Mental Health Awareness Week reminds all of us, no matter what our personal state of mind, to be aware that mental illness, feeling stressed or anxious, seeing things through a negative lens or just feeling down, is something that we all suffer from at some point in our lives.
The past year has shown us that personal resilience and mental health are emotional states that we need to invest in, cherish and to constantly nurture. Whilst this week helps to voice some of the really meaty topics around mental health, we can also shine the spotlight onto some of the more subtle nuances of how we treat ourselves.
As a coach I often come across clients with an ‘enough complex’. What I mean is they often share that they are not: ‘good enough, smart enough, confident enough, ready enough, thin enough, fit enough, brave enough…. You get the picture. In other words, they are being critiqued by their key inner critic, the one we all share, our inner Judge. Our Judge not only tells us lies around our ‘enoughness’, but it also enjoys comparing us to others and letting us know how much better, more successful or happier they are compared with us. And if that were not enough, this pesky Judge likes to judge the situation we are in, and you can be certain it will have something negative to say about that!
Well, enough is ‘enough’! One way we can improve our mental health is to take back control of the internal chatter inside our head. As let’s be honest, would you be as critical of your best friend or loved one as you are of yourself? I’m guessing not. So here are some suggestions for you to stop being so hard on yourself and start showing yourself more compassion.
- Notice the negative words and put downs you tell yourself on a daily or weekly basis. You might want to do some free writing with a blank sheet of paper with ‘I am not X enough’ and just be curious as to how many ‘not enoughs’ you can find.
- Notice how your inner Judge makes you feel. Some people are more body aware and feel the tension, the sensation or feelings that their Judge invokes in them. Just be curious as to how this makes you feel on a negative to positive scale from 1 to 10.
- Interrupt the thoughts or feelings with something – anything that makes you feel more positive, calmer or lighter, like a picture on your desk, the view out your window, or by stroking your cat or dog.
- Give yourself 30 seconds of breathing by noticing your breath and the rise and fall of your chest or stomach.
- Think of at least one positive thing you can tell yourself right now, one thing that hand-on-heart you believe about yourself by saying ‘I am….’ And even better if you can come up with 3 positives for every one negative internal chatter, as research suggests we need this 3:1 ratio to squash the negative impact on our mental emotional state.
We are all going to have good and bad days, some even out with our control, yet what we can control is how we respond to the situation and move from a negative to a positive mindset. By noticing, interrupting and reframing we can begin to end our habitual ‘not enoughs’ and start to feel happier, healthier and more positive.
As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, I along with Mary Corbett are running daily sessions from 15 min Mental Fitness HIIT sessions to positive visualisations and conversations. Click on the link for the full list. To book on any of these sessions, contact Kate, or get in touch to find out about how Kapow Coaching supports Mental Fitness via the acclaimed Positive Intelligence programme.