Mental Capacity: Have You Considered Yours?

Mental Health Week isn't just for individuals with a diagnosed mental illness. Just as everyone struggles with physical health, all individuals are on a continuum of mental health. Most of us hit roadblocks such as stress or inability to focus, or fall into an inescapable mood. These and many more are very common mental health troubles.  Just as pain is a sign of physical injury, low productivity, avoidance and impulsive decision making are signs of mental health issues.

The brain is wired to exhibit problems, such as inattention, impatience, or low energy, as a sign that something is wrong, but many times we ignore the signs. We continue working even though it is hard to focus, we stay in a conversation even though we are annoyed, and we avoid goals by replacing them with short lived distractions. We constantly push ourselves past the warning signs and in doing so lose meaningful interaction time. Time that could be spent fully aware and engaged in developing or restoring our brain’s energy and knowledge.   

While so much is lost to dips in our mental health, how often do we take the time to strengthen our mental capacity? How often do we worry, regret and feel tension without actually working through why we are experiencing it? No one is immune to mental health issues. Once awareness of your mental state is gained, you can work to increase the capacity of strength and resilience in the brain.

With making any change, we have an idea of what we want to accomplish, but many times we can’t get from idea to finished product. For example, we know how to live optimally healthy (exercise, meditate, eat right, socialize), but most of us are not accomplishing this. Even though we know we want to to be healthy, we cannot seem to get from idea to end stage. Many times we say, “I just need to do this or have this” or “I just need more time.” We acquire the tool and the time or just say we don’t have it, and find other roadblocks along the way that divert us to our original position. A few days later, we have talked ourselves out of our goal,  have a new idea for completing it, or have a new goal all together and the cycle continues.

By changing our mindset, we can better approach daily dips in mental health by considering factors outside of the normal routine. One mindset change could be to assess barriers in accomplishing a task before attempting to complete it. Prepping our environment or being ready to anticipate expected problems results in more accomplished tasks, because we are more prepared to expect them.