For most road users speed bumps are small sharp bumps in the road that we slow down for, quickly bounce over and then forget about as we carry on with our journey.
But have you ever seen someone in a low sprung sports car trying to get over a speed bump? For them, they can look and feel like mountains rather than the small sharp bumps all other drivers see them as.
Coming across speed bumps in your mental health journey can sometimes feel like trying to navigate that low sprung sports car over a mountain rather than the small speed bump in the road experienced with most other cars.
Dealing with life’s problems or challenges can often be daunting when you are ‘Running through the Trenches’ so to say. The relentless daily grind, non-stop worrying and constant thinking that you just can’t find a way over or around the mountain sized speed bump that has suddenly appeared in front of you, can be all-consuming.
But it doesn’t have to be! In this article I will share with you a number of techniques and solutions you can use to turn those mountains back into ordinary everyday speed bumps in your mental health journey. These are solutions and techniques that I have used myself in my own mental health journey.
Putting something into perspective is a powerful technique and one that can assist you in putting some objective context around your current problem. What do I mean? Upon coming across a problem that I clearly thought was a mountain rather than a speed bump and one that I feared that I could not get over I stopped and thought back to another bigger problem that I had encountered a few years prior.
I reminded myself that, at the time of the first problem a few years earlier I thought my world was ending. Thoughts such as; was I going to lose my job, how would we pay the mortgage, can you access your superannuation in a hurry and could we last long enough for my income protection waiting period to pass?
For all intents and purposes, I felt like my world was ending and that there was no way I was going to be able to get over or around this mountain. But I did, one step at a time! Now whenever I get that feeling again I remind my inner-self that I managed to get over the previous problem that I thought was impossible, that I came through it with flying colours and that if I can get through something like that then I can get through this problem.
Believe me I have used this technique more than a few times in the last few years and it has allowed me to put a different perspective on the mental health challenge that was in front of me at the time. Being able to continually reminisce so to speak about getting over that much larger previous problem gave my inner self the courage to believe that I would get through my current challenge……………… And yes I did!
“It is useful occasionally to look at the past to gain a perspective on the present” (Fabian Linden).
Timeout can have different meanings for different people but in general it means exactly that; taking some time out from your busy world.
Taking some time out from work for a week or two to simply gather your thoughts, do some intense exercise or grab the family and get away up the beach somewhere, where you don’t get mobile phone reception.
Having the opportunity to camp on a quiet uninhabited stretch of beach, to sit and dig your feet in the warm soft sand and look out at the ocean rolling in and out for hours on end, to be able to stare upwards at night at the masses of stars you forgot existed or to explore the surrounding sand hills for that special spot that looks like it has never been inhabited before. This is the type of timeout I am talking about!
Noosa’s beautiful Double Island Point – June 2016
When was the last time you did something like this?
Talking is amazing! Talking to your partner, talking to your friends and family or talking to a professional. It all helps! Keeping problems bottled up inside tends to magnify them in your own head. They can become distorted and blown out of all proportions when you keep them bottled up inside.
Lifting the lid on your problems and sharing them can have a positive effect on your mental state.
Click on the following link of my first article 5 x Ways to keep your mind healthy for some more information on the benefits of talking to people about your challenges, along with a few other useful solutions to keep your mind healthy.
Remember “A problem shared is a problem halved” (French Proverb)
So there you have it two ways to assist in turning your seemingly unconquerable mountain back into an everyday speed bump!
Solutions and techniques like the two I have just explained should be thought of as tools in your mental health kit bag. Your mental health kit bag should be full of lots of different tools just like the two I have mentioned. Tools that you can grab out and put to use at any time they are needed to assist in getting you through one of life’s mental health challenges.
Some tools are simple and easy to use tools, but some might need the assistance of medical professionals, such as medication. You might also find you have to use a number of them at one time in order to get on top of your current mental health challenge. You might also find that when you have used a tool or technique, that you just might have to use it again straight away.
Remember in 12 months, 2 years or even 5 years from now you will look back at this current mental health challenge and realise that it was but just a speed bump, merely a blip on the radar of life!
Stuart Rawlins | Healthy Mind Healthy Future
Strategies to improve your Mental Health