Entering Recovery – When someone says you should take care of yourself many people feel like that would be a selfish move, but it is not selfish in any way. Taking care of yourself is a necessary part of life. This goes beyond basic care to physical health and mental well being. We tend to show favoritism of the body over the mind and while physical health is important, it is not the only aspect of ourselves that needs care. We spend thousands of dollars a year on health care products, good food, and the occasional treat, but little time is spent taking care of our mental needs. Maintaining our mental health is just as important as caring for our physical health.
Failure and rejection are mental injuries, but we tend to ignore them and they can get worse. When entering recovery we are often fraught with concerns of failure and rejection. This could be one of multiple attempts at recovery or simply a big step into the journey of recovery, but the concerns are often the same. These issues should be cared for just as you would a cold or the flu as they can cause damage as well. Another psychological concern is loneliness as it can cause further psychological damage if left unchecked. Now that you understand why emotional first aid and self care is important, let’s move on to how to take care of your psychological needs.
Keeping the mind healthy starts with paying attention to emotional pain and treating it before it becomes overwhelming. Redirecting gut reactions when you fail is a good start. Everyone fails or makes mistakes from time to time, but focusing on these failures can damage the psyche and create emotional turmoil. If you fail, try to correct the mistake and take another approach. If this approach also fails then change directions again until you get it right. Disrupting negative thoughts is another good move to improve mental health. As negative thoughts occur, take them captive and change your line of thinking. Many times if you can distract yourself from the negative thought you will avoid ruminating on things that can bring you down. If negative thoughts are left unchecked they can get out of control and lead to depression and possible relapse. Another idea to improve mental health is to not let excessive guilt and anger build. If something has you feeling guilty, admit it and apologize when possible. If nothing can be done to correct the action then it is simply a waste of time to obsess on the thought. This is also true of anger. If someone has hurt you or you are angry then calmly express that anger and hurt and try to find a solution. If no solution can be found then it is time to move on and let the anger go.
Entering Recovery – Since every individual is different it is important to learn what treatments work best for your emotional wounds. Some may benefit from talk therapy while others can learn to take care of themselves with practice. The thing to remember is that emotional first aid will keep the mind healthy just as first aid keeps the body healthy and both are equally important.
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