Mental Health Checklist

This is to help you identify anything you might not have noticed. It is not a professional assessment. It is for your own use. It will allow you to start to have a conversation or to look for professional help.

☐ Recent mood swings
☐ Has become more withdrawn in the last 30-60 days
☐ Has become irritated with my requests in the last 30-60 days
☐ Is not eating
☐ Is not sleeping well
☐ Is not hanging out with friends as much in the last 30-60 days
☐ Has wanted to quit their passion recently
☐ Has become defiant and aggressive with me and others
☐ I have noticed bruises/cuts lately
☐ Does not want to communicate about anything
☐ Says “I’m Fine” all the time
☐ Says “Just leave me alone”

These are some things that you can start to be aware of and sit down and take a good look. If you are noticing any of these issues, it is critical to sit and have a conversation ASAP to address.

How to Have the Difficult Conversation

One of the hardest things to do is to try to start a conversation with someone who is in pain. In their minds they are alone and no one can relate or understand what they are going through. Self-Pity is one of the most damaging illnesses that can occur. It stops the person from dealing with reality and can take the Mind to a very dark place.

In the darkness it is difficult to make sound decisions. It is hard to breathe; it is hard to believe that there is a way out.

The first questions are critical to getting the conversation going. Here are some starters.

I have noticed a change in you recently, has something happened to you?

I attended a presentation recently that has made me aware of some things that I have done. I want to apologize if any of (insert what you became aware of) have caused you pain. I simply did not realize how my actions have caused issues for you.

• I have not been feeling myself lately and did some research and found that I have some things to learn. I have noticed your behaviour is similar, would you be open to learning some new things together?

I love you very much and my biggest fear is that I am not providing what you need, can you help me un•derstand what you are dealing with?

These are all great conversation starters and take the guilt and shame off of them and show you are trying to help. Walking the dog, shooting hoops, having a day together is a great way to begin the process in a less intensive way.

Once you have begun to gain their trust and they open up, then you can bring up finding someone to help. Avoid using the words a therapist, a psychologist, a doctor. Simply say let’s find someone that could help us and then research some options together. Layout some timelines to finding the right one. Creating this structure to become healthy allows them to organize it in a way that they can stay focused and positive throughout the process. 

Exploration: The Underrated Self Care Method

Post credit – Mandie

When we say the word exploration, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Do you picture a vast Canyon with an open sky? A lake so vast you can’t see the end? Or a field with nothing but flowers and sun. 

Whichever you imagine, how do those places make you feel? Does it bring happiness or comfort? Excitement or Danger? Exploring a new place can be all of those emotions and feelings, and it can be important to put yourself out into the world.

Why should I explore new places? You might be asking yourself this question, and you might say “What’s the point?” Oh my friend, there are many opportunities from the exploration of new places and removing ourselves from the chaos that is everyday life, the monotony of it all can be so oppressive that most of us don’t even realize it.

Stress Relief

Do you ever feel yourself overwhelmed or run down? Then I have great news. Traveling and the exploration of new places is an amazing stress reducer and happiness booster. You may feel your mind clouded by worries and we all know how much social media wears on our consciousness. 

There is also a science behind why exploration is a viable option for stress relief.

Exploration promotes happiness which leads to lower cortisol levels making us feel more calm and content. According to a 2013 study 80% of Americans who were surveyed noticed a drop of stress levels just after a day or two of traveling. When we explore safely, it can be one of the greatest self care acts out there.

Creativity Boost 

If you’re an esteemed artist or just a casual one, exploration can exponentially increase your creativity. Visiting an environment with some sort of local culture can bring new ideas, philosophies, and cognitive flexibility. 

We know it sucks to stare at a blank piece of paper and think “Why am I so blocked…” and that’s exactly why we should go to a new place or take a walk to reset our train of thought and inspire new ideas to come forth from visual stimulation.

Even Ernest Hemingway, for example, drew inspiration for much of his work from his time in Spain and France. Now I know not everyone can afford to travel across the world, but even going to a new remote hiking location or new town can promote health and creativity.

It Brings You Out of Your Comfort Zone

A lot of people in modern society have trouble with going out of their comfort zone, especially if it has to do with doing something new. Facing difficulties in an unfamiliar environment, among new people, forces you to learn and adapt to a life that’s out of your comfort zone. 

This makes you more flexible, patient and emotionally strong. Exploration of new places can be especially tricky for people who have social anxiety, or people who have agoraphobia or have agoraphobic tendencies. 

We’ve personally dealt with having that anxiety of leaving our house and going to a new place…your mind races and you might think “What if I die…What if I get lost…What if I witness something horrible? The number one thing we can tell you is, just do it.

We know how hard it can be, trust us, but every time we’ve left the house and went somewhere new, we’ve enjoyed it and learned many new things, not only about ourselves but about the world. We KNOW you can do it too, but here are some tips to help make you feel more secure when visiting a new place.

Helpful Tips

  • NEVER go alone in a new busy city, or dangerous area if you choose to go to places like that. Make sure you bring someone you trust with you to keep you safe, or know who to call if you’re ever in trouble. It also doesn’t hurt to learn basic self defense moves
  • If you have social anxiety, try going to a more remote, nature based location to ease your mind.
  • Keep a positive attitude and open mind. It’s so important for your self care and health in general to think on the bright side and be an open person. This helps expose yourself to new things and cultures. 

If something or someone seems a little weird or different from yourself, think of how they got that way or why they do what they do. Cultures can differ from place to place so you always want to be aware.

  • Be respectful. Like I said above, being in a new place can bring new things, so make sure when you do visit a new place, to try and be respectful of their cultures and traditions. 

In general, just follow the rules they have set there and you should be fine. Ex. In Japan people almost never wear shoes inside, and have personal indoor slippers for you to use. It’s not illegal to wear shoes inside, but people will consider it very rude and will most likely not let you enter the establishment without taking them off.

  • Let go and have fun! Exploring new places should be looked at with a sense of wonder and excitement. Make sure you do what you want to do while you’re in a new place and just have fun. It can hinder all the health benefits included by not letting yourself just be selfish and enjoy it.

Live Freely

Now that you’ve read this, pick a new destination twice a week for 2 weeks and go forth! Life is about freedom and adventure. Be okay with bracing the unknown and think about your health first. Get in touch with the world around us and be safe.

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
– Andre Gide

Mandie

Resolution Requires Resolve: 5 Steps to Take

With the New Year comes new ideas, new hope and new resolutions. Every year our minds race with the thoughts and wishes for change in our lives. Out with the old and in with the new. The problem is and always has been that whenever we want to change, we often don’t know how to go about it. We know that we have to do things differently, but diving into the unknown is scary, like walking down a dark alley alone. We feel vulnerable, unsure and question our ability to do what we want to do.

There are some things that you must gain an understanding of to become the change that you desire. First and foremost is to understand that we are habitual creatures and the habit we are trying to change is something that we have done for a long time. Whether it is getting into shape, eating better, quitting smoking, or just living a more fulfilled life. The battle that you have chosen to fight requires commitment, or an even better word RESOLVE. The second thing we have to prepare for are those times where fear and doubt overtake us. We can start great, but resolutions are abandoned far too often within the first month. WHY? Because we are creatures of habit, this new endeavour requires a lot of thought, a lot of work and does not feel as good as we thought, or at least that is what we tell ourselves. Our MINDS are so powerful that we actually can feel helpless. Do you have what it takes to change that habit? Can you do this thing that you feel you need to do to improve yourself? The answer is YES, YOU CAN!

Here are some steps that will help you stay on track to make the change you feel will benefit you.

  1. We are very visual in our thinking. If we can’t see it, we feel we can’t do it. Create a picture board with words and images that help us attach to how it will feel when we are successful in making the change.
  2. Positive affirmations, create a sentence or two that you can repeat to yourself when you feel the fear and doubt creeping in. Something that when you repeat it to yourself makes you feel powerful.
  3. Try to find someone who can help you. Often we are making the change because of what someone has said to us. “You have to lose weight, don’t you want to feel better and be around longer?” Comments such as these make us aware but also create resentment and put our thoughts in a bad place. Find someone who will support you. Someone that will tell you that you are doing great. Encouragement empowers.
  4. Identify the things that could potentially stop you from being successful and decide how you will counter those thoughts with action. (If it is bad eating habits, then when you feel like eating a bag of chips, look at the picture board or repeat your affirmation and grab an apple or do sit-ups, take some deep breaths and focus on the new you.)
  5. BELIEVE! It is a simple case of MIND over Matter. If you don’t MIND, well, it won’t matter. THINK THINK THINK, keep good thoughts in your MIND.
    Gandhi said it best “be the change you want to see in the World”.

I know that you can do it, you have done it before and this time is no different. If you are not standing on the edge, you are taking up too much room. Push yourself and gain an understanding of the fact that you can do anything you put your MIND to.

Good luck to you all! I wish you a happy and successful 2021.

Bob Wilkie
President, I Got Mind Inc.