How you can improve mental readiness even if you have a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression
Mental readiness is the ability to stay focused, motivated, and resilient in the face of challenges, and it’s an essential aspect of overall well-being. However, for those living with mental health disorders like anxiety or depression, maintaining mental readiness can feel especially challenging.
Meet Rhonda*, a 26-year-old Legal Research Analyst from Van Nuys, California. She has just landed her dream job at a top boutique law firm that offered her an exciting position. But as the start date approaches, she can’t shake off the feeling of anxiety and fear of not being able to perform well.
“I’ve been struggling with generalized anxiety since High School” she remembers. Generalized anxiety is a widespread mental health disorder, affecting millions of adults in the US. Rhonda knows firsthand how the condition can interfere with her daily functioning and impact her ability to focus under pressure. “For the new job, I really want to show up at my mental and physical best without risking overwork. I’ve seen too many of my former colleagues slip into burnout and lose everything they worked so hard for” Rhonda explains on our call.
Mind Over Matter: 6 Strategies To Get Started
The good news for her is that there are ways to improve mental readiness. Even with an existing mental health condition and even when life feels really tough.
- Prioritize self-care: Self-care is the foundation of mental readiness, and it’s essential to make time for activities that help you relax, recharge, and feel good. It could also mean taking a break from social media and the news. Or engaging in hobbies or activities that you enjoy.
Example: Rhonda could take a 5-minute break in the middle of her workday to do a deep breathing session. This helps her clear her mind, diffuse anxiety, and refocus on her tasks. Additionally, she could schedule a daily walk in the park after work to enjoy nature and disconnect from office worries. This helps her relax and recharge, leaving her feeling refreshed and ready to engage in after-work activities
- Practice somatic exercises: Somatic exercises are movement-based practices that focus on the awareness of the body’s sensations and movements. These exercises can help to release tension and stress that can accumulate in the body. Especially when dealing with mental health disorders like anxiety or depression. Example: Rhonda, could incorporate somatic exercises such as yoga postures, the Feldenkrais Method, or the Alexander Technique into her self-care routine. It will help her release the physical tension she feels in her shoulders and neck, which often exacerbates her anxiety. Additionally, these exercises help her focus on her body’s movements. Which allows her to stay more present in the moment and less focused on her worries.
- Enhance mental readiness using apps: Utilizing self-care apps can be a great way to improve mental readiness in a personalized way for those living with mental health disorders like anxiety or depression. These apps offer daily tools like journaling prompts, routine-builder, and mindfulness exercises. They issue stats that empower users to keep an overview of their mental state and better understand their triggers.
Example: Rhonda could use the free Earkick self care companion app to audio journal, log symptoms, establish healthy micro-routines, and learn effective coping strategies. That way she could improve her mental readiness on a daily basis, regardless of her workplace situation.
- Stay connected: Social support is essential to maintaining mental readiness as it provides a way to disconnect one’s self-worth and purpose in life from work.
Example: By scheduling regular social activities and connecting with friends, family, and loved ones, Rhonda could take a break from her work-related thoughts and find joy in other aspects of her life. Additionally, by joining a support group and making new friends, she could gain a sense of belonging, feel less alone and get the opportunity to learn from others who understand her condition.
- Use visualization techniques: Visualization is a powerful tool that can help to improve mental readiness, especially when struggling with a mental health condition. By visualizing positive outcomes and scenarios, one can train the mind to focus on solutions rather than problems.
Example: Rhonda could use visualization to help her cope with the stress and anxiety that comes with starting a new job. She could take a few minutes before bedtime to visualize herself successfully completing her tasks, interacting with her colleagues, and excelling in her role. This could help her feel more confident and motivated, and in turn, improves her outcomes.
- Use compassionate self-talk: Living with a mental health disorder is tough and it’s okay to have bad days. Self-talk can help them reframe negative thoughts, increase self-awareness and boost motivation. All of which prevent an escalation of a negative experience.
Example: Rhonda could engage in compassionate self-talk, especially when she’s having a difficult day. Instead of being hard on herself, she could remind herself that it’s normal to have setbacks and mistakes. She could speak to herself with kindness and understanding, reminding herself that she was doing the best she can. This helps her to not beat herself up over small mistakes or setbacks, leading to a positive attitude. Which ultimately improves mental readiness.
The Bottom Line
Mental readiness is something that can be improved over time. And the above tips are a great place to start. Regardless of whether you struggle with a mental health disorder or not.
“I want to feel more in control of my mental readiness and show the world that I can turn the tables on my generalized anxiety”
Rhonda shared in the call. “My condition has given me a “sixth sense” for difficulties in social situations, which I can use to resolve conflicts at work and in my private life.”
If you’re feeling like Rhonda, take control of your mental well-being today. Start your journey to better mental readiness by trying out some of the techniques above. Track your anxiety or depression and see for yourself the positive impact your efforts will have over time. With the right tools and support, you can improve your mental readiness and live a happier, more fulfilling life.
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