Our minds are pretty darn magnificent. Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, memories, and the motivations that power our behaviors are part of the somewhat mysterious thing we call “mind.”
We say “somewhat mysterious” because it can be difficult to parse out what the difference is between our brain and our mind. The brain, of course, is a physical organ. What, exactly, the mind might be is less clear. For our purposes here, it is enough to think of the mind as the abstract home of our consciousness.
With that in mind (see what we did there?), we would like to consider three ideas related to your mind that can provide a boost to your mental health.
Mindfulness Brings Your Mind Into the Present
The practice of mindfulness is deceptively simple. Most mindfulness exercises involve sitting quietly, checking in the sensations in your body, and then focusing on your breathing as you let thoughts and feelings come and go. Sounds pretty relaxing, right?
It certainly can be. But even more importantly, mindfulness practice helps you learn to stay in the present moment more frequently. So often, our minds replay things we regret from the past or spin out scary scenarios about the future. Both of those activities can worsen symptoms of mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, or post traumatic stress disorder.
Staying focused on the current moment can help address these issues as you engage with what is happening right now rather than what has happened or what might happen.
Sound interesting? There are plenty of resources to help you get started.
A Growth Mindset Helps You Keep Moving Forward
Many people have what is known as a “fixed mindset.” That means they believe things like intelligence, talent, and personality are fixed and cannot be changed. A person who thinks about life this way is unlikely to put in the work (or risk the failure) it takes to improve and innovate. Worse, they may believe that whatever difficulties they might be having with their mental health just are what they are—and no improvement is possible.
A “growth mindset,” in contrast, is focused on possibilities. When you think in terms of growth, you understand that you can try new things, learn new skills and strengthen existing skills, and can take positive steps to improve your life—including making progress toward better mental health.
Is your mindset fixed or open to growth? Learn more here.
Find Your Way to Mind Mapping for Creativity and More
The activity known as mind mapping is fairly simple—but it is used to help you think about and organize complex concepts, topics, and ideas. The process allows you to use the parts of your mind dedicated to visual processing to help you to think creatively, find connections, and solve problems.
A mind map starts with a central topic. Write that topic in the center of a piece of paper, and then add some branches—concepts related to the central topic. For example, if your central concept is “situations that make me anxious,” your branches might include public speaking, heavy traffic, and your coworker who is always belittling your work. From there you expand the branches again. Your public speaking branch might include your tendency to trip over words when you are nervous, your discomfort with audio/visual equipment, and your fear that everyone is judging you. And so on. You can add annotations or other notes to highlight areas you want to address in more detail.
As we have noted, this technique can spark creative thought (which in turn can provide a boost to your mental health). It can also be a good way to sort through emotions and ideas related to your mental well-being. In fact, mind mapping is a strategy that can be applied to many aspects of life.
Keep This In Mind: We Can Help Improve Your Mental Health
Mental health disorders have a sneaky way of suggesting to your mind that nothing is ever going to get any better. But the truth is that mental health disorders are treatable, and as a result you can experience improvement and maintain those gains over time.
At Peak View Behavioral Health in Colorado Springs, we offer personalized treatment plans grounded in evidence, experience, and empathy. Whether the issue is one of the many types of depression, a panic or anxiety disorder, or a disorder centered on traumatic experiences, we can help. When you have made up your mind to get the help you need, you will find that we are eager and able to help you reclaim your life.