Good mental health! It’s a statement we hear quite often, but the reality of what really constitutes it is sometimes illusive. For most of us, the interplay of our thinking, emotions and behaviors must be taken into account for good mental health. It is often our misunderstanding of the interaction of these three that can cause some conflict, confusion, or distress.
People’s thoughts and perceptions of events or words strongly influence their emotions and behaviors.
It is not an event or one conversation that determines how we feel, but the way we interpret or give it meaning. Most of us relate how we feel about events, things and circumstances; so we spend a lot of time attempting to arrange and change circumstances so we will be happy. The truth however, is emotions and behaviors do not depend on our environment only, and neither does our happiness!
Over the next two weeks we will look at 5 mental habits couples can practice in order to improve their relationships and influence their partner for a more positive and healthy connection.
IMPROVING YOUR RELATIONSHIPS AND INFLUENCE
Habit 1: Choices! Change the Self Talk
Our thoughts and belief systems are commonly known as our SELF-TALK. Believe it or not, we can choose what we think about. Our choices of our thoughts about events-our self-talk-create our emotions and affect our behaviors! Self-talk initiates and intensifies our emotions. It directs how we behave and what we say to others; and what people say to themselves governs the way they feel and act.
We create change in our lives by gaining control of our thoughts. Is your self-talk a critical voice or an affirming one? Our thought processes, such as how we view ourselves and others, and how we approach problems, have been programmed throughout our lives from our development, family interactions, experiences, relationships, knowledge and other influences. We can decide on some of our mind’s influences-such as what we read, watch, listen to- but others such as parents or our environment we cannot. But we can choose what influences and input will shape our mind by believing and dwelling on that material.
“As a man thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs
Habit 2: Attitude is Everything!
One of the most significant decisions we can make daily is our choice of attitude. Making a determined decision of your will to change your attitude definitely leads to a healthy mind. We control our attitude; we have the power to change it if we decide to.
- Decide what you will focus on. Will it be positive things or negative? Positive minds are always full of hope and also more confidence.
- Affirm yourself. What do you tell yourself all day long, your self-talk, inner dialogue? Think of your strengths (everyone has them), remember the skills and abilities you have. What are the roles you play so well? (such as being a great parent, or teacher, worker). What positive characteristics make you who you are? Make a mental or physical list; practice reminding yourself often.
- Consider gratitude. Gratitude comes from the Latin word gratus meaning to find out what is pleasing or to give thanks. The “attitude of gratitude“ creates a sense of openness, appreciation and kindness. Again, this is a choice to focus, either on what is missing in your life, or what you presently have. Try being grateful for what you already have in your life and you won’t be as disappointed.
Check back next week for 3 more healthy mental habits for great relationships. And let us know what you think! Are your mental habits healthy? Could your relationships be better by creating more healthy mental habits?