In my clinical practice as a therapist, I’ve worked with many individuals and families of all ages, ranging from issues as harrowing as psychological trauma in small children to those as commonplace as conflict in the workplace. Over the years I’ve come to realize that a problem is a problem, relative to the unique context of a person’s life and individual phenomenology. Which is to say that they exist – or do not exist – based on our circumstances and subjective experience of life.
Problems, as we all know, are a reality of living. Life can be unpredictable and will most certainly be stressful at one point or another. But it is how we respond to changes and solve problems that influence the quality of our lives. No matter what our individual circumstances, there are things that all of us can do – whether we struggle with mental illness or not – to promote our psychological well-being, and thereby the quality of our lives.
In my practice, I have discovered and often refer clients to what I call the 4 pillars of sound mental health and emotional well-being. That is, the 4 pillars of LIFE: Love, Introspection, Fun, and Empowerment. Let’s work backwards through each one:
1. Empowerment: Through constantly seeking knowledge and education about ourselves and the world around us, we Empower ourselves. We increase our capacity to make the best choices to suit our individual lives, and to transform those choices into the actions and outcomes that we desire.
2. Fun: Life is incomplete and boring without Fun! We express our individual selves every day through our tastes in food, fashion, travel, hobbies, social events, music, movies, and whatever else we are passionate about. Fun is the spice of life, and regular doses of it at every age are essential to our well-being.
3. Introspection: To increase self-awareness, we must look inward and recognize our unique strengths, our weaknesses, our areas of vulnerability, and our passions. We all have them. Become acquainted with your unique self.
4. Love: Our well-being is truly enhanced by the love we receive and give to others. But most important, and foremost to good mental health, is the love we must have towards ourselves. This type of love comes through deep self-awareness, self-respect, and unconditional self-acceptance. When we are kind to and forgiving of ourselves, we feel more secure and at peace. We gain more confidence, are more assertive, have more energy, are less resentful, and make good decisions that are of benefit to us. Simply put, the most important thing each of us can do to promote our own mental health is to love ourselves. When we do this, we are happy. And when we are happy, we are better mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and friends.
Many of the people I encounter in my work find themselves unable to let go of the past, or anxious about the future. We cannot change the past. But we can change the way we reflect on it and thereby re-write the story of our past. We cannot predict the future. But we can challenge our fears and assess the likelihood of events. Finally, we cannot always control life. But we can always control how we experience life, even though it may not always be easy.
NKS Therapy offers services such as Career Counselling Toronto, Couples Counselling Toronto, Relationship Counselling Toronto, Family Counselling Toronto, Psychoeducational Assessment Toronto, Toronto Mental Health Services, Psychotherapy for Depression Toronto, Toronto Psychologist Services, and Child Psychologist Toronto Services. Call us today at 416-745-4745. We love to help.
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