Our society would be enhanced greatly if people were encouraged to care for their mental health in similar ways. Going for your annual physical in March? Why not add on a visit to a mental health professional? Counseling is not always a long-term commitment over many months. Sometimes clients can have a valuable experience in as few as three sessions - or even one. A single, comprehensive mental health assessment can be a very beneficial experience when it comes to monitoring our overall wellbeing.
So, the next time you experience problematic physical symptoms and are waiting on your medical appointment, ask yourself these simple questions:
1. What are my stress levels like? Has anything changed in my life over the last year that has me pre-occupied?
2. How would I rate my overall mood? Am I experiencing bluer periods than usual, difficulty sleeping or changes in appetite?
3. What are my social interactions like? Do I get out with friends and family, or have I become socially isolated?
4. What am I worried about and what percent of my day do I spend worrying?
5. Have I become too reliant on an external phenomenon to "perk" me up? Alcohol, drugs, shopping, internet use?
These general questions can provide a glimpse into our mental health and can provide the impetus to seek out professional counseling, if needed. A therapist can help one better understand the answers to these questions and determine if a therapeutic intervention is warranted.
Just because our "vital" signs check out okay doesn't mean our emotional vitals are good, too. And if our "vital" signs are not okay, this could also be a sign that mental health counseling might help. Taking care of ourselves involves paying attention to the physical, spiritual AND emotional. Add it to that annual "To Do" list!
Be kind to yourselves and to each other.
© Copyright 2017 Douglas Layer, M.A., LPCC