This is a question I often used to ask myself. I could feel the weight of anxiety swamping me. Suddenly each evening I felt the dreaded Sunday night feeling… there was no break from it all. Everything made me anxious. “How can I stop mental health taking over my life?” After years I managed to put tools and methods in place which helped answer this question. I will go through these below.
1. Learning to let go…
Learning to let go is really difficult. It’s taking that great leap into the unknown, trying to forget all the questions that are currently swarming and buzzing in your brain. Everything inside you wants to hold onto the anxiety and worry over a situation, because it gives you that ounce of control that feels lacking in other areas of your life.
But this is where your brain is lying to you. It thinks that things will become out of control if you let go of the control of this worry. It’s wrong. When you let go, you become more in control. More in control of your thoughts, your feelings, your future. You become more mindful. Sometimes, it helps to write a letter, or brain dump your thoughts on to paper then screw it up and take a big breath. Then try to redirect your thoughts back to the moment.
Be gentle with yourself and allow those negative thoughts and feelings to flow through you. Be with it. Then, focus on self care and creating positive mantras to combat these thoughts and feelings. Then once the situation, thoughts and feelings are in the past, learn to keep them there and stop going over the same issues in your brain. The next tip will help you to focus on the present moment.
2. Try mindfulness.
Learning about mindfulness was a game changer for me. It was fascinating to find out how the brain works and why we go through the thought processes that we go through.
It helps you to stop dwelling on the past, helping your brain to cease going over and over everything that drags you down and causes you to feel regretful and other negative emotions. It also helps to stop you from speeding your thoughts into the future, worrying about things that may or may not even come. Mindfulness helps you to learn to let go.
Mindfulness focuses on the present moment. Which is perfect for those suffering with mental health illnesses such as anxiety or depression. To begin your mindfulness journey, I highly recommend this book on Amazon.
3. Take up a hobby.
This may sound a bit odd… but actually taking up a hobby, something you enjoy will help give you some good distractions in life. It gives you focus on something that boosts joy in your life.
If you currently don’t have a hobby, or don’t know how to start, then do some research or try dipping your toes into a few new things. It could be to do with sports, running, cycling. You could get creative; like sewing, cross stitch or knitting. Why not try making models? Or paint by numbers? It could be as simple as colouring in books. Anything that allows you some peace, and something for you.
Having something positive to focus on will make the world of difference.
When your life feels too much, try some escapism. Grab a book in a genre that you love and get lost inside the pages. Binge watch a TV series which is uplifting, and allows you to forget your own worries and stresses for a few hours each day. Try watching some uplifting films.
Escapism is a great way to just forget for a little bit. And sometimes that’s all you need for anxiety to not take over your whole life.
5. Spend time with family and friends.
Spend time doing something relaxing, or fun and adventurous with family and friends. It will also give you a chance to turn to them and talk through some of your worries and anxieties. Let them support you, but also ask questions back about their life and see if you can do something kind for them in return. This will also help with the overwhelming anxious thoughts and feelings.
By being surrounded by those you love, it will help to boost your endorphins and shrink those unwanted thoughts and feelings. Don’t bottle things up either- they are there because they love you.
If you have any toxic friendships which are actually making your anxieties or feelings worse, then reflect on them and consider whether they are still worth having.
6. Focus on self care.
The final tip I have for you to help mental health from not taking over your life, is to practise as much self care as possible. This means drinking plenty of water, eating healthily and getting in exercise. It also means allowing yourself time each day to do something for you, whether that’s spending time doing your new hobby, taking a bath or phoning a friend. Do one thing a day that helps to refill your own cup.
By fuelling your body with the right foods, you are getting all the right nutrients as well as showing yourself that you are worthy of this self care. Keep in touch with people and talk about your feelings, and don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.
I hope that these 6 tips have helped you to not feel so overwhelmed. There are plenty of things you can do to help train your brain from negative thinking patterns to positive ones. Just like physical health, we all have mental health. It is a part of our lives but we can stop it from taking over by making sure we take care of it and focus on the good in life.
What do you do to help fill your cup? How do you add positivity into your life? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.