“Mental strength means you understand how to manage your emotions, adjust your thinking, and choose to take positive action, despite your circumstances. It’s knowing deep down that every little struggle is progress. And if you really want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds.”
Mark Rochefort, Mark and Angel Life Hack (Blog)
Last week I shared some very personal insight with regard to my continued journey leading up to menopause, particularly how PMS affects my mental state. Taking birth control has definitely been a positive in terms of helping level out my hormone levels, but I also wanted to share with you how taking control of your emotions and the general well-being of your mind can make all of the difference between a happy or miserable midlife transition.
One of the biggest reasons I sought out help to control my hormone levels is because my most important goal in life centers on being a nice person. Being nasty to my husband, short with my kids, impatient with the dog, sending a passive aggressive email to a colleague or snotty to the bank teller – are all totally unacceptable. What I don’t want people to miss in my story is that even though we are going through hormonal changes that can affect our mental state, I NEVER think it is acceptable to not be nice. What? Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
No matter what is going on in a person’s life, we all have enough control to think twice before we hurt someone else with our words or actions (which include those lovely eye rolls). Nothing makes me angrier than hearing someone say that the reason they were unkind, thoughtless, self-centered or just plain bitchy is because they are “hormonal” or in the middle of PMS. That is an excuse. Even during my worst weeks, I’ve always known the difference between right and wrong. I’ve just sometimes made the wrong choice and opened my big mouth. I knew better, but I went ahead and did it anyway.
Now, let’s get something straight. I’m not saying that keeping yourself under control is easy—especially when you have things like whacky hormones piling on the pressure. But, there are a number of tools—if implemented with commitment and consistency—that can help give you the support needed to the right choice. Over the last several months, I’ve been on a journey to find the right tools for me. But, before you look for tools—you must take the first step to mental wellness. SELF-AWARENESS. I put those words in caps because you need to really take a look within yourself and realize you might have issues. Many of you (like I was) are in denial. I used excuses or blamed others for my actions. It’s time to stop. Look deep within yourself, take notes, record yourself—do whatever it takes to understand that you are the only person or thing in the way of being nice.
Once I looked in the mirror, I was ready to seek out and open my heart to some coping tools. Everyone is different, but here is a list of things that I do (and, might help you) get past a nasty moment:
- Walk away – sounds simple, but is sometimes hard to do. We often (so badly) want to get in our “jab” or prove that we are right. Stop talking and walk away.
- Exercise – go for a long walk. I try and make time everyday to walk at least an hour and sometimes more when I’m feeling emotionally on the edge. I’ve never gone on a walk and not returned wondering what the heck I was bitchy about.
- Meditate – yes, find a quiet place and sit peacefully focusing on positive things. I’m a little weird. I love my nice, soft bed and that is where I go. I lie down and try to first focus on nothing. And then, I move to positive thoughts. If I’m lucky, it ends in a short nap.
- Mantras – this is so easy and will immediately turn your wicked mind around. Figure out what your mantra is going to be. Mine is, “I am a nice person.” It’s that simple. I say it at least 100 times and then I’m in the clear.
- Big Bubble Bath – my kids sometimes think I’m crazy, but you can often find me in the bathtub in the middle of the day. Those bubbles save them on a regular basis. I use gallons of lavender scented bubbles because they always come through when I need some serious soothing.
There are also a lot of really great resources out there, including blogs. The quote at the beginning of this post is from a newly discovered blog that I found. The writers offer all kinds of wonderful articles on good mental health, life balance and coping skills. Their post this week happens to be one of my favorites: http://www.marcandangel.com/2014/06/22/12-common-lies-mentally-strong-people-dont-believe/
Check it out. And, remember. . .be nice.