Triggers for Poor Mental Health
Eliminating Mental Health Issues – Part 2
More often than not stress, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and depression come in cycles. These cycles have triggers that begin the cycle. Our goal is to eliminate the triggers so that the cycles don’t have an opportunity to get started and produce the mental health challenges that we see.
Keep in mind that these triggers are also known as stressors. Stressors are the things that create stress and challenges in our lives if not circumvented. When our mental health challenges go unchecked, they lead to other issues that can not only impact us mentally but physically.
Here’s one of the most important keys or takeaways that we have. Identity and put a stop to the triggers that begin our poor mental health cycles. You see, the things that get us off course can be seen as elusive. What I mean by that is the triggers are different for every single person. What triggers stress, anxiety, and panic in your life is not the same that produces it in my life. Therefore, you must find a way to identify your triggers so that you can find a way to put a stop to it, reduce it, or eliminate it. That’s the goal.
Once you do that, you can live a life that is free from your mental challenges and have improved mental health. I have five examples I would like to share with you that expose how you can deal with the stressors and the triggers that produce the mental issues in your life. This is in no way an all-inclusive listed list. A complete list is too exhaustive to display here because frankly, I don’t know all the triggers that can challenge a person. Again, your triggers are different than my triggers, and your triggers are different than the triggers of the person next to you. Keep this in mind. Now let’s get into the five areas that I know are common and are impacted by mental challenges in a person’s life that will be helpful to you.
There are actions that trigger a cycle in people that result in a person having a bad attitude.
I am sure you have heard it said that a person got up on the wrong side of the bed. What does that phrase actually mean? It means in the morning this person has a bad attitude. The truth is it is not the morning, but there is a trigger that occurs most mornings that starts the process that leads to a person having a bad attitude. That is a stressor. Maybe it is the way she or he gets up or even goes to bed. It might be what they must face each morning or how they face the day. Those are challenges that are mental.
The key to such challenges is in how one keeps this from happening. Unfortunately, most people live with the fact that I am just not a morning person. Well, you do not have to live that way.
I had to come up with my own solution to not being a morning person. I realized that in the morning I need time to myself first before interacting with others. As a result, I must get up a couple hours earlier to ensure I get this much needed time to myself. In rising early, I have a morning routine that helps me not only prepare for my day but prepare me mentally for the day. In this way, I reduce and often eliminate this mental health challenge that I would normally deal with each morning.
Incomplete Task Triggers…
Incomplete tasks can be a trigger for the cycle of anxiety and feelings of failure.
Sometimes when we have the best intentions of accomplishing a task, we feel bad about not completing the task at hand. This occurs because we do not have a way or progress in place that ensures we get tasks done. This cycle can get kick started even if the task is something simple. Here’s an example. I used to beat myself up over my daily Bible reading plan. I would get behind on the plan and it would start that cycle. It was frustrating and produced unnecessary mental challenges until I figured out how to eliminate this so-called failure and feeling.
I had to put something in place. I decided to make reading my Bible a prerequisite to eating. So, when I get ready to eat I must read first. This discipline ensures that I read and depending on how hungry I will get to it quickly. In other words, do whatever is necessary to eliminate the mental fatigue you experience from an identified trigger.
Worry is a trigger for more worries.
You might not realize this, but once you begin to worry, one’s worries take on a life of their own. While everyone worries to some degree, allowing worry to rule you and create mental health issues such as being paralyzed from acting is a problem. Being that worry should be in a category of its own, worry is a trigger itself and can be eliminated if you put some things in place.
For example, the bills that arrive in your mailbox can begin this cycle of worry for you. As you may have experienced, our finances make us worried that we cannot pay our bills for whatever reason. If you already know this triggers a cycle of worry for you, then you need a process to eliminate this pattern. You should never go through life with those same pressures when you can easily identify them. You are smart enough and capable enough to create a plan that can reduce and eliminate this cycle from occurring. Maybe it means you figure out how to pay your expenses in advance. Or maybe you simply need to go paperless. There are ways you can do this.
Remember I mentioned that worry is a trigger in and of itself. When you find yourself worrying, you should exchange your worry with prayer.  When you don’t keep your worries from escalating, worry compounds. It builds and builds until it becomes something more. Therefore, we must put a stop to worry and eliminate it one way or another.
Work gives one the greatest opportunities to trigger a cycle for mental health challenges.
People are known to experience depression, worry, anxiety, and even panic attacks because of work. Oh, and don’t forget stress. Just the word “evaluation” triggers something inside of most. If this is, you and trust me I’ve been there or else I wouldn’t be writing this. Evaluations were a problem for me until I realized I didn’t have to be the victim but rather I alone could impact the outcome of my eval. Once I realized this, I put a plan in place to make certain that the evaluation process would trigger for me that would impact my mental health negatively.
While we are here, let me provide just a few actions I put in place to accomplish this one.
- Make the person who performs your evaluation your single priority.
If you want to be successful, you have but only one person to please or Pamela, I like to say it this way, to serve. Take care of the needs of this person first.
- Use your calendar for more than just meetings.
Let your calendar be a tool for you to get things done. Set appointments to work on tasks, projects, emails, reminders, everything can possibly use it for.
- Don’t rely on your memory.
Use your digital and even analog tools for what they are good for. Use your calendar, task management systems, email (set emails for future dates) and anything else you can use to get it out of your head.
- Create templates.
For the things you do repeatedly, such as evaluations, create a template to make your life easy for the next time we must perform a repetitive task.
- Use your tools.
You are a professional at whatever it is that you do, then act like one. Use the tools at your disposal to make your job (your life) easier.
We must use everything we have at our disposal to protect our mental health.
Public Speaking Triggers…
Speaking in front of others is one of the most common triggers for mental health challenges like stress, panic, and anxiety.
Speaking in public or before others can bring a set of mental issues. It can bring apprehension which leads to stress, anxiety that leads to worry, and fear that leads to panic. With technological advancements like video conferencing (i.e. Zoom) and video telephony (i.e. FaceTime), the potential and exposure for these mental health impacts are at an all-time high. A person could easily, and most do, convince themselves that they are not good at these face-to-face interactions.
However, for those who decide to change their self-talk, a person can do something about it. Here are three ideas that come to mind.
1 – Prepare for your face-to-face calls. What I mean by this is to have an outline for what you would like to say or convey. I watch Joel Osteen minister often and take notice of how he scripts his messages unlike other ministers. Using this technique his delivery is more polished from human consumption of his content.
2 – Practice or rehearse what you will say. You’ve heard the phrase “you play like you practice.” You may have to practice. The more you do it, the better you get. It might be helpful to speak in front of a smaller group, even build your own group. At any rate, find a way to sharpen this skill so that when you face it, you are prepared.
3 – Use your help. Get someone to help you. Have a partner, someone who partners with you, and someone who can provide the feedback you need to get better. Find someone who is better than you at speaking in public and allow them to mentor you.
Using ideas like this, one can reduce and even eliminate the negative mental health triggers that have the potential to start the cycle.
The goal is to eliminate as many stressors as we can so that stress, anxiety, depression, and any other mental health challenges do not occur as often. It is hard to eliminate everything if you cannot identify the root cause to begin with. It is even harder to identify one’s stressors when you are inundated and overwhelmed by them. Therefore, the key takeaway is to look for those triggers that plague you and that begin the cycle for your mental health challenges in your life. Once you do, then and only then can you do something about it.
You are not a victim. You are a victor. That means you do not have to settle for living life the way you have always lived it. If you are willing to do life like you have never done it before, then you will have the results you have never had before. That’s the goal. That’s the plan. Let this content change how you do life so that you no longer fall prey to the mental challenges that normal people, ordinary people, average people, are plagued with day after day. This is your time. This is your moment to take your mental health to the next level and live a life like no one else.