Do more of what helps your wellbeing and mental health. It’s a wise and effective approach to overcoming struggles like anxiety, depression, stress, and a host of other challenges. By embracing the strategy of finding what improves the quality of our lives and intentionally doing more of those things, we make at least two things happen: We shift our thoughts by choosing our focus from what is wrong to what is right, and we empower ourselves to do something to move past what’s negatively impacting wellbeing. This is sometimes easier said than done, however. Yes, doing something that works to propel us forward is helpful, but when we’re stuck, trying to think of what to do can seem nearly impossible. These five ideas can help you discover what increase your mental health and wellbeing.
Emphasize Solutions & How’ll You’ll Get There
An approach to mental health and wellbeing called solution-focused therapy (because the emphasis is on finding solutions instead of analyzing problems) asks people to rate what they’re experiencing. For example, a solution-focused therapist might say, “On a scale from one to 10, with 10 being the worst possible problem, where is your anxiety today?” People then rate the degree of their anxiety. Then they explore what it would take to move down the scale just one point, say from a seven to a six.
Sliding from a seven to a one is daunting. Moving from a seven to a six is within reach. The next question might be, “What are you going to do today to get there?”
To get there, you might benefit from having a collection of activities that help improve mental health. Instead of spending time and energy trying to think of something (difficult when anxiety and depression make concentration and decision-making tough), let these methods inspire your own unique ways to do more of what works.
5 Ways to Discover What Works for Your Wellbeing
Memories. While living fully in the present is important for a quality life, sometimes the best clues for what replaces struggle with contentment lie in the past. When you were a child or a teen, what brought you joy? Many times we forget about childhood pleasures when we grow up. Maybe it’s time to revisit those good times.
Embrace you inner photographer. Help yourself remember little things that reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by taking pictures and storing them in a special folder on your device.
I talk more about this in this video from the Wellbeing and Words YouTube Channel.
Write a List. Keep a running list of ideas as they come to you. Use a dedicated notebook or binder so your thoughts don’t get lost in the shuffle of other information you keep track of. When you need an idea for something to do to improve your day, open the notebook and select an item.
Categorize. Think in terms of groups like people, places, indoor activities, outdoor activities, etc. Use colored index cards to represent each category. You might write names of people you enjoy spending time with one blue cards, for example. Keep them in a box (use index card/recipe card boxes for a custom fit), and select one when you are looking for a way to replace anxiety (etc.) with something better.
Toss the dice. Sometimes, even when you have a collection of go-to people, places, and activities that will help you do more of what works to overcome obstacles, it can still be difficult to decide what to do. Turn it into a game! Randomly select six (or 12 if you have two dice and lots of options). Simply roll the dice and do whatever it is fate has chosen.
When you, over time, gather a collection of things that work to increase wellness, you have a supply of tools to use to move yourself down the scale, away from struggle and toward life satisfaction.