Take control of your mental health through tracking and self-analyses. Understand that fluctuations in mood, outlook and behavior are often associated with specific triggers. Determining triggers and eliminating them from your daily life will allow you to exercise more control over your mental health. In addition to identifying triggers, self-analysis can assist you in determining what activities or patterns are beneficial to your mental health. But, how do you begin tracking mental health through self-analysis?
Look Inside Yourself
Tracking your moods and keeping a journal are great ways to begin monitoring your mental health. But before reviewing your current mental state, you must look inside yourself and reflect on your past experiences. Consider your first experiences with ‘big feelings.’ What was noteworthy about your first relationship? How did it feel the first time you experienced loss? Do you remember details about your childhood?
Reflect on these big feelings and first experiences. Analyzing these key events can assist you in understanding why you think and behave the way you do. Heightened emotions often leave an imprint. Our original processing of these emotions creates a mental map for us to utilize in processing similar feelings in the future.
Trauma and other emotional wounds increase our risk for certain mental impulses and processes. Incidences of trauma or deep psychological injuries from the past can change our brains and affect our future mental health. To overcome these experiences, we must practice mindfulness, participate in talk therapy, and develop new pathways for our minds to follow when faced with the triggers or memories of the wounds.
Track Thoughts and Moods
Because our past behavior is a strong indicator of our behavior in the present and future, new pathways are imperative to creating mental wellness. Stating that these new pathways improve mental health is easy mapping them out is difficult. Let’s examine how to develop these new mental routes.
Use a calendar, journal, or app to track thoughts, behaviors, and moods. Note that the causes and reactions of ‘big feelings’ are ten times more important than the emotions themselves. When tracking moods and emotions, note the specific thoughts you may have and review the events and behaviors exhibited on that day.
Exercise, sleep, diet, and stability are excellent indicators of emotional health. Track the intensity and days you exercise. Monitor the quality and amount of sleep you get each night. Review your diet and note any mood shifts related to specific types of food. Determine emotional stability for the day. Did your emotions remain constant? Were you in control of your reactions? Did you act on impulse? Analyzing your responses to questions like these can help you determine emotional triggers and eliminate or minimize their occurrence in the future.
Remain Curious and Objective
Tracking and self-analysis for mental wellness are brutal. It ultimately requires you to create a habit that will assist you in examining your current actions and the psychological effects these behaviors may have on you. It requires willpower, determination, consistency, and mental strength.
Curiosity and interest in growth can assist you in remaining consistent in your tracking. Objectivity is necessary to ensure that our recordings and self-analysis are beneficial. Over time, you will begin to develop findings. These findings may indicate a connection between unhealthy patterns of thinking, inconsistent diet and exercise, or destructive behaviors and negative mental states.
Remain objective, refuse to feel shame, and think like a scientist. The goal is to improve mental well-being through our findings. We can only do this if we are honest with ourselves.
Creating New Pathways
After tracking your mental health for roughly six months, you may begin to analyze your findings for triggers and unhealthy habits. A great starting line for this process is singling out the ‘bad days.’ Review your notes for these days and examine any similar qualities between them. Were you around the same people? Did you do the same activities? How much sleep did you get? What did you eat?
Remember that your feelings are always valid. It is perfectly okay to have bad days. The cause may be apparent. In reviewing your negative mental health days, pay attention to whether there was a specific cause for your feelings. Once you’ve reviewed your notes, select a common issue and eliminate it in the future. Create a plan to address the problem and correct it.
Sometimes there is not an external factor responsible for our negative emotions. Internal issues often result in negative emotions, such as; anxiety, depression, and anger. Do you have any repeating thoughts? Is your inner monologue depreciating? Internal issues are typically more challenging to address because they require us to change our thought processes. But, with perseverance and self-motivation, new thought pathways can be established.