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Mental health has long been a disregarded and taboo topic in the past. However, in light of the not–so–old events of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health has claimed its rightful place in the collective consciousness.
The world paused for a couple of years, forcing everyone to look inward. Social isolation brought up unaddressed issues, and we all became wiser to consider mental health equally important to the physical.
Now that we are back to our old reality, we should never forget that. Learning how to reset yourself mentally is crucial to maintaining a calmer, more balanced, and fulfilling life.
In this article, we will do exactly that – provide practical and actionable tips for a mental reset and guide you into finding your silver lining.
How To Reset Yourself Mentally In 9 Effective Ways
1. Discover What’s Wrong
Denial is a powerful yet sometimes destructive coping mechanism. On the one hand, it protects you from experiencing the full depth of negative emotions. Still, on the other hand, it allows your problems to deteriorate and fester.
Confronting your struggles can be harsh and unsettling. However, it is necessary to uncover their causes and potential solutions. Also, by facing your problems, you gain greater awareness of your behaviors – protective or maladaptive and work on them, too.
More often than not, it’s not just one thing that ruins our sunshine but a multitude of factors. This makes it harder to discover what exactly burdens your mental health. By thinking, writing, and talking about your worries, you can untangle the mess and identify your triggers.
2. Ask The Help Of A Therapist
You could read a thousand guides on how to reset yourself mentally. Still, in my personal opinion, nothing can help you like therapy. Indeed, therapy has been a catalyst for my own healing journey.
Struggling with your mental health can make you feel lost and alone. The good news is that you don’t have to go through it by yourself. Your therapist is the most appropriate person to wisely guide you, unstuck you, and help you tackle the complex parts of healing.
At this point, I want to bust a very destructive misconception that has been holding many people back from seeking the help they so much need:
Going to therapy is not a sign of weakness but a sign of courage –proof you are actively devoted to your well-being. Also, you don’t need to have a “severe issue” to ask for help. On the contrary, you are working to prevent the situation from escalating to that severe state.
3. Find A Crisis Management Plan
Learning how to reset yourself mentally does not happen overnight. Till you do, you need an action plan for managing crises (i.e., panic attacks, overwhelming stress, or sadness) to help you be more regulated and functional in your daily life.
With the guidance of your therapist or by yourself, construct an action plan for when such crises occur. But why do you need one? During those moments, you might not be able to help yourself or reach out in time for support.
Mind offers a detailed guide on how to plan for crises and offers options for mental health services (however, they can differ from country to country). WHO has created an easy and accessible guide (available in multiple languages) for stress management when faced with adversity.
4. Keep A Mental Health Journal
Struggling with mental health can make the days feel like a blur – some of them are bad, some of them are better, but nothing really stands out. This makes it challenging to track your moods, triggers, and progress.
Keeping a mental health journal has been an incredible tool for my healing journey. It started as an assignment from my therapist to write down how my moods fluctuated during the day over a period of a week.
However, when I started inspecting my thoughts and feelings and looking at them from the perspective of an external observer, I could better understand, process, and handle them.
You can personalize your mental health journal however suits you. You can use it to track your moods, the situations that throw you off balance, the practices that help you stay calm, and much more.
5. Adjust Your Life
When you experience low mental health, it’s often impossible to juggle everything you used to without putting a strain on yourself. This is something I learned the hard way. Long story short, I ended up burning out by trying to maintain my life rhythms.
Mental health affects our lives, and we need to embrace and accept that. Putting it on priority over being productive is crucial. Adjusting you life to match your energy levels and facilitate healing is a necessary step.
Don’t let burnout catch up to you. Instead, declutter your life and let go of activities that feel ‘too much’ for you right now. Set boundaries, avoid taking responsibilities that drain you mentally and physically, and devote time to things that lift your spirits.
6. Rely On Your Support System
When struggling, we often push away our loved ones because we are afraid of exposing ourselves, being judged, misunderstood, or dismissed. However, nurturing healthy relationships is inducive of healing.
Your support system could be your friends, family, partner, or even therapy group members. You need people who will hold space for you as you overcome your struggles or lend a helping hand when you need to.
7. Hold On To Your Habits
As we talked about earlier, mental health struggles affect your daily life. Due to this, you may feel estranged from your older self – like you have lost a part of your identity. This is why holding on to some of your previous habits is essential.
For example, you might have had a habit of going out once a week, reading a book before sleep, or going on a daily walk after lunch. Those are helpful habits that keep you balanced and connected to your ‘normal’ life.
It’s expected that you might not feel motivated or energized to do any of the things you used to. However, you can still shake them up a bit to ease them into your current schedule. For example, you can bring friends home, listen to audiobooks for less brain work, or just step outside your house for some sunshine.
8. Sleep Well – Eat Well – Exercise
The body and mind are intricately connected. However, when your mental health is affected, it can be challenging to take care of your physical health, even in the most basic ways. That is why you should take extra care not to neglect it.
For starters, improving your sleep should be a high priority. Sleep deprivation is often an outcome of poor mental health. Yet, better sleep is related to the improvement of several mental health difficulties.
Secondly, nourishing your body with enough food is crucial. You may experience disinterest in food or be more inclined to make unhealthy food choices. Try prepping at least some of your meals to avoid malnutrition. Also, if you eat little, opt for nutrient-packed foods that make you feel good.
Finally, exercising is a great tool in your arsenal when experiencing mood dips. Endorphins (happiness hormones) are only one mechanism through which exercise can reduce anxiety, stress, and depression.
Try to move your body in any way that feels pleasant and comfortable, even if that is dancing for five minutes to your favorite tunes.
9. Focus On The Present
Many of our worries stem from ruminating over past mishaps or overthinking about the future. Yet the only reality we have control over is this very moment. Let go of unnecessary struggle and focus on mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness is a crucial component of learning how to reset yourself mentally. You can use several methods, like the DBT mindfulness skills, meditation and breathing exercises, or body scans.
Mindfulness allows you to observe your thoughts without judgment, nurturing a non-reactive mindset that reduces stress and anxiety. In addition to traditional mindfulness techniques, embracing gratitude and appreciating the simple pleasures of life can further ground you in the present.
Final Words On How To Reset Yourself Mentally
You have powered through the article on how to reset yourself mentally, and I couldn’t be more proud and grateful for you. Poor mental health can be a debilitating condition; finding the courage to seek help and push forward is extremely brave.
My general advice is to treat yourself with compassion, understanding, and unconditional love. The healing journey can be long and strenuous, but you have your own back. Finally, never hesitate to reach out to loved ones or a therapist – get all the help you need!
Learning how to reset yourself mentally is only the first step to your healing journey. You have a long way to go, but you’ve got this!