Give Your Mental Health A Boost This Year With These Strategies

It’s a whole new year, which means that this month is the perfect time to take a look at your life, your health and your wellness and consider how you can change and improve each aspect of that. By taking your health and wellness more seriously, you can improve your quality of life, and ensure that you have the best year ever, allowing you to start next year in the most amazing place, health-wise.

If there’s one area of your life that you should consider focusing on this year, it’s your mental health, after all, this is a key area of your health and wellness, and one that very few people put enough time and effort into taking care of.

Wondering what it takes to give your mental health a boost this year? Have a read of the tips and ideas below!

Peace meditate

Photo source: Pixabay

Be more active

One way to enhance your mental health this year is to take steps to become more active. If you want to give your mental health a boost and improve how happy you are, becoming more active is a great way to go about it. Physical activity isn’t only beneficial for physical health, but also for mental health because it helps to reduce feelings of stress, tension and anxiety, which is what makes being more active so important for your mental health. Whether you choose to take up running, swimming or yoga, it doesn’t matter – all that matters is that you’re taking your mental health seriously by taking steps to be more active to help improve your emotional wellness.

Seek support

There’s no shame in seeking support, should you need it. When it comes to your mental health, it’s important to understand that there is no shame in taking the time to get support, should you need it. Regardless of what the problem is and whether you need anxiety counselling, sex addiction counselling or support for another mental health problem, it’s essential that you feel like you can seek the support that you need without needing to feel embarrassed about it. If you are struggling, one of the best things that you can do is seek support, which is why it’s so important that you understand this.

Do what makes you happy

Want to improve your mental health this year? Then, it’s essential that you do what makes you happy. When it comes to mental health and happiness, these two things tend to go hand in hand, with you being less prone to develop mental health problems if you do what makes you happy. Spend more time doing the things that you love and less time doing what other people want you to do – this is important as it could have a huge impact on your mental health and wellness.

There you have it, everything that you need to know about giving your mental health and wellness a boost this year. Take note of the tips and advice above and you can make the whole process much easier for yourself.

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How to Be Happy in This Moment

Something that has eluded me for most of my life has been true happiness. There were moments as a child I remember being happy and content, but in all honesty there has always been a black hole in my life, a void. It has been there for as long as I can remember and I have been trying to fill it, unsuccessfully, for most of my life.

So while there have been a good few moments of happiness throughout my life I cannot remember any long stretch of time where I have felt whole, satisfied with my life and happy. Well not until recently anyway.

How to be happy pin

I’ll be Happy WHEN…

I think the one of the biggest things to blame is my way of thinking. I have always been in the pursuit of happiness and while I cannot remember any extended moments of happiness I can remember lots of things that I believed would bring that longed for feeling of joy.

This belief was that as soon as I have achieved a specific goal in life with it would be a sense of accomplishment, of joy and happiness.

There are so many examples of this and here are a few of these:

  • When I turn 18 I will be happy
  • When I get my own place to live and I am independent I will be happy
  • When I have more money I will be happy
  • When I get my first job I will be happy
  • When I get another job I will be happy
  • When I get a raise I will be happy
  • When I fall in love I will be happy
  • When I can get out of this toxic relationship I will be happy
  • When I turn 21 I will be happy
  • When I stop drinking and using drugs I will be happy
  • When I reach my 1 year clean milestone I will be happy
  • When I have a baby I will be happy
  • When I give up smoking cigarettes I will be happy




The fact is that I achieved all of those goals and not one of those within itself made me happy.

In fact some of these things that I wanted in life made me more unhappy when I achieved them and I couldn’t quite get my head around this fact.

When I reached my 1 year clean milestone I truly believed it would bring with it some incredible spiritual awakening and a profound sense of happiness and satisfaction. I remember being all worked up with excitement, I had reached the one year clean that everyone so looks up to. I went down to the local Narcotics Anonymous meeting with my cakes and candles. I gave my one year share and I got my one year clean NA keyring.

Afterwards a few people gathered at the coffee shop down the road and we had a grand time for about an hour. Then people started to leave and it started to hit me. I am the same person I was yesterday and absolutely nothing has changed except that I have this silly keyring.

The truth is that I felt really cheated and unhappy with a sense of is this it? Is this all there is to life, just carry on with your recovery, carry on with the 12 steps and there is nothing more to life? No more drinking, no more using, no more wild parties?

It is interesting to note that a lot of addicts and alcoholics relapse around the 1 year sober milestone and quite frankly I am not surprised, I personally found it a very disappointing experience that didn’t come close to my huge expectations of it.

When I gave birth to my first child I suffered from postnatal depression for about 6 months without realizing it and I slipped into deep despair. I couldn’t understand why I was so unhappy and miserable when this was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. I was three years clean, I had just had a baby and I was married to the man I loved, I should be happy right?

So over time it has become clear to me that nothing will magically bring me true happiness the moment I achieve it.


What is Standing in the Way of Happiness?

The biggest thing standing in the way of happiness is ourselves. The way we think and the psychological attachments that we have.

We so often have negative beliefs about ourselves. Perhaps we self-sabotage ourselves before we even achieve anything, or we speak negatively to ourselves and often we try to fill this void in destructive ways.

In my case I tried to make myself feel better through drinking alcohol and using drugs, and as you can tell from my website this didn’t exactly work out well for me.

How to be happy in this moment - letting go of psychological attachements

How to be Happy in This Moment

I have been finding true happiness in the last few years and the place that I find it is right in this moment. It is not some goal that needs to be attained. Each moment can be a moment of happiness. Happiness happens right now and it is essential to remember that.

Happiness happens right now

If you are sitting and seething with resentment about something that happened yesterday or if you are attaching happiness to an event in the future you are missing this very moment in the here and now.

Always remember that happiness happens right now, so focus on this moment to be happy.

Think of how a young child reacts to their environment, for example when it is snowing outside and how they look around them taking it all in. Take a moment to always appreciate nature and your surroundings.

My kids even get excited when it rains. They shriek with excitement and go watch at the window. I have to agree with them watching the rain is awesome, it is good for the soul.

Psychological attachments

It is also about teaching yourself that you are worth it, that you deserve happiness and this is where you need to be able to identify these negative psychological attachments and start to replace them with positive affirmations so that you have a choice.

In this way you can choose to be happy.




Gratitude helps achieve happiness

Something that has worked incredibly well for me if I start to feel resentful or unhappy about my life is to write a gratitude list. I take out a piece of paper and I write down everything that I am grateful for right now.

When I do this and see how much I really have in life, and how far I have come in the last 8 years since I got clean I get a much clearer perspective of how fortunate I am.

Joy is found in the simplest things

The things that make me the happiest are the simplest things that happen all day every day. The way my children laugh, the funny things they say and the laughs I have with my husband.

It is not the house I want to build one day that will make me happy, but the little moments in getting to that achievement and one day when I do get to build my own house it will be the memories I create inside that house that will make me happy, not the bricks that make up the house.

It is up to me one day to make it a home, a happy home.

Being Happy is a Choice

For me being happy is a choice. I choose to be grateful and I choose to keep myself focused on the present moment and enjoy it to the fullest.

Of course I have also seen some people giving advice to others to “just be happy” and to “stop moping around”. It is not quite as simple as this and if you are depressed and feel like there is no joy in life you can still choose to change things by getting some help.

There is absolutely no shame in getting help to get your life back on track and to finding true happiness, in fact I highly recommend it!

What have your struggles been while trying to find happiness? Do you have any tips or experiences to share?

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Freedom From Addiction – Life in Recovery is Amazing!

I am so sorry that I have not found the time to post on this blog for about 6 months. The time goes so quickly and I get caught up in life and then I blink and see that my last post here was in April 2016.

A lot of people ask me why I still bother trying to post on this website and my answer is that I just love it. I love the freedom from addiction and I want to share my love for life with other addicts that are in recovery or addicts that feel stuck where they are and perhaps have no hope.

A lot of the posts I have written have been quite dark, but the truth is that I have to share the darkness. A good example of this is how my path into addiction started, it is not a happy story but it must be told.

Today however I want to share about happiness, love and light.

This post is about Freedom from Addiction.

Freedom from addiction life in recovery

 

Freedom From Addiction

9 years ago I was in a terrible place. I was stuck in the cycle of addiction. I was in an abusive relationship and quite frankly I had no hope for my future.

On the 2nd August 2016 I was 8 years clean from drugs and alcohol. On the 1st October 2016 I was 1 year nicotine free.

Yes I totally did it, I quit smoking!

I usually always post on my websites when I have reached awesome milestones and this year I was just too busy with my life.

In a lot of ways that is sad, that I couldn’t find the time to share about such incredible achievements, but on the other side life is great and I am living it to the fullest.

There was a time when drugs and alcohol consumed me completely, yes also in recovery. Maybe I wasn’t taking the drugs or alcohol but in my thoughts they consumed me. The obsessions.

Then for a long time the thought of drugs and alcohol didn’t exactly consume me, but I lived with fear of relapse and I made recovery my whole life.

Recovery is still essential to me but instead of it consuming me and being my life it has become one aspect of my life.

There are many aspects to by being and recovery is one of them. In the same way that I am a mother and my my children mean the world to me, I am not 100% defined by this role of being a mother. It is part of who I am.

How Does It Feel Being Clean?

This is the true miracle for me. I feel amazing.

I can remember being so angry when I went out to eat in early recovery. As we all know one of the first things that happens when you go out to eat is the waiter arrives with a huge smile and asks you what you want to drink.

I would feel this bubble of anger rising and I wanted to scream “What the fuck do you think I want to drink? A stupid chocolate milkshake? No bring me booze you idiot!”.

Seriously I was angry, I was resentful and the worst part is that I couldn’t see how one day it would feel better. I refused to order anything to drink when I went out anywhere for months.

I would also watch what everyone else in the restaurant was drinking and if anyone left some alcohol on their table I would be shocked and it would disturb me. I mean who orders a beer and leaves a third of it behind? I would see people leaving a table with some wine left in the bottle and it would take everything in me not to shout at them and tell them to polish it off or to cork it and take it with them.

But you know what? Today I don’t notice what other people drink and I don’t care what they do with their drinks.

Today I do have that chocolate milkshake and I order it because I love it. They taste great. Or sometimes I order a hot chocolate with a flake in it and sometimes I have a red grapetizer.

The thought of booze doesn’t usually cross my mind.

Every now and then I suddenly have the thought that I want a drink/ drug or cigarette. It comes quickly and it feels strange but not uncomfortable at all. It is more like “oh how strange” and the moment is gone and forgotten.

It happened last night after supper. I thought I am going to make a cup of coffee and go smoke outside. Then I remembered I haven’t smoked in over a year! Thought gone.

I used to think that I wouldn’t want to live my life sober, I thought it would be boring and that I would have no fun at all.

The truth is that life is immensely enjoyable and rewarding.

The Gifts of Recovery

In treatment and in the 12 Step Program people talk about the gifts of recovery.

When I first got into recovery I struggled to see how I would be receiving any gifts of recovery.

A little later on in my recovery journey yes I started seeing and appreciating some gifts of recovery but I still had this niggly little feeling of is this is? Is this all there is, surely there is more?

Even two or three years into recovery there was a little feeling of being let down. There were times when things just felt too tame and mundane and I longed for a bit of something else.

Today I enjoy the “mundane-ness” of my life.

A good example of this is that my hubby and I have two young kids. It was my birthday in April and we had organized one a date night, a very rare occurrence in our life. On the Friday night we were going to go out to dinner and his mother was going to baby sit.

His father then called and invited us out to supper on the Saturday night for my birthday and we said we would go.

A little while later I turned to my husband and said maybe we should cancel our Friday night date otherwise we will be packing our weekend quite full with going out both nights. He agreed and we cancelled our Friday date.

A few minutes later I started laughing and I told my husband it is amazing how content and happy I am with life. How I can happily stay in on a Friday night.

Of course he thinks I am a little batty since he met me when I was already in recovery so he has no idea what I am talking about.

The thought of a 5 day New years outdoor Vortex festival creeps into my mind where I literally did not sleep those entire 5 days, I just partied…. and here I am not able to cope with going out for two (early) nights in a row.

If you only know me from my blog you may not understand how amusing this thought is.

If you ever partied with me you will fully understand the irony in this story.

One day I will share some war stories, some drunken and drugged craziness that happened and perhaps that will shed some light on this strange picture of domesticity of my life.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you too can find freedom from addiction, if you have any questions or just want to chat please leave a comment.

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