On World Mental Health Day, each October, your timelines will be flooded with social media postings and media stories about mental health.
There are a number of 'Awareness Days' throughout the year that gives us all a reminder to stop, pause and evaluate our own mental health and overall wellbeing.
Taking time to invest in our wellbeing is so important. We are often busy and we can all say that we don’t have time but what we are actually saying is that we are not making this a priority and that we are prioritising other activities by giving them time and energy instead.
Your health and wellbeing, both physical and mental should be a priority.
You should be giving it time and energy.
If you are not … why not?
The STAR acronym is often used in a work environment. (Situation, task, action, result) but there is another acronym that can help you pause and reassess. Whilst you could use the other acronym in a work environment, it can also be used to work on your personal life and wellbeing.
When was the last time you paused for thought to consider your life and wellbeing?
For most people, it would have been around New Year as resolutions were made and goals for the year set. After that, very few people stop to consider how they are progressing.
Once you stop, you have the time to think and consider your options.
What is working well for you that you need to do more of?
What is not working so well that you need to do less of?
Consider the ABC's of responsible behaviour;
A. What are my ALTERNATIVES or choices?
B. What is the BEHAVIOR that I will choose?
C. What might be the CONSEQUENCES of the action I am about to take?
You are responsible for how you think, how you feel and the action you take.
It is your decision on how you place your health and wellbeing on your list of priorities.
What ‘ACTion’ will you choose to take?
Personal progress should be reviewed in the same way as you might review progress in other areas of your life such as work or physical fitness.
Did the action take you closer to or further from my goal?
What worked well that you need to do more of?
What didn’t work so well and what will you do differently or try next?
Stop, think, act and review.
Important to do, but what should we be doing to help improve our wellbeing?
What are the secrets of those who have a healthy mind?
What actions can we try to see what works for us?
What behaviours should we choose?
We cannot switch off emotions, we cannot prevent them from happening. It is part of what makes us human.
What need to do is be conscious of our emotional state. What is the true emotion behind the response and is it helpful to the situation?
If the emotional state you are in is not helpful then it is vital to learn ways to shift your state into one that is helpful rather than hold on to the negative emotions for unnecessary periods of time.
This can be a challenge as you must find what works for you however it is a key element to positive wellbeing.
Where is your focus? Do you have any focus or are you just bumbling through each day?
When you stop and think, this forces you to create a focus.
Are you focusing on the problem or the solution?
Focus on the solution and what you want to move towards not what you want to move away from. Keep your focus on the future ahead of you.
Visualise and focus on what success will look like. How will you be, think and feel?
Set your goals and chunk them down into small, achievable steps. Find that motivation within you, the deep intrinsic motivation that is hard for others to impact and influence.
Often as we rush through life we don’t stop to really give time to consider the meaning behind the things we see, hear and experience.
Sometimes slowing down to be a more critical thinker can help us to understand our world better. Often there is a meaning in a situation that we need to take some time to Stop, Think and Review.
We have a tendency to delete, distort and generalise information so that it fits our existing way of thinking. Applying a more critical way of thinking and stopping to consider what the true meaning is, can make a significant difference.
If we do not stop and think before we act then we tend to act in the same way and therefore get the same response. Give yourself time to stop and pause for thought, what is happening, what is holding you back, and what you need to do differently, and then you can decide on how to act.
Don’t forget the importance of reviewing what you have done, otherwise, you will end up bumbling through each day, with the same behaviour, the same actions, and therefore getting the same results.
Who do you relate to? Which relationships do you invest your time and energy in?
Are you surrounding yourself with people who ‘fan your flames’?
Are the people you spend time with the people who push and drive you forward? Do they inspire and motivate you or are they holding you back in old ways of thinking and behaving that are no longer of use to you and pushing you towards your goals?
Make sure that the key people in your life are those who will have a positive influence, those who you aspire to be like, those who you can learn from, and those who are different to you and have a different point of view that can challenge your way of thinking.
Distance yourself from those who drain you of your positive energy and drive for success.
We each have 24 hrs in a day. How we choose to use that time is down to us.
What we choose to prioritise, the behaviours we choose to make consistent and how we choose to ‘show up’ to each day is down to us.
Small actions can have big consequences.
Identify one change that would have an impact across lots of different areas in your life
Identify the one problem that you could solve which will lead to other solutions
These are just suggestions of areas to spend time on.
Focus on you and what works for you not on what everyone else is doing.
Wellbeing is not a one size fits all solution.
First published in October 2018
Updated Jan 2019, Oct 2020, Oct 2022