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What does it mean to be mentally healthy?

Clue: It’s not about feeling happy all the time…

It’s pretty obvious to say it, but people generally come to see me because they’re not feeling good. Sometimes it’s because they’re not feeling happy and they feel like they should be. On the outsides everything looks good but on the inside they’re feeling unhappy and miserable.

Being mentally healthy isn´t about being happy all the time.

Sure that would be great, but we’re human beings and have a range of emotions for a reason. They help us express ourselves, tell us what’s important to us and help us make our way through life.

Often hanging on to being happy can actually make us feel worse because if we lose contact with the happiness, we become anxious or worry that things aren’t right.

Sometimes things aren’t right and our feelings can be a message from our bodies to change but it doesn’t mean that we need to panic.

Being mentally healthy involves being able to express ourselves with a full range emotions not desperately clinging to the one that feels the best!

Sometimes, the feelings we reject are something that we need to allow so that we can move on.

So whilst its not about being happy all the time, sometimes if we can let ourselves feel our other feelings, (anger, shame, sadness, etc). They will pass and we can get to a point where we may be able to feel the joys in life once more.

A lot of the work I do in therapy is helping people to connect with and accept the difficult emotions that are going on within them right now. This involves learning how to sit with and allowing some painful feelings in the present. By doing this, rather than spending all our effort trying to push them away, we often find that we can find a little bit of energy to take some steps towards doing what matters in our life.

Sometimes this can be feel impossible.

Often it feels counterintuitive, especially if we’ve been feeling stuck.

If this approach speaks to you and you’d like to learn more about ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) which is one of the approaches I use to help clients move through these periods in their life, please get in touch.


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