January is the time of year where gym memberships and activity are at its highest? That’s followed by a gradual decline as we get closer to February. For some this trend can continue to cycle throughout the year. For others it may just meander toward the couch and never really make that cyclical return.
For this month's mental health exercise I’ll be highlighting what creates the cycle, and/or lack of cycle, and what creates something that produces more plateaus and ascension to a better physical or mental well being.
At the base of our resolutions is an imagery of a better version of ourselves. The problem with follow-through to attain that version is that some of us are essentially too impatient and want that image yesterday. Like that gratification of getting that “order delivered” notification from Amazon. What we miss in our planning to view our mental and physical order fulfillment are the minions of binary code and actual human beings that prepare our totally necessary Treasure Truck doggy bed with heated blankets.
Like our orders, our image of self, mentally and physically, have to go through a process before we can achieve the new version us. What I find failing in us is the ability to see the mini achievements in between.
In the realm of mental health I think of pain. Pain creates fear which in exchange limits us from moving a part of or the whole body. The pain is absolutely real, but the limitation to move may not be real. Micro movements and changes in pressure/weight to an area of pain can be the first step in seeing that movement doesn’t have to be blindingly painful. The first step to concur that mental fear block is the tiny goal to breath and allow the smaller goal to happen. Each tiny movement, tiny bit of weight shift, tiny increase in resistance tolerance building a mental correlation that pain does not have to limit this task from occurring.
Outside of movement the mental blocks for a calmer self, organized self, less anxious self, can come from setting up smaller goals as well. The first reward here is cliché but so true. Admitting you have a mental health problem. You don’t have to be ragging mad, speaking in tongues. You can, and it is seeming simple to just say, “I’m not alright here.” The second mini goal is to begin finding achievable actions you can do daily to get a bit of that better mental version of yourself.
Can you catch yourself before getting angry and stop and just breath. Did you take one breath or several deep breaths? Doesn’t matter that’s high five win for you.
Clutter much? How about did you use that pen, pencil, scissor, whatever and put it back in its designated place? Total win! And that’s 2 for 1 win because you defined a place for something and you returned it there after use.
Anxiousness has its own variety of causes and effects. The task is to identify the triggers to anxiousness. Then break down the definition of those triggers and see how they lead to your sweaty palms, headaches, and elevated heart rate.
Perhaps this is another two-for-one lesson in general health. We cannot expect ourselves to feel stronger with picking up heavy objects if we cannot pick up the body that sits right on top of our own legs. The same can be said for our “core.” We can’t expect a strong core if we don’t even know where it is, to begin with. Take the time to ask yourself, or better yet ask someone who knows, what is your core? What is strength? Is this a shameless self plug? Sure it is. But I'm not the only one that can help you. In fact I'm likely to pass you on to someone that can help you if I can't myself. So what's it hurt to ask?
Failure is only a cycle to be repeated if it is a failure we never ask why it happen in the first place. We can change results by taking more time to see how we want to get them, instead of just wanting to get them.