Hello, Human! There is so much information coming at us daily in general and about mental health.  The news reports are all over tv.  Every day CNN has a breaking story and the image “BREAKING NEWS” flashes on the screen in big red letters.  Our friends are telling us about how they met a new man on Plenty of Fish and that things are hopeful.  Our mother is calling us asking us about how to use her new iPhone.  All these experiences are happening to us daily. When it comes to our mental health, there is so much information as well.  We can ask our girlfriends for advice when we are down and they may say to go out and dance.  With luck, our mothers will say “Cheer up” and say that things will be fine.  Our CNN tv will tell us that a new study has been released about depression and if I am to guess the report will probably say a glass of red win helps! At least I could dream that a glass of red wine helps and I will hope one day CNN will say FIVE glasses will help.  One can dream. Now, with so much information telling us how to live when we feel down, how can we figure out what is best for us and our mental health?

Here are five easy steps to guide us:

ASK OTHERS QUESTIONS: When speaking to professionals (psychiatrists, therapists, social workers, ect…) ask a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask about your mental health treatment plan.   Don’t be afraid to ask for their name and credentials.  Do you feel they have enough qualifications, training, and experience to help you? Simply ask “Why “when they make their recommendations. Wait for the response. You don’t have to be argumentative. Asking why is something helpful for your mental health is just a question. Don’t be intimidated. Write the answers down. Take notes. Share with a trusted friend or family member what the professional has told you.  Gather information and make informed decisions about your personal mental health treatment plan.

ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS: No one can really understand fully what you are going through because you are a unique individual. Why do you think you feel the way you do? Why are you happy? Why are you sad? Keep a journal to organize your thoughts. Understanding yourself will help relay your feelings to others and to other professionals.

KNOW YOURSELF: What does it mean to be yourself? First try to know yourself. Do you know what you like? Do you know what you don’t like? What are you good at? What are your hobbies? What is your expertise? There is something that you know or do that makes you unique. Even the day you were born, the parents you were born to, the name you were given, and what you did a child are completely unique and no one is ever going to have lived that same life as yours.

BE YOURSELF: When you know yourself, you can be comfortable with who you are. There is a great feeling when you are your authentic self about your mental health needs. Be honest with yourself and others. Be who you are and don’t be ashamed. Allow your thoughts and actions to match what you say. Don’t be afraid to be your amazing self.  Confidence is key and definitely keep humility in mind.  We don’t want to go around cursing everyone out because we think we are so great.  Just be yourself in a humble way.

ASK A HIGHER POWER: If you pray to God, then pray. Meditate or ask the universe for answers. If you are not spiritual then spend time alone and think. What do you think you should do about your mental health? Is the answer right in front of you? Find out. If you are having a specific problem take a couple of days to process, pray, or think it over. Take some time alone for a couple of days and even rarely answer your cell phone.  Then, after two days, write down your solution. Let’s see what you come up with.

When we do these five steps, to know ourselves alongside getting help from professionals, We can have more power in the direction of our treatment because we will have a good understanding as to what we need.  Then, when CNN tells us to drink more wine or not drink more wine, we will know what to do internally because we will ask ourselves what is right.  We will stand on our own knowledge and know the right way for ourselves….which for me is five glasses of wine a day.  JUST KIDDING.

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