‘Don’t tell me to cheer up’ – Dr Maurice Duffy, a renowned mindset strength expert and elite coach has been at the forefront of mindset for over three decades. He shares 10 positive mindset steps for your mental health
My journey in understanding Mental Health is a very personal and complex one.
It started by denying its existence, learning to work through its consequences, whilst burning relationships, and relentlessly marching on in search of career, or that illusive holy grail, ‘happiness’ which I thought would come when I had achieved.
I have used many of the well-publicised ways of trying to combat negative thoughts, both personally and professionally from meditation and mindfulness to affirmation and exercise. But for some, these activities can seem like impossible challenges when you’re having a tough time. I’ve tried them all, and others tell me they have found them difficult to complete during depressive episodes.
I have used food and alcohol as a crutch to help me get through the bad times
I tell people if you cannot afford ten minutes of time for mediation, then you need to give it an hour. Yet I remember sitting in Buddhist meditation classes, wondering when my sense of inner peace would kick in – when I would feel at peace with the world, when would that ‘aha’ moment arrive, and you know what, it didn’t. Instead, I have used food and alcohol as a crutch to help me get through the bad times.
Learning to concentrate on daily tasks, let alone banish all negativity and worry, seems like an impossible challenge at times, and sometimes the blackness overwhelms the normal things, and they no longer have meaning for you.
Learning to ease back on the throttle that manages your relentless approach to life, might let the hounds of hell, catch up and consume you.
READ MORE: Overworked and exhausted? 5 reasons your mental health may be suffering
‘The aim of life is self-development, to realize one’s nature perfectly’ – Oscar Wilde
It was not till I realised that what I sought was inside me, not outside me, that what made me happy was being at peace with the world, that I did not have to prove myself to my Mum, Dad or family, that I had made mistakes, but I forgave myself, that other people had no control over me, and that by loving myself more, I could love others more.
I finally understood in my journey, and amidst challenging circumstances, that I had to draw on inner strengths, source resources and find accomplishments that allowed me to be different. I am not the same person I was 20 years ago, nor 10 years ago, nor yesterday.
So, why do some people succeed where others crash and burn? Why do some people thrive with risk when others become paralysed? Why do some people hesitate when others strike? Why is that some people are filled with apprehensions while others are so certain?
I am not the same person I was 20 years ago
Questions such as ‘Who am I?’, ‘Why Am I Here?’, ‘What, footprints will I leave behind?’ – are a part in many workshops I do. I tell many people that a life that is unexamined, is often unlived and unfilled.
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action.
READ MORE: Got stress? These 3 mindsets are fuelling your anxiety
The future can be great
Taking the small first step is always the hardest. But going for a walk or getting up and dancing to your favourite music, for example, is something you can do right now.
And it can substantially boost your mood and energy for several hours—long enough to put a second recovery step into action, such as preparing a mood-boosting meal or arranging to meet an old friend.
By taking the following small but positive steps day by day, you’ll soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more hopeful again.
Step #1 Establish clear goals
Set specific, measurable, and achievable goals for yourself, both in the short-term and long-term. This will give you a clear direction and purpose, and help you stay motivated.
Step #2 Visualize success
Imagine yourself achieving your goals and visualize the steps you need to take to get there. This will help you to see the path to success more clearly and stay focused.
Step #3 Practice positive affirmations
Repeat positive affirmations to yourself on a daily basis. This will help you to build confidence and positive self-talk.
Step #4 Keep a gratitude journal
Write down three things you are grateful for every day. This will help you to focus on the positive aspects of your life and develop a more positive mindset.
Step #5 Surround yourself with positive people
Spend time with people who are positive, supportive, and motivating. This will help you to develop a more positive mindset and achieve your goals.
Step #6 Embrace failure
Failure is a natural part of the learning process. Embrace it and learn from your mistakes. This will help you to stay motivated and persevere in the face of challenges.
Step #7 Practice mindfulness
Take time to be present in the moment and focus on your breathing. This will help you to reduce stress and improve focus.
Step #8 Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for good health and well-being. Make sure you get enough sleep every night to help you stay energized and focused.
Step #9 Exercise regularly
Physical activity is essential for a healthy mind and body. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
Step #10 Stay organized
Keep your environment clean and organized. This will help you to reduce stress and improve focus.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.