Craig Minchington’s Mental Health Awareness Series – Tip 2: Identification

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”, and let’s face it, he knew what he was talking about.

Tip 2 – identify what affects your mental health and take action.

Now the words ‘take action’ can seem like the equivalent of running a marathon for someone suffering with anxiety or depression. That is why I always recommend doing things at a pace that you’re comfortable with to not exacerbate the situation. Small steps are perfectly fine, just keep taking them.

A lot of people struggling with their mental health can’t see a way out and get completely overwhelmed. It is astonishing what can be achieved by putting positive actions in little by little. Trust me.

So, identify what inflames your mental health — it could be toxic relationships, self-pressure, pressure from others, alcohol, drugs, worry, social media, work/life balance, fear, fear of failure, fear of letting people down, shame, guilt, self-worth, the list goes on and on. Everyone is different but take the time to identify yours.

Let me give you an insight into myself and hopefully, it will help explain.

What did I identify?

For me, alcohol was a huge trigger, especially the day after. Alcohol is a depressant — not exactly ideal for someone suffering with their mental health. Yet it took me a very long time to realise, to have that FUCK moment, where I could identify 95% of my anxious feelings being related to alcohol. Whether it be the next day hangover, the worries of the night before, or simply the use of alcohol as a crutch for any uneasy moments in life — let alone if I couldn’t have some ‘Dutch courage’ beforehand, for something like a job interview for instance.

What worked for me?

I made the decision to cut alcohol out of my life. No more booze — seems insane, I know right! Yet it’s the sanest thing I’ve ever done and it is probably what has been the most beneficial to me. It started as a Dry January and is now day 540. I use apps like Dry Days to help keep a total and a daily goal list. It also has tips and other people’s stories. I’ve never said it’s forever, small steps remember, nothing too overwhelming.

A screenshot of Craig's 'Dry Days' app where he has reached 540 days sober which has bettered his mental health. It also states that he's saved £9257 and saved drinking 3086 units.

What I’m getting at is that by identifying the negative aspects that affect your mental health things can infinitely change for the better! Take out the bad and replace it with something more meaningful — I’ve swapped all-night benders with an allotment and replaced bed ridden hangovers with seeing my friends more regularly. Make positive changes in your life and you will see positive results.

Something that always sticks in my head is an old Albert Einstein quote — “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”, and let’s face it, he knew what he was talking about.

Check out Craig’s previous ‘#MentalHealthAwareness: Tip 1 — Gratitude’ by clicking here.

Thumbnail illustration by Ahmet Iltas.

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