Wednesday, February 24, 2021

How to Overcome Disappointments by Redirecting Your Focus

Living with a mental health condition is very challenging. As an individual living with schizoaffective disorder I must be mindful of my stressors, thoughts, and social needs. Setbacks are disappointing, but they are a part of life. For instance, having a hospitalization, getting rejected, being discriminated against, experiencing self-doubt, and coping with disappointments that lead to changes can be stressful. 

    Most people will not understand individuals with mental health concerns because of varying perceptions on the symptoms. Moreover, widespread misconceptions drives fear, lack of education, and discrimination, that perpetuates barriers to socialization, treatment, and understanding. It is imperative for us to develop alternative skills to maneuver and manage the difficult times. I encourage peers to focus on confidence-building activities, which I will share. Also my tips will help people who do not have a diagnosis. Here, I will focus on 7 habits, which will help you develop self-validation and improve your mental health.

1) Concentrate on reciting affirmations and reassuring statements. This is one of my most powerful habits because this activity creates excitement and hope. Life is full of ups and downs, therefore, it is important to motivate yourself to press onward.  Reciting affirmations rejuvenates your ability to hold on to hope. Stating positive thoughts and objectives aloud or writing them down will manifest inner-strength and belief in one's ability to move forward. I identify as spiritual and believe that words can dictate the energy and develop into a reality. Therefore, I encourage you to say uplifting things. For me, I might repeat the following statements: “I have the spirit of strength on me today. I am bold. I master resiliency.” “I welcome the spirit of love. I give and receive love. I will embrace love by focusing on loving gestures today.” “This is only for a season. I have support. I am an overcomer. I am fierce. I have power over my reactions and I can get through this.”

2) Meditate on your higher power. Redirecting thoughts onto the power that oversees your well-being, and has a greater influence on life events, will help restore a sense of peace. I encourage you to develop comfort through your belief system. What stories solidify your beliefs and connects you? Which religious or spiritual sayings can you recall that resonates with you and propels you to keep going?

3) Embrace your support system. It is imperative that you surround yourself with empathetic persons who want to see you do well. When in doubt reach out to that individual who acknowledges your efforts and strengths to help you persevere. In the past, I leaned on a wide variety of cheerleaders or supporters that went beyond my family. The people that helped me stay motivated to get back on track included: coworkers, neighbors, roommates, family and friends, etc.

4) Seek counseling. Exploring situations with counselors may provide reassurance. I advocate for therapy because it helps identify solutions everyday problems and stressors. The sessions focus on coping strategies. For me, I brainstorm ways to work through daily stressors with my therapist that is on relationships, financial priorities, or simply acknowledging my options, which I did not see before. The therapist can equip you with resources and skills to help you improve your situation.

5) Create a positive atmosphere. I enjoy producing positive vibes. Sometimes I buy myself flowers, greeting cards, and candles to create a comfortable environment. Frequently, I set the tone by listening to different music that speaks to my vibes.

6) Reflect and release burdens. Sometimes I write to let go of my stresses or stay active. I record my things to do list and journal about challenges. Other times I focus on organizing and cleaning my home because it helps me think clearly. I walk to regain physical energy and to also help prioritize ideas and needs. 

7) Bring your attention to positive messages. Listening to enlightening messages when you wake up can help you stay focused throughout the day. I study motivational speakers and recall their messages of hope as the day progresses. 

    Over the years, we have endured a lot. Still, we are learning how to manage and overcome situations. I encourage you to continue to practice those lifestyle habits that work well for you. However, consider some of these tips to add to your daily routine in order to get through the day. 

    Again, incorporate some of these habits to overcome life's disappointments. 1) Concentrate on reciting affirmations and reassuring statements. 2) Meditate on your higher power. 3) Embrace your support system. 4) Seek counseling. 5) Create a positive atmosphere. 6) Reflect and release burdens. 7) Bring your attention to positive messages. Living with a mental health condition can create disappointing experiences, however, how you cope is more important. Lastly, focus on reassurance by developing those practices that builds the stamina in your confidence to get needs met and to continue to persevere through life's challenges. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Recovery - The Process of Staying in Your Good Place

I define recovery as staying in a good space. But what does that mean? How can an individual cope with the internal conflicts of self-doubt and symptoms let alone the external battles with discrimination—in the workplace, housing, and barriers to treatment? Moreover, the universal unspoken code of widespread fears and social ostracizing. My ability to endure, cope, and to keep pressing forward demands that I relentlessly challenge the mind wars through my recovery tools. 

    Most people do not understand what it's like to live with a mental health condition, but they can testify that resiliency is a part of the human experience. Naturally we rediscover ways to bounce back from heartbreak, unemployment, and feelings of hopelessness. Yet, the choice to practice healthy strategies to persevere or destructive methods to get by is on us. Quick fixes are fleeting moments of relief which eventually leads to more problems. However, going through the process to develop creative solutions to complex problems enables us to gain balance, confidence, and the strength to overcome. Self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous are examples of the power in the process to manage recovery and life. 

    People like me (individuals living with a diagnosis) have to produce alternative ways to cope. Coping tools may include: making art, playing music, participating in therapy, exercising, engaging in community service, getting and giving peer support, articulating recovery stories, mastering hobbies and skills, etc. Still, how can we stay in a good place to overcome mind wars? What does recovery look like? Recovery is unique—we must remember that and take ownership of our coping weapons to live well.

    I choose to focus on confidence-building techniques to maintain wellness. Yes, recovery is about doing those things that supports wellness, but also incorporates self-healing. During my last hospitalization I focused on creating a positive atmosphere. I did what I can with what I had. I would sing lullabies to myself as if I were singing to my child. I played spades with peers. I walked around the courtyard. I reflected on stories from the Bible, recited affirmations, requested a journal to write my thoughts, and prayed for my wellness and reunion with family. To have a good day I encourage myself. 

    Now I light white candles while I worship my higher power. I say my prayers aloud to talk to The One as if I were discussing concerns in my mind. I listen to motivational speakers almost every single morning to remind myself of my potential. My potential to develop skills. My potential to be a better individual. My potential to maintain wellness. 

    Because mental illness is a severe medical condition I work diligently to manage resources in order to take control of my health. I strive to keep my doctor appointments. I take my medication as prescribed. I create the agenda for discussion with my therapist, and journal daily to reflect on stressors and also resolutions. Recently, I joined the gym to get toned, energy, and stress relief. I do these things to manifest wellness. I do these things to stay balanced. I do these things to stay in my good place because my recovery demands it. I conquer my mind wars of self-doubt, symptoms, and self-stigma by focusing on the process of self-empowerment and healing. 

    Finally, recovery is the process of staying in your good space. Recovery is about self-care, self-empowerment, and sticking to your health plan. Will you choose the short-cut to wellness, or commit to the process? Your unique recovery demands much. It requires your strength and courage to manage. What works for you? What things can you do to encourage yourself? Have you made this a part of your routine? What tools will you use to create your recovery atmosphere?

How to Cope with Dark Seasons

I aim to empower those affected by mental illness. However, the truth about recovery is there will be many dark seasons. Still, I hope peopl...