then get on the wall. Once I get on the wall, a switch in my brain gets flipped and I’m loving life and feeling great! I absolutely love climbing!!! It’s the only thing that has that effect on me!!! Other things do, to a lesser extent, but climbing is an automatic high for me. I have to DO it, though. I HAVE TO ACTUALLY CLIMB. Thinking about climbing can raise my mood. Watching YouTube videos and DVD’s of climbing gets me psyched a little more. Being on the wall and fully engaged at the climbing gym is great! Climbing outdoors is the ultimate!!! Whether indoors or outdoors, though, actually doing it – ACTUALLY CLIMBING – is what flips my switch and makes me feel better. I do better when I climb. You have to find something like that in your own life. And you have to find a way to make it to wherever you need to be or go to DO it!
Here’s where routine and commitment come in. Routine? We all know what that is. That’s the day-in, day-out, this-is-what-we-do-every-day-because-this-is-what-we-do thing. You have to make a commitment to the thing you love DOING, and make a routine out of it so that, even when you don’t feel like doing it, you DO it anyway!!! That way, no matter how you feel, you end up feeling better anyway!!! This is on a purely behavioral level. You do it, you feel better. You make it a habit and a routine, you do it, you feel better. You feel better, you do better. It’s not easy. That’s why I’m going through this element of the thing extensively. There are days, like this week for me, when I don’t feel like doing anything. I haven’t been climbing yet this week. I’ll own up to being a hypocrite at the moment. If I’d go DO what I love to do and go CLIMBING, I’d FEEL better!!! I could make a million excuses, and some of them would be valid. Validity doesn’t justify my lack of DOING, though!!! I NEED TO CLIMB!!! It’s that simple, yet that complicated. Get where I’m coming from?
So whatever your passion is, go DO it and feel awesome about it!!! Live life and make it a spectacular journey!!! And don’t forget why you do what you do – because you love it!!! Meanwhile, I’m going to listen to a podcast featuring a climber-doctor who’s supposed to be inspirational. We’ll find out! The key is that I’m DOING something about it!!!