We’re seeing a high increase in depression and anxiety from all over the Country.
This breaks my heart.
Personally, lockdown’s had the complete opposite effect for my mental health.
For the first time in over twenty-three years, I feel a sense of belonging. And purpose.
Now, I can look in the mirror, admiring the reflection smiling back at me.
No longer do I look for bags of weed, or bottles of gin to escape.
I face my demons head on.
I pick up a pen.
Take a deep breath, reach within, and ask myself why…
Remarkably, why do I not feel alone?
As a single woman who’d recently graduated University and come back home, hopelessly trying to find a career in Cornwall. Life itself hasn’t been one you’d look at and think, “it’s understandable how you’ve recovered.”
Being away from my friends, and living back at home with a mum who’s depressed, was already a very lonely, and challenging time for me.
At the end of February, and after six months of rejection letters, finally I was offered a job which closely aligned with my values.
All that hard work had paid off…
Covid crashed down on us; my new job got taken away from me, I was hit with some shocking news. And to top it all off my nan’s dementia spiralled out of control.
Without realising it at the time, lockdown was the perfect opportunity to put the things I learnt, through self-help books, into action.
When I did, I began watching myself grow.
The four basic human psychological needs.
A couple of years ago, when I first began self-education around the topic of mental health, I discovered Johann Hari.
Hari has uncovered a lifetime of research on mental health, and wrote it all in his book, ‘lost connections.’
In order for us to be mentally well, Johann recognised all four psychological needs, needed to be met if you stood a chance. With research that’s backed up his theory.
The 4 basic psychological needs:
Simply ask yourself, with a pen and paper now, these four simple questions:
- Do you feel like you belong right now? And if not, why not?
- Do you feel like you have intimacy/ love and a connection right now? And if not why not?
- Do you feel like you’re great at something? Your job, your training course you’ve started, your art, maybe just being there for others? And if not why not?
- Do you feel like you have a sense of freedom right now? Even in regards to what’s going on? And if not, why not?
The more of these, you answer no too, the more likely it is you’re suffering in some way.
Don’t be alarmed…
This is great news!
Clearly understanding, ‘why,’ makes it easier for you to find the ‘how’, and move forwards with a solution focused attitude.
Understanding the ‘why,’ of your habits.
As humans, it’s very easy for us to feel things, a ‘cue/ trigger,’ that allows us to react in a certain way.
‘The Friday feeling,’ urges us to go out, let our hair down, and spend all our weekly earnings.
‘The holiday blues,’ entices us into reminisce over our past photos, and wish we were somewhere else.
The surprising text from the person who’s been ghosting us, allows you to feel wanted; fall back into a spell, and get hurt all over again.
This is often where we’re going wrong.
We react to things in the same way we always have-
Even when certain factors change- the job- the environment- your crushes face.
Although the situation’s different, it often feels very similar.
That’s because everything you do is an unconscious routine, and your actions remain the same.
You may think you’re in control…
However, 40% of what you do are unconscious habits.
It’s the reason you get frustrated with yourself every week for waking up hungover; spending too much money, or texting an ex.
It’s why you often ask the question, ‘why is it always me?”
You consciously dislike your behaviour.
All the same you struggle to change it.
This can become very frustrating right?
In NLP we call this the ‘habit loop.’
‘The habit loop,’ refers to the same routine, and pattern, a person performs when they’re triggered by a familiar experience.
A trigger right now for most, would be waking up to a miserable day outside.
The routine that would likely follow, would be to have a lie- in. Maybe a movie day, ordering in a takeout or pampering yourself.
We each have routines for certain triggers- even if the action we’re committing to is good or bad, it doesn’t matter.
We recieve pleasure chemicals in our brain that tells us we’re happy, and it reinforces the routine.
But don’t worry…
If you were able to make a habit, you are able to change it!
Fighting the habit you want to change isn’t easy.
From experience it requires dedication, desperate desire and discipline.