Understanding your mental health can help you learn to accept yourself as you are

Amy Gerreyn

Photo byAmy Gerreyn

Did you know, that understanding your mental health is as important as remembering to drink water and eat food every day? Mental health is one of the big pillars of your overall health, and learning how to embrace your flaws and understand your emotions and choices will lead to self-acceptance and improve your mental health.

In this article, you will learn how to gain insight into your mental health and improve your self-acceptance, after all, no one does you better than you do. You will learn different methods for understanding your mental health, such as identifying and managing your negative thoughts, recognizing your triggers, and developing healthy coping strategies. With this knowledge and understanding, you can begin to cultivate self-acceptance and make positive changes in your life.

Identifying and Managing Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts can have a powerful impact on your mental health, influencing your moods and behaviour. Learning to recognize and manage these thoughts is an important step in maintaining a healthy mindset and decreasing how many bad mental health days you are likely to have.


The first step in managing our negative thoughts is to become aware of them. Negative thoughts are a part of our lives, we are so used to thinking negatively that most people don't even realise a positive thought actually is.

A good indication of whether a thought is positive or negative is to understand how you feel during a thought. Does thinking "that chocolate cake looks so good" make you feel excited or upset? If it makes you feel excited, chances are it is a positive thought, but if you feel guilty or upset, chances are you look at the cake as something to fear or regret. Something so simple can be turned into a negative thought.

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What are negative thought examples?

Some more examples of what could be a negative thought are:

  • I really need to lose all this extra weight
  • I look huge in every outfit
  • Everyone in my life thinks I'm worthless
  • I don't deserve to be alive
  • I can't stand the job I'm in
  • I really dislike broccoli, but I have to eat it in my diet
  • That girl looks huge in those jeans, what makes her think that is appropriate to wear?

Now some of those examples are an example of depressive thoughts, some self-deprecating, and one is pure gossip. None of the above examples is going to lead to a happy, healthy life full of self-acceptance and good mental health.

Manage through challenge

Once we recognize a negative thought, we can challenge it in order to gain a more balanced perspective. By questioning the reasons behind why our thoughts are negative, we can gain a more objective view of the situation and can begin to replace our negative thoughts with more positive and constructive ones.

Take your negative thought and turn it positive

As an example, let's use one of the above negative thoughts. I really need to lose all this extra weight. Let's look at why you are thinking that. Society has taught women that they have no value to the world unless they are a size 4 or 8 depending on where you are in the world. We learn this from a young age and carry it through to our adult lives.

Now, let's unpack this thought. Why are we thinking this? Because we see our "value" on the scale, and it reads "You are too overweight to be considered valuable". Well, that just isn't true, and deep down, you probably know it too, you have already started to break down the system in your own mind. So, I want you to now think about why the value on that scale or the number on the clothes you wear matters so much.

Then, we are going to change the way we talk to ourselves. Instead of I really need to lose all this extra weight, let's try I am perfect the way I am, I don't NEED to lose weight for anyone else. Or, I want to be fit and strong, which may mean I lose weight, but I am not aiming to fit into any other person's idea of perfect weight.

Mindfulness can help with negative thought patterns

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. Mindfulness is not clearing our mind and thinking of a black abyss, but rather focusing on what we can control that very minute. When we become aware of our thoughts, we can choose to focus on the present rather than getting stuck in our negative thought patterns.

Mindfulness can also help us recognize our emotions and better understand why we are feeling certain emotions. By increasing our emotional awareness, we can better manage our thoughts and reactions.

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Recognizing and Understanding Our Triggers

In order to better understand our mental health, it is important to recognize our triggers and the situations that can cause negative emotions that lead to bad mental health days. Triggers can be anything from negative people you don't like, situations that cause you to get upset or places that have bad memories.

Recognize your triggers

By becoming aware of your triggers, you can better prepare yourself to manage your negative emotions. When you start to recognise what are your triggers, you will also learn what is likely to trigger you in the future and what emotions will come with it. It will then be easier to avoid the situation that causes the negative emotion, thus avoiding your triggers.

Identify emotions

We can then begin to identify patterns and gain a better understanding of our thoughts and emotions. Once we understand the cause of our triggers, we can understand why we are feeling a certain way and forgive our bad moods when we encounter a trigger. We can also learn how to cope with these emotions when the situation arises.

Be kind to yourself

We can also practice self-compassion when we recognize our triggers. It is important to be gentle with ourselves and recognize that our reactions are valid and deserve our understanding and care. We can also practice self-care activities such as journaling, meditation, or talking to a trusted friend or family member to help us manage our triggers.

Developing Healthy Coping Strategies

In order to better understand our mental health and improve our self-acceptance, it is important to develop healthy coping strategies. Coping strategies are activities or techniques that can help us manage our thoughts and emotions in a positive way.

Some examples of coping strategies include deep breathing exercises, writing, listening to music, engaging in physical activity, or talking to a trusted friend or family member.

It is important to find coping strategies that work for you, everyone will find something that works well for them, and it won't be the exact same method for other people.

Finding the right strategy for you can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and can help you develop a better understanding of your mental health. We can also use our coping strategies to help us manage our triggers in a healthier way.

Why do you need to develop coping strategies?

Developing healthy coping strategies can also help us build resilience and self-esteem. It can give us the strength to face difficult emotions and situations and to manage our mental health in a more positive way.

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Exploring Different Mental Health Resources

In addition to developing healthy coping strategies, it is important to explore different mental health resources that can help you better understand your mental health. There are many resources you can find both online and offline that can provide valuable information and guidance for you.

What are some online resources

Online resources such as blogs like this one, forums, and websites can provide helpful information and advice on mental health topics. We can also explore mental health apps and tools that can provide us with personalized information and support.

What are some offline resources

Offline resources such as books, magazines, and support groups can also be helpful in understanding our mental health. Another good resource is a therapist or community support counsellor.

Exploring different mental health resources can help us gain insight into our mental health and can provide us with valuable guidance and support. It can also help us develop a better understanding of our thoughts and emotions and can help us recognize patterns in our behaviour.

Understanding the Link Between Mental Health and Physical Health

It is important to understand the link between mental health and physical health, and how they impact each other. Understanding this link can help us make better choices for our physical and mental health.

How to change poor mental health through self-care

It is important to recognize the signs of poor mental health and to take steps to address them. We can practice self-care activities such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy, engaging in physical activity, and spending time with loved ones.

These activities can help us manage our mental health and can improve our physical health through movement (physical activity), nutrition (eating healthy) and social (spending time with loved ones).

How does physical health impact mental health?

When you go for a walk or do a form of exercise, endorphins are released into your body and improve your mood. This is often why we are encouraged to leave the house and go for a walk when we are feeling down.

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Seeking Professional Support for Mental Health Issues

In some cases, it may be necessary to seek professional support for your mental health. If you are struggling to manage your mental health through self-care, positive talk or other methods listed in this post, I encourage you to seek help through a specialist or counsellor.

What can they do differently?

Mental health professionals can provide us with valuable guidance and support. They can help us identify and manage our mental health issues and can provide us with personalized advice and resources, after all, they do this job day-in-day-out and have don many years study in how the human brain and emotions work.

It is important to remember that seeking professional support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Professional help can be an invaluable resource in understanding our mental health and improving our self-acceptance.

But I am going to be judged by other people

Think about it this way, is it better to be on top of your mental health and be happy? Or be sad and lonely all because you felt like it wasn't cool or normal to talk about your emotions and situation to someone versed in helping people in similar situations.

Self-Care Practices for Improving Mental Health

In addition to seeking professional help, we can practice self-care activities to improve our mental health. Self-care activities can include anything from taking time to relax and unwind to engaging in physical activity. These activities can help us manage our mental health and can help us gain a better understanding of our thoughts and emotions.

We can also practice mindfulness and meditation to help us become aware of our thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. Meditation can help us calm our minds and can help us gain a better understanding of our mental health.

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Building Self-Esteem and Learning to Love Who You Are

In order to improve our self-acceptance, it is important to build our self-esteem and learn to love who we are, the way we are. We can do this by practising self-compassion and recognizing our strengths and weaknesses. We can also practice positive affirmations to help us build our self-esteem and to remind ourselves of our worth.

What happens on a bad mental health day

When we have a bad mental health day, these small tasks can feel like a mountain you just can't climb. Getting out of bed may be so hard that taking a shower is impossible. Thinking positive affirmations may just be too challenging.

When these days happen, focus on the things you are doing. Did you get out of bed to go to work? Did you manage to pack yourself lunch? Did you make it all the way through the day at work, even if it was a bad workday? Focus on what you did manage, and be kind to yourself with what you couldn't do.

Good days

Then on your good days, you can focus on propelling yourself forward. Turn those negative thoughts into positive thoughts with negative thought placements. Have a nice warm shower in the morning. Go for your daily walk. Meal prep for your week. On your good days, focus on self-care tasks that will help you accept yourself more.

We can also practice self-care activities such as journaling, taking regular breaks, and engaging in activities that we enjoy. These activities can help us gain perspective and can help us become more aware of our thoughts and emotions.

Whatever you do, don't give up.

Understanding your mental health and improving your self-acceptance can be a difficult process, but with the right guidance and understanding, you can learn to embrace yourself and live a happy life. The path to self-acceptance is a long one, with lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, but it is so worth the journey when you reach your happy place.

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*This post is a copy of the original blog post found here

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A blogger experienced in self-love, self-confidence and mental health. My articles bring tips and tricks to truly accept yourself, help others love themselves and how to cope when other people are dealing with mental health issues.


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