We always talk about mental health, but maybe it’s time to reframe the way we think of this topic. ‘Mental Healing’ may be a more fitting way to capture the notion of caring for your psychological and emotional wellbeing — which is an active and reflective journey.

Mental health implies that there is some standard for what it means to be healthy, when in reality that looks different for everyone. Mental healing shows the truth: we all have work to do and wounds to heal, even the ‘healthiest’ of us all.

Mental Healing is Non-linear

Mental healing is also non-linear — there is no straight path to wellness. In fact, we often must go backward before we can move forward.

If it ever feels like you’re taking two steps back for every step forward, remember that life is a winding road, and that all the twists, turns, and uphill battles are painting the beautiful picture of your life. More often than not, we can’t see this big picture, so it’s easy to feel turned around.

When your healing journey is feeling particularly non-linear, just try to keep in mind that it’s all part of the process.

Healing Starts With Feeling:

Amidst the pressures of modern society, it can feel like there’s no room for our emotions to be felt as deeply as they’d like to be felt. But, repressing emotions or brushing them off can backfire. The ‘out of sight out of mind’ approach may work for a time, but eventually those un-confronted feelings will start to bubble up in various areas of your life — from work, to relationships, and everything in between.

Creating space for your emotions to be truly felt, without judgement, is an important and ongoing part of the mental healing process. 

Here are some ideas to welcome your feelings:

Embrace Your Emotions

Embracing your emotions means accepting your experience without judgement. When our feelings are not being welcomed, either by ourselves or others, that can be the root cause of a lot of problems.

When other’s are actively shrugging off your emotions, that could look like gas-lighting, belittling, ignoring, or over-advising.

Emotions don’t necessarily follow logic so they don’t always have to be justified by the circumstances. Sometimes, we just feel the way we feel without really knowing why, and that’s ok. Embracing your emotions means holding respect for them, regardless of where they come from.

The process of welcoming emotions provides a stable foundation for us to process and resolve the various challenges we face in life and on a daily basis — so mental healing is not really possible without this component.

Forgiveness Facilitates Peace

Forgiveness is perhaps one of the hardest, but most necessary steps in the mental healing journey. Forgiving yourself as well as others helps to unburden your mind, body, and spirit. Forgiveness is liberating. It allows us to lighten our load, lead with love, and be at peace. 

When faced with the challenge of forgiveness, big or small, we are provided unique opportunities for growth. Being the bigger person is not always easy, but in doing so we can better ourselves and inspire others to do the same.

Looking Back to Move Forward

Just like when driving a car, looking back in the rearview mirror helps inform us on how to navigate the path ahead. Reflecting on where we’ve been can help us identify the areas of ourselves and our lives that need to be healed.

Mental healing is active and forward-oriented, but it is also equally retroactive. Reflection is a necessary tool in the healing process, which can also be complemented by visualization.

When you reflect and identify challenges, successes, and everything in between, you can then use that information to inform a brighter future. Try to paint a detailed mental image of where you’d like to be in a month, a year, or five years. Consider what steps you can take to get there based on what steps have worked or not worked for you in the past.

At the end of the day, trust the process. It may sound confusing, but try to strike a balance between doing the work while not overthinking it.

Consistency is Key to Mental Healing and Personal Growth

When the sun is shining and we’re feeling uplifted by its warmth, it’s a great opportunity to continue the good work we’re doing on ourselves. 

Self-work is often even more productive when we’re feeling our best, as we’re able to bring a clear state of mind and our best selves to the table. Summer fun shouldn’t stand in the way of maintaining your self-care routines.

On the flip side, it’s also easy to give up on therapy when we’re feeling our worst. When nothing seems to be going our way, we may just want to throw in the towel, but it’s important to remember that we also do good work when we’re in the midst of crisis. Dealing with issues as they arise can be extremely helpful in building positive coping mechanisms. 

In short, consistency is the key to personal growth. Life is full of ups and downs, but if we let each wave carry us away then we wouldn’t make it very far in navigating towards our goals.