Mental Health Tools
If I had asked you to imagine your mental health aids as tools, what would be in your tool belt? For example, would you carry a small journal to vent to? Perhaps there is a bottle of water? Maybe, tucked away, you stored a healthy treat as motivation?
The natures of Mental Health aids is this: they can prevent disasters, repair emotions, and be refined and refine us (help us grow as a person). On the other hand, they can be abused and/or cause damage. For example, exercising is a tool. It is beneficial since it is preventative for bad heart health. It is recommended for mild depression for a boost of dopamine (repair emotions). Furthermore, one can also always get better at working out (tool refinement). However, excess working out can damage our muscles and leave us in a worse state then when we did nothing.
So how can we build a healthy toolkit? The first step is evaluate our tools. We have to know what tools are at our disposal. Secondly, figure out when it is best to use them (you can't have a piece of chocolate during an exam!). And the third step is to challenge the tool to see if it actually beneficial by helping us grow as a person.
There are two guidelines to consider as you develop your toolkit. Firstly, know that these “tools“ are not always straightforward since we, as human beings, are not straightforward. For example, you may listen to a song when your anxious one day, but the next time when you’re anxious, the song has lost meaning to you! It is not enough to know that these tools exist-you have to know how to actually put them to good use! Some introspection is needed here because tools can look different (and have different effectiveness) from person to person. What is helpful to one person may hurt someone else (like alcohol for example).
Secondly, remember, no one tool can solve all problems. It is best to build a variety so that when a problem or need arises, we are better prepared for it. With good tools on hand, something is bound to work! .
How will you tailor your tool belt to work for you?