We celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10 every year. On any other day, we generally greet, gift, and appreciate people for whom the day is meant. On mental health day, we need to do the same with ourselves.
Our mental health comprises of how we think, feel, and behave. The words we speak regularly and our beliefs influence what we think. Beliefs are deeply held assumptions about us and others that we keep repeating or hear it being repeated to us over a period. Our beliefs provide a foundation upon which we base our every decision.
E.g., If you believe you are a good dancer, you'll have no issues going on the dance floor anywhere. Similarly, if you believe that people are fake, you would be cautious about talking to them and forget about taking the initiative to make friends.
I would like to tell you about a few incidents from my life that helped me change my beliefs for the better.
I was around 14 years old and expressed my willingness to move to the nearest city, which was around 130 km away for my further studies, to my father. I tried convincing him by saying how I would be left behind as not many opportunities were available where I lived. Of course, my father would never agree to that. I knew that, but I still tried. He couldn't just bluntly say no or ignore me since I was his favourite child (no offence to my siblings :)). What he came up with at that time helped me immensely in my life. He said, I can't send you away from home now, but if you have a burning desire to be or do something, you are smart enough to figure out a way to do it. I didn't like it and was frustrated and angry with him.
I didn't go anywhere and forgot I had ever asked about something like that. As I progressed in my life, I somehow started believing that I could do whatever I wanted to do. My father had a significant role in this. Yes, he would scold me, say no to my visits to my friend's house, and was sometimes irrational, but throughout my years with him, he made me believe in various ways that I have infinite potential. When my mom was completely unhappy with my underdeveloped cooking skills, my father would tell me that I could write a recipe book one day because cooking is nothing but a mix of spices here and there. When I would cry, which I used to do a lot, he would come and pamper me and remind me what I am good at and uplift my spirits. He would not allow me to go to my friend's house, but when I went out of the city for my higher studies, he would not only allow me to travel on the bus alone for a 4-hour journey but also give me tips to make me feel safe about it. He never spoke emotionally, but his unspoken words, gestures, and trust in me made me the person I am today, and I'm so grateful.
He never allowed me to follow anything just because others were doing that. Instead, he pushed me to use my brain. When I tried to choose a path that seemed easy, as my friends were doing, he disagreed and forced me to recognize my strengths and weaknesses to use them for my benefit. At that time, I found him harsh and unsupportive, but I realized later what disaster he saved me from- Conformity.
My father was a self-made man. He lost his father when he was studying in grade 5. His life wasn't easy. He faced tough times when he felt helpless, had financial setbacks, and had high frustration while quitting smoking. He lost his balance many times and became harsh with himself and others. But he got up every time, did his homework, asked for help, prepared himself and did whatever he had to, but he bounced back each time. He always believed that he is infinite potential and made me think the same. He practised what he wanted to convey, making it easy to absorb.
He would repeatedly repeat stories of his life that we lost interest in. It wasn't hard to understand what he wanted to convey through those stories —' No matter what your situation is; there is always a way.' He didn't have special parenting skills, but he tried his best. My father was imperfectly perfect. I adore him for who he was- an imperfection! All of us are! I am!
Well, our belief system is mainly borrowed from our parents and caregivers. And we must filter that and keep the helpful ones safely and discard unhelpful ones.
It's not possible to think positively throughout the day. What is important is how quickly we can regain our balance without hurting ourselves and anyone else. I have had conversations with people who claim to be quite positive in their lives. In case you also think so, that's wonderful. In case you are in doubt, you can check that quickly. Ask yourself what percentage of the day you think healthy, helpful, uplifting, and motivating thoughts and then compare it with the unhealthy, unhelpful, sinking, and demotivating thoughts during the day. I'm sure you'll get your answer. Another way of checking the same is how you feel during the day. Suppose you feel calm, peaceful, and relaxed most of the day. Then your productivity would be much higher than your counterparts whose dominant feelings are anxiety, agitation, stress, and worry.
All we need is a better understanding of ourselves. And then we got to start practising some new habits. When we do that, we not only change our personality, but we infect others (especially the younger generation) with the same and create a ripple effect.
Today, on World Mental Health Day, let's try to infect someone with healthy and uplifting words. They might do the same with someone else, and we never know what significant impact it can make in our lives and the lives of others.
CBT & NLP Practitioner
Life Coach & Counsellor
You can visit my website, www.anupmagupta.com and connect with me for any queries.