In this blog, I would like to focus on the importance of mental health and being aware of our own thoughts, feelings and emotions.
As a general nurse, when looking after poorly patients, there are often subtle warning signs, that arise which indicate very clearly when a patient’s physical condition is deteriorating.
Performing a set of observations will tell us abnormalities that deviate from ‘normal’ parameters indicative of a stable condition.
Unfortunately, being aware of our own mental health, and signs of deterioration are not so black and white, so to speak, unless we have insight into our own thoughts and feelings.
Knowing when we feel sad or anxious, what is causing us to feel that way, and how to manage these feelings effectively to maintain our own sense of wellbeing.
An analogy I like to use, is seeing one’s self as a beautiful rose garden.
We as individuals are the roses.
The soil is the foundation of our lives, whatever gives us a firm foundation, it should nurture us; body, soul and mind.
Fertile soil and good conditions will provide optimum growth.
But sometimes, weeds tend to grow which can start to overpower the flourishing of the flower.
The weeds in our lives, can be anything that restrict or hinder our growth (emotional/spriritual/psychological) or productivity.
Those weeds can be individual to each person, but having an awareness of elements in our lives that induce bad feeling, negativity, self hatred, self doubt, allows us to explore areas that cause us to feel such negativity, in an attempt to identify those triggers and establish more effective coping strategies and more importantly identifying those weeds in order to incite change in our lives , to uproot those weeds and achieve a healthier state of mind/wellbeing.
A basic example of this is, someone, who struggles to assert themselves.
Perhaps they feel a need to ‘people please’ for fear of what people think of them if they don’t comply with expectation.
This is often a factor in those with low self worth, who survive on the approval of others for validation about themselves.
Although difficult, setting boundaries, is exceptionally healthy for us as human beings.
If we see ourselves as a large castle, then the boundary is the large fence erected around us to protect what means the most to us. Within the core of all of us, we have certain beliefs, values, thoughts and feelings, we want to protect and nurture to maintain our own self worth, self respect and dignity, which we are all entitled to as individuals.
If we compromise those boundaries, we are at risk of compromising those core values within our own hearts that make us who we are, and therefore allowing the infrastructure of our very ‘being’ to become fractured, which in turn erodes our sense of self, and confidence.
Having a firm sense of self and practising assertiveness when we feel those boundaries are being encroached. Ensuring we are respected, appreciated and valued as we know we deserve to be, as human beings, will enhance our self worth and self confidence.
Often, at times we feel bad, it can often be common to experience self critical thoughts that reinforce our own sense of self doubt and inadequacy. Being aware of these thoughts and the feelings it implores, allows us the first step in challenging that thought or situation and expelling it. Often this requires a little self education, awareness and the ability to believe in ourselves and what we can truly achieve as indivuals if we have a little faith in ourselves, without worrying about what others do or do not think of us.
This isn’t just applied to material aspects but also the relations we have with others. Having boundaries places a protective barrier in these situations to maintain our self respect, self confidence and overall wellbeing.
There is literature available in certain areas, that can be found, aimed at improving self assertiveness and boundary setting in general life. I am sure having both self awareness as a foundation and learning the art of setting boundaries could be beneficial to all our lives and wellbeing.