Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It is time for an Emotional Health Check-Up!

Do you need an Emotional-Health Check-Up?

Medical and dental offices always are reminding you that it is time for your annual check-up whether that is your annual physical, annual mammogram, annual Pap smear, prostate, or colonoscopy. Medical doctors see a need to snoop around in your body and make sure that those things we cannot see with our naked eye are still in proper and healthy working order. Dentists do the same thing. For people like me that hate to floss, dentists want me to clean my teeth with a hygienist every three months. My accountant wants to take an annual look at my taxes and if I had a financial advisor he/she would want to sit down with me once a year, and my attorney wants to make sure my will is up to date.

So, what about your mental health? What if we changed the term from mental health to emotional health? Is the word emotional health, more palatable to you? Or have you been raised to believe that the only way to be in life is stoic, non-emotional. Or, do you think if you use a coach or psychotherapist that you are weak? Why is it shameful to make an appointment get an annual “how’s my life” check-up? It usually feels better to talk about what is going on in your life, what hurts, what is working, what you want to make different this year? Why is that you have to wait until the emotional hurt is a full blown bleed that needs a triple by-pass on your anxiety, depression, and adjustment scales before you take better care of yourself?

I would like to offer you a different way of looking at your mental health. I would like you to take a moment and challenge your thinking. If you are wondering if this is all there is or if you are wishing that life were just a bit more interesting, then perhaps you are settling for the status quo of the day-to-day humdrum. When one day of humdrum leads to another day of humdrum then you are likely to become humdrum yourself. Who wants to humdrum? However if the word dynamic or vibrant just do not appeal to you perhaps you are more than humdrum, perhaps you are depressed. Who does not want to vibrant, to squeeze every positive moment and encounter out of life that they can?

There are several ways to think about your emotional well –being. Here is a checklist of five. If you check three out of five it might be time for you to call a psychotherapist, coach, or psychologists and see what is happening beneath your happiness bar.

1. Do you worry about the things that you have no control over? For instance, do you worry about “what-if” I am laid off from my job rather than having a plan B in case you do?

2. Are you more argumentative or negative than usual?

3. Are you more indecisive than usual, even down to where you can’t decide to what to wear or eat?

4. Do you find yourself daydreaming about what you wish your life were like?

5. Do you feel a sense of loneliness and dissatisfaction?

If you find these questions thought provoking, perhaps it is time to call me or someone else, sit down and have a discussion with them about what is going on with your life. Also, there are various psychological tests available to help you and your therapist figure out what might be percolating underneath the surface. Sometimes, emotional health determinates so slowly we don’t even notice that our life is changing negatively. Testing is a good way to obtain a fair and objective read about what is going on with you.

My challenge is that you make your emotional health a priority on a day –to- day basis. You count.

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