Last week I introduced you to the idea that emotional health is an ability that’s in your power to nurture.
Let’s continue chatting about this! Let’s say that a feature of your original personality is that you are a little more prone to sadness than the next person. Although we’ve lost this way of looking at personality, at one time it was assumed that a full quarter of human beings were born “melancholic.” Whether that view is accurate or not there’s no reason to assume that we don’t come into the world with some hard-wired proclivities, including for some of us a vulnerability to sadness.
Say this is you. Then the ability you would want to nurture and hone is your ability to deal with chronic sadness. To put it into the form of self-talk, this would sound like: “I know I get sad. I want to presume that it is in my power to reduce my sadness. I’m not sure if I have that ability but I want to suppose that I do! If I do have it, what does it look like? Golly, I’m not really sure. It probably has lots of moving parts! I suspect that I’m going to need to sit down and really think about what this ability of mine looks like!”
You sit down and do exactly that.
That’s the most wonderful emotional wellness habit you could possibly cultivate: identifying a challenge (like chronic sadness), announcing that you have (or hope you have) the ability to deal with it, and sitting yourself down and figuring out what that ability looks like.
With respect to your chronic sadness, you might discover that it’s partly the ability to “change your mind” about the bleakness of your circumstances, partly the ability to identify mood-uplifting tactics like exercise and hot showers, partly the ability to manifest your courage and make changes that you know will make you feel better, and so on.
In order to make use of your abilities to improve your mental health you need to get into this “emotional wellness habit”: the habit of identifying a challenge and sitting yourself down and thinking calmly and sensibly about what might help. Why not practice this habit this week and we’ll chat again next Wednesday!
Read more posts by Eric Maisel, Ph.D., a JenningsWire blogger.