Do you know how you feel right now? Most people do. But, do you remember how you felt a couple of hours ago?
How about a couple of days ago?
Most people don't remember how they feel unless they feel an extreme emotion. But, it's the subtle ones that change over time that can dictate how our mental health affects the rest of our lives.
How do you feel regularly? Happy? Content?
Why You Should Take Stock of Your Mental Health
Knowing how you feel can prevent problems later on. Unfortunately, many people who have fallen into depression never realized it until somebody pointed it out.
And it wasn't that they were ignoring the issue, but the moment to moment awareness of their emotions simply registered as a passing mood. People expected to feel better, but the expectations didn't turn into reality.
When you do a check-in, you consciously determine how you feel and what your body and mind are doing. You make a note of your emotions and that helps you remember.
Most people feel content with varying degrees of happiness and sadness. For most, the good outweighs the bad.
When people start slipping into a depressive state, the bad starts to outweigh the good. Or anxiety begins to take over.
Recognizing this trend can help you recognize your state of mind and change the course of your thought patterns.
Depression and anxiety can be treated with gentle and effective methods when caught early, and the right treatment can stop problems before they start.
How Can You Keep Track Of How You Feel?
It's probably a little overwhelming to think about keeping track of your mental health. It can seem like a monumental task.
Take a breath and pause. It doesn't need to be a big task or something you have to do in detail. It can be straightforward, taking a few seconds to make a note.
There's even plenty of tools to help you do this quickly and easily. We're going to go over some of them now.
The first and easiest is to keep a journal. Have some place organized where you can keep your thoughts and observations of how you feel.
This can be an old-fashioned notebook or computer file. Take just a few moments to jot down your current mood and anything particularly exciting, depressive, or stressful during the day. It works best to write something every day, and we'll go over why and just a minute.
If you want to go on more tech route, apps are another fabulous tool. We have a whole article on mental health apps here, including some of the best ones for keeping track of your moods.
Many of these will have you enter how you're feeling at different times during the day and any stressors. Some of these will help you notice a trend or events that bring you down or lift you up. And it's this review that's important.
Reviewing the Data
All of the journaling and recording isn't productive until you go back and look at what you've recorded.
Once a month, set aside a bit of time to do a check-in. Look back over your notes and see if you discover a common theme.
- How were most of your days?
- Do you find any particular triggers stressful or depressing?
- Do you have more good days than bad? Or is it the other way around?
- Does anything concern you now that you're looking back?
Once you look at how you feel, you can decide if the way you feel is good or you need a little help.
What To Do If You See Your Mental Health Isn't Where You Want It
Just because you have a poor couple of days or a poor month doesn't mean you are depressed. But, if it persists, you may want to consider seeking help.
That help might not be medication, it could be a friend, pastor, a life coach, or a doctor to simply talk about things. When you catch things early, more natural methods can be used to help get you back to where you want to be.
Some herbal supplements like St John's Wort can be incredibly effective during mild bouts of depression. Other supplements like huperzine are incredibly effective for anxiety.
The big key is checking in with yourself and catching things early. Waiting can bring fatigue and more problems. It can be harder to do things more naturally the longer persists.
Checking in can also bring you comfort by letting you recognize tasks, activities, and people that truly bring you joy. Cultivating joy can lead to a more fulfilling life. Doing the monthly mental health check-ins can be your place to start to help bring yourself more peace and joy.