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The Mental Health Mistake Most People Make

There's a mental health mistake I used to make. And I still see a lot of people making it. In fact, i
The Mental Health Mistake Most People Make
There’s a mental health mistake I used to make.
And I still see a lot of people making it.
In fact, it’s not just related to mental health.
People make this mistake in all areas of their life.
The mental health mistake?
Complicating something that should be simple.
Let me show you what I mean with some examples.
Then, I’ll show you what you can do about it.

The Great Mental Health Mistake
This sticker is red, so it must be bad
This sticker is red, so it must be bad
There’s a strange thing that happens when people try to address an issue they don’t fully understand.
For example, is it necessary to implement a fancy diet and an exercise plan seven days a week when maybe you just need to get enough sleep?
It it crucial to download and implement 5 productivity apps when a simple to-do list would do the trick?
When problems loom over you, and the challenges in front of you seem insurmountable, there is a tendency to address the issue by adding complexity to the situation.
I bet if you think about this for a few seconds that you could come up with a few examples from your own life.
I, for one, was absolutely guilty of downloading tons of apps and researching all the latest and greatest tools and techniques to help me manage my time and get more done. What actually happened was that I spent all my time trying to set up all my apps and learn the latest productivity techniques–and very little time actually getting anything done. Terrific.
Enter the Mental Health Mistake
It’s tempting to want to handle your mental health in the same way that I tried to improve my productivity.
And I get it. Mental health is this daunting, dancing blob of a thing.
It seems so huge that there couldn’t be a way to manage it–let alone improve it, for crying out loud–by relying on your willpower and your own innate talent.
But it is a mistake to look at the complexity of mental health issues and then decide that it’s best to respond to that complexity with even more complexity.
Instead, you need simplicity. You need to get back to the fundamentals.
So what are the fundamentals when it comes to addressing the mental health mistake?
Fundamentals in life (The SSSH! Method)
I think the fundamental mental health actions you can take in life can be boiled down into four words:
Simple - A core activity that gets to the root of the issue
Singular - One, concrete action that you can take and repeat over time
Self-Sufficient - Something that actually can be continued, that is realistic and likely to get done time and time again.
High-Leverage - An action that truly moves the needle. For example, getting 8 hours of sleep, drinking a gallon of water a day, and meditating for 15 minutes a day are all high-leverage activities because they impact your entire day and dramatically influence the quality of the rest of the actions you take.
The next time someone tries to tell you that you need to complete a complicated 18-step plan to be happy, tell them to SSSH! and use the goofy acronym I just created to help you on your mental health journey!
Here are a few more examples for you to think about:
  • Maybe you don’t need to run 10 miles every single.
In fact, if you do, you’re probably going to end up doing damage to your legs in the long term, especially if your running form is less than ideal.
  • And maybe you don’t need to read about every topic under the sun (I was guilty of this as well).
Maybe, just maybe, you can learn the core concepts that relate to all areas of mental health instead. If you study the core principles and patterns that apply to mental health in general, you’ll probably be able to understand more than if you scraped the surface of 25 complex mental health diagnoses.
What Will You Do With This Information?
Start with a simple, clean slate
Start with a simple, clean slate
Now I turn this back over to you. Because information is only useful if you decide to use it to improve your own life.
Can you see the SSSH! method helping you out in your life?
Do any of the letters in the acronym especially stand out for you? If so, start with that one first, and then build up to using the entire framework.
Remember, our goal here is to decrease the complexity in your life, not enhance it. It’s better if you can use the entire framework when choosing your own actions, but don’t sweat it if you can’t.
It’s a tragic, mental health mistake to think that you need to approach the challenges of your life with a complicated solution that is impossible to implement and an absolute chore to maintain.
Your mental health needs simplicity.
It needs space to breathe.
Because, at the end of the day, there’s nothing as simple, powerful, and relaxing, as taking a nice, deep breath.

What do you think? Can you give this a try? I’d love to hear from you about if you’re going to try it or if you’ve already tried it.

Thanks for committing to this mental health journey with me,

P.S. Want more inspiration for your journey? My book is full of inspirational poems and essays about moving forward and finding meaning in the simple things life has to offer.
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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

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