Friday, July 12, 2019

Proactive Mental Health

Did you STOP at the amber traffic light today? Many views amber light as a “hurry up” light and race to get through the intersection before the light turns red. This is when collisions happen. But, amber means ‘Start Stopping’. 
Well this is no traffic coaching. Just like these cautions  on the road, how many of us use cautions in our life situations? When there are difficult situations in life, some people tend to be in a hurry, their emotional life tends to be like a roller coaster, they hurry to explode with anger before even stopping and thinking about the consequences. Such people are quick to show their reaction and in doing so they lose self-control. These are the signs of reactive people.

Intuitively, we should take the same proactive approach when it comes to our mental wellness. Like the amber light which cautions us that the signal is about to turn red, and that we need to start to slow down and stop. We need to take the same proactive approach when it comes to our mood swings.
In mental health, the word “Proactive” plays a vital role. When we have mood swings, we do not try our best to control it or manage it, we get drowned in our own emotions and then once the episode is over, there comes the guilt! You are having a roller coaster ride with your emotions and not just you, but you take your entire family on an emotional roller coaster ride. A ride which you decide how long you want and when to stop. You’re reactive!
The word “reactive” implies that you don’t have the initiative. You let the events set the agenda. You’re tossed and turned, so to speak, by the tides of life. Each new wave catches you by surprise. Huffing and puffing, you scramble to react to it in order to just stay afloat. 

When you are Proactive you can: 
• Manage impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well.
• Stay composed, positive and unflappable even in situations which are not under control.
• Think clearly and stay focused under pressure.
When you are proactive, you make good choices about how you respond to something happening. You are always ready with a calm attitude when things don’t go your way, you aren’t happy but you stay calm. 
There are endless differences and we would end up only talking and doing nothing about it. You might have loads of insight; it would not help you if you do not turn that into action. Being proactive is not a difficult quality; it is a choice or way of dealing with things that we can develop.

There is no better way than being Proactive when you are in Mental illness. There are various ways how you can manage your Mental Health Proactively:

• Be very regular in your medication:
Medication is the core in getting balanced in your mental illness. Taking medication regularly at the same time, speeds up the process towards healing.
Most medications come with side effects, know those side effects beforehand and try to work on those side effects. For example, if you are taking medications like Paxil (just an example, not a prescription advice), some of its side effects include insomnia (sleep problems), anxiety. So, if you can work on these side effects beforehand, they would be less chance of those side effects. For insomnia, you can avoid naps in the afternoon, have herbal sleep tea just before bedtime at night.  Avoid phones, iPad near bed. Listen to nice soothing music, or simply do a 5-7 minutes meditation which would help you sleep. 

• Keep a log on your Mood Swings:
I know it is weird, but believe me it works. It can work as an encouragement for you. Everyday, decide to not get angry or irritated on small matters. There are two aspects in this, you get mood swings and then you go into guilt. Guilt makes you more depressed. So, it is a cycle, you get angry and then you feel guilty. Break that cycle, mood swings will be there, accept it, learn and move on! do not go into guilt. Let your family know that this will happen sometimes. But also assure them that you are working on it. If you keep your log on moods, you will be counting on the episodes and if you figure out any large gap between the episodes, that would be encouraging for you to continue the same diet, behavior and sleep pattern.

• Food and mental health are connected:
The mood-food connection is ever-rising. What you eat is what you are (what your mood will be). Our physical health is an integral part of our mental health. Unhealthy eating patterns can cause mood swings. For example, The Aspartame in Diet Coke can really do a doozey on those with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Aspartame is a dangerous chemical that contributes to neurotoxicity.
A new study found that those who drink a fair amount of sweetened sodas and fruit drinks – whether diet or regular – have an increased risk of depression. The study was presented in 2013, at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in San Diego.
The proactive approach would be to stop all carbonated drinks and switch to a healthier option. Even consuming too much refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries cause blood sugar to rise and fall rapidly. This can also lead to mood swings. Eat fresh and healthy food to improve your mental health.


Proactive people have better self-Control and therefore can focus on problems/situation which have no control, and think ahead of consequences, look for alternatives, and try the best plan ahead.
Red Light 
1. Stop, calm down and think before you act

Amber Light

1. Set a positive goal
2. Think of lots of solutions
3. Think ahead to the consequences

 Green Light 

1. Go ahead and try the best plan

 So next time you are driving, stop at the amber light, and use the time to think how you are going to use this amber light in your life situations. Remember, you have a choice, to slow down, stop and think about the consequences, plan and think ahead, be proactive.

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