When it comes to getting things off our chest, whether it’s pressure from work, an unresolved argument with a family member, or something internal we’ve been suppressing for God knows how long, we have a tendency to believe that:
That bad feeling will go away by itself
We can fix it ourselves by self-medicating
When in reality, that bad feeling will not go away by itself. And “fixing it” via self-medication is nothing more than a bandaid.
Someone and/or something has to be our soundboard. Be it a therapist, a best friend, or a kickboxing class, we have got to get that shit out.
Alcohol is a bandaid. Shopping is a bandaid. Escaping reality — through travel or Netflix — is a bandaid. Might it recharge or reset us? Probably. But it doesn’t get to the root cause, which is why people (who care about self-improvement) recognize that self-improving is a lifelong journey to be practiced, and eventually, perfected.
Protecting your mental health matters —when you’re feeling bad and when you’re feeling great.
That last part is the kicker. When we’re feeling good mentally, we feel like whatever work we’ve put in to get there is done. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.
In order to be successful at anything, we have to be consistent with it. And while we can roll our eyes and claim, “we know that,” rarely do we continue working on what we initially set out to. The result? We’re right back in the unfavorable mental state we started in, wondering what the hell happened.
We didn’t stick with the program is what happened. Self-improvement is an ongoing, lifelong process. We can equate it with eating healthy or working out. You don’t just work out twice and expect to have abs of steel forever. You don’t eat a salad for lunch once and expect the feel-good effects of that to override the gross feeling of inhaling fried mozzarella sticks.
Perhaps our self-improvement expectations are similar to our relationship/marital bliss expectations — unrealistic.
Changing the mental health game
Whether you’re someone who struggles with anxiety or you are someone who is in tip top mental shape, I believe this podcast to be valuable for everyone who cares about feeling mentally and emotionally well.
Why does protecting your mental health matter?
Your mental state is the springboard for literally everything — how your day is going to turn out, the relationships you will make or break, the success you will or won’t have.
Tiffany breaks it down simply. She reminds her listeners to "Feel. Deal. Heal.” Every day. Multiple times a day.
She ends her episodes adamant that:
Mental health matters.
My feelings matter.
My feelings are important.
Therapy is cool.
And Tiff isn’t the only one who has found success in this “Feel. Deal. Heal” concept.
Tara Schuster, author of Buy Yourself The F*cking Lillies, handwrites in her journal for 30 minutes every morning — as soon as she wakes up, about everything that’s on her mind. What she’s worried about, a weird dream she had, what she’s excited about, who she is thinking about, etc. Whatever is on her mind, she gets it out, first thing in the am in an effort to ease her anxiety, manage her stress, and feel in complete control of her mindset and her days.
She has been doing this every morning for several years, not skipping out because she’s on vacation or because she woke up late or because she just doesn’t feel like it that day. I guess you could say her journaling is like your cup of espresso. You cannot begin your day without it.
Laura Clery, actress, comedian, and author of Idiot, takes two-hour long walks with her husband every morning, the two of them discussing what’s on their minds and how they can enjoy life more. How can you have a bad day when it starts out with TWO HOURS of fresh air, exercise, and being mentally stimulated?
Gala Darling touts it is her job to feel good. She is hellbent on the idea that women can and should be living bigger, bolder lives by doing whatever they want to do by way of personal rebellion. She doesn’t apologize for anything. Ever. She lives her life through an exciting, ecstasy-like lens of color and wonder. And it works.
Like my peloton instructor Olivia tells me, “You are worth however long it takes you to feel good. Every day.”
Positive Mental Health Tips
If you’ve lost touch with people who were once important to you, get back in touch with them. Text them. Call them. Message them on Instagram. FaceTime them. Don’t overthink what the outcome may or may not be. Just do it.
Look at what’s going right in your life instead of fixating on what’s going wrong. This one takes serious practice, but when executed daily, it does pay off.
The grass is not greener on the other side — relationship wise, career wise, looks wise, etc. It’s greener where you water it. And it has everything to do with the people you surround yourself with. And the music you listen to.
If you’re unhappy with some aspect of your life, change it! Stop complaining about it, stop waiting for “the right time” to do what you want, and allow yourself the freedom to enjoy your life and be happy already.
If something is bothering you, let it out. Sit with it, then do something about it.
Feel. Deal. Heal.
Thank you for reading. May your mental state be well today and every day. Own your you-ness! You deserve happiness.