How to stay mentally well.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Mental Health or Mental Illness

Mental Health or Mental Illness?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Being mentally well involves a lot more than not having a mental illness.

I learned this lesson from an old car I used to drive. The car was battered, and it had a lot of miles on it, but it ran, and it got me where I need to go. Periodically I took it to a mechanic to get it serviced. There wasn’t anything broken on the car, but it didn’t always run as well as I would have liked. On the freeway, if I got up to a certain speed, the car would start to shake and become hard to control, so I had to slow it back down. But when I tried to accelerate it took forever to get up to speed, and the things that the mechanic fixed didn’t seem to make any difference. This car had an air conditioner, but it never seemed to be able to keep up once the air temperature outside got above eighty degrees.

Finally, that old car did break down, and there was no fixing her this time. I bought a much newer car and was quite surprised at how much easier it was to drive my new vehicle. It accelerated rapidly, and it didn’t shake when I got up to freeway speeds. Not only did the new cars air conditioner cool on high, but it could also make the car feel downright cold.

Just as there was a long-distance between a car that ran poorly and a car that didn’t run. There can be an equally large distance between a condition that is so severe it’s diagnosed as a mental illness and you’re being fully mentally well.

Here are some tips on how to improve your mental health and be mentally well.

Try some of these tips to improve your mental wellness.

Don’t let your thoughts control you.

There is a difference between your thoughts and the truth. Not everything you think is accurate. What you need to do is separate helpful from unhelpful thoughts. Just because something scares you doesn’t mean it is dangerous. Don’t fall into the perfectionist trap of believing that if you’re not perfect, you’re a failure.

Get honest with yourself.

Many people have these little stories they tell themselves. It’s easy to blame other people for what’s wrong in your life. Many people self-handicap. They tell themselves they can’t do something which then becomes their excuse for not trying. When I work with people, who were in recovery from substance use disorders, I discovered many of them had told other people lies so often they come to believe their own stories. You’re going to spend your whole life with you make it an honest relationship.

Being real is essential for good mental health.

Be true to yourself. Don’t go through life being a fake and living for other people’s opinion. Don’t fall victim to the “impostor syndrome.” Do what you can do the best of your abilities but don’t ever doubt that you do have some abilities.

Be true to yourself; avoid dissonance.

Living your life by someone else’s values will not be satisfying for you unless those are also your values. Many people have three separate selves, who they think they should be, who they believe they are, and who they wish they were. The farther apart these three selves are the more dissonance. Accept yourself the way you are rather than trying to become some ideal perfect person. Work on improving the who you are and consider living the life of the person you want to be.

Knowing yourself is part of being mentally well.

Self-knowledge will help avoid fuzzy boundaries. Avoid being enmeshed or codependent. Your thoughts and feelings are your own. You must live your own life. You can share part of your life with others, but you can’t live their lives.

Don’t dump your stuff on others.

Psychoanalysts spend a lot of time looking at things called transference and countertransference. Don’t assume because you’re angry that everyone else is. If you had a problem with your father, don’t treat all men as if they were your father. Try to see each person as a unique individual who may not feel or think the same way you do.

Double-check the blueprints you developed in childhood.

A lot of the problems adults have are things they learned between the ages of eight and eighteen, which turned out to not work as adults or to not to be true. Crying may have worked well to get grandma to give you candy but falling down on the floor, and crying won’t get you a raise, and it may get you fired. No one learns everything a hundred percent, and your parents could only teach you what they knew. Reexamine those old templates you stored in your brain about how you should be and how you should interact with others.

Learn to calm yourself down.

Small children are dependent on their parents to soothe them when they’re upset. As we grow, we should learn to regulate our own feelings and to self soothe. Don’t believe that other people can control the way you feel. You may not like the things others do, but you don’t have to become angry or hurt. Just because you feel agitated does not mean you have to act out.

Look for improvement opportunities rather than failures.

Making mistakes is a part of life. Everyone does it whether you see their failures or not. Don’t beat yourself up for every mistake. Learn from your experiences. Continue to get better at living life. Life will give you a lot of challenges. Just because you missed the target once don’t stop trying. You will either learn from your mistakes, or you will keep making the same ones over and over. Grow because of your experiences rather than giving up.

Start now working on your mental health and wellness as well as your physical health. Some things may be out of your control but take control of things you can. Just avoiding illness is not enough. You deserve to have the best life possible.

Look here for more information on Mental Health and Wellness.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Advertisements

Do you believe these happiness lies ?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Happy children

Happy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do you tell yourself happiness lies?

Most of us have some lies we tell ourselves every day. You may have been told these lies by others. Some are little ones and keep up hope. The big ones can make you miserable unless you face them.

When it comes to happiness lies a few of these critters can wreck your happiness. How many of these happiness lies do you tell?

Once X happens then I will be happy.

More money, a new relationship or finally reaching a goal all sound like things that should make you happy. The truth is more like, if you are not happy while traveling to this place, you will not be happy when you get there.

Learn to be happy while you are working to earn that money and then you can enjoy the happiness and the money. If you are miserable on the way to the money you will still be miserable when you arrive.

Once you become a success nothing bad will happen.

One thing people in recovery learn is that life keeps happening. You work hard on your issues and then life gets better. But then something else happens and things get tough again. Successful people still get sick. Their families break up and their children get in trouble.

Plenty of highly successful people develop addictions or get arrested. There is nothing out there you can get that grantee’s permanent happiness unless maybe that thing is a proper attitude towards life.

Life is fair or someone should make it fair.

Life is not always fair. Bad things happen to good people. No one can make life be fair. What you can do is learn the skills to get through hard times and how to keep a positive attitude when things look darkest.

There is something you can do to guarantee safety.

You can be constantly on the lookout for danger and still it can overtake you. It is reasonable to take precautions and watch out for danger, but do not fall into the trap of thinking that there are things you can do that will assure your safety. Insurance does not stop accidents it just pays you money to compensate for your losses. Excessive worry about what might happen robes you of the happy moment now.

Not taking chances will keep you safe.

Everything in life requires a measure of risk. Apply for a job and you may not get it. Avoid falling in love and you will not have to go through a break-up. You will also never know the joys of being in love.

If you want to have the good you need to accept the risk of things not always going the way you want them to.

You are or should be in control of everything.

The great illusion of control takes many forms. One is the belief that if you work hard enough and insist loudly enough you can get control over everything and everyone in your life.

No one ever has control of life. It rains whether you want it to or not. Weather happens. People in your family get sick whether you eat the right foods or not. No matter how hard you try to control your children some of them will turn out well and some will not.

You are in control of anything.

No matter what thing you believe you have reduced to your control that control is probably temporary. The only thing that may, in fact, yield to your control is your attitude towards the uncontrollable.

You are not good enough.

You are plenty good enough. We all can do better but do not tell yourself that the fault is that you are inherently defective. This belief is just a sneaky way of letting yourself off the hook and allowing you to stop trying.

The whole world is no good.

There are good people and bad people. Sometimes good people do bad things and bad people do good things. Things keep changing. There is good all around if you look for it. The most beautiful flower may have some dead leaves. Even a weed can have beautiful blooms.

Believe in your worthwhileness and accept yourself scars and all.

The future will never be any better.

There will always be another tomorrow. Some of those will be better and some few may be worse. Do not create a negative future by only looking for the defective. You will find what you are seeking but only if you believe that happiness is out there just waiting for you to find it.

You are the only one with this problem or issue.

Hang out in any recovery program and you begin to swear those people were following you around recording your story. Troubles seem to come at one point or another to most of us. Listen for the ways in which others have struggled and you may decide that you are not so different from others.

You should not have to tell others what you need.

People stay hungry or unloved because they don’t talk up. No matter how hard you try you will not always know what others around you need and want. They will not be able to read your mind. Give yourself permission to ask for what you need. Telling those in your support system what your needs are, helps them to be able to feel the joy of knowing how to help you.

You can’t take any more or can’t stand this situation.

If you say you can’t – you won’t. Most of us can take more than we think. Tell yourself that this too shall pass and much more becomes bearable. If your situation is intolerable take action to change it. Can’t change all of your life obstacles? Work on the changes you can make first and then reevaluate.

Your happiness depends on people, places or things.

Happiness is an inside job. You can be happy no matter where you are if you permit it. You may wish things were different. You might prefer them to be different, but your ability to find happiness does not depend on having the right things or places in your life. No matter how much you miss someone who was in your life and is now gone out of it, do not let that absence rob you of the good times that you had. Do not let the loss of one person cheat you out of the relationship with the other people who could enrich your life.

Some other posts on finding and keeping a happy life are listed below

5 mandatory skills for a happy healthy life

16 Ways to create a happy life

17 Habits of unhappy people

Pretending to be happy?

How to be Happy

Find out the truth about happiness and stop telling happiness lies.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.