Mental Health Month reminds us to be tolerant and accepting of each other’s idiosyncrasies as well as support generously those suffering with painful emotional syndromes such as anxiety and depression. It reminds us to become more educated about psychological disorders so that we are aware of those who need us to back them up and give their lives more meaning

Affirming Those with Emotional Pain

It’s equally important to not brand people by their disorders but notice how their plights might help others. The obsessive list maker may make your household run more smoothly so everyone has more time to get to their pleasures. The anxious worrier may make sure others feel secure and protected. You may pick up from the workaholic how to search for your passion and use vigor and persistence to become an expert in something you never knew you could be. In other words, tell those who demean themselves with their emotional strife how you benefit from their traits. This may not only lift their spirits, it may change their perspective on what ails them.

What I’m suggesting is that many people who suffer with emotional strife also offer those more fortunate some pluses to express gratitude for affirming their value and raising their self-esteem. Those who are overcome with stress may need to hear a different perspective on their personal traits that encourage them and pull them out of some rigid attitudes that are restricting their lives.

Learning How to Adapt by Self-Reflecting

If indeed, you are overcome with emotions that constrain and confuse you, try to be open minded about yourself by finding your motivations and then just modifying the means to your goals. You are probably overthinking things in an effort to master them: a positive proactive strength that’s just gone a bit too far. Your compulsions may be an effort to reduce anxiety, a worthy motivation that just seems to backfire when it prevents you from fulfilling your potential. If your personality seems to rub people the wrong way, step back and quietly reflect on which traits are a bother to people, so that you are motivated to modify them and gain more pleasure in your social encounters.

Mental Health Month needs to be a reminder of signs of emotional well-being, not only a source of devaluing ourselves and others with what’s run amuck. Think about the potential you have for mastering something you’ve tried before that excites you but just requires more effort in a consistent way. You may discover you are more effective than you give yourself credit for. This is very gratifying.

Remembering to Reach Out to Others to Support You

If you feel lost, have reached a dead end, can’t motivate yourself so you can thrive as you dream of, look to others who seem to be on the road to new discoveries and interests. You needn’t be a social butterfly to seek support from one other person who seems to have it a bit more together than you do at this time in your life. Just talking to that person who is thriving a bit more than you, can instill you with hope and you may take on a new perspective about yourself. Don’t wait in desperation alone for others to reach out to you, just find one other person to learn from.

Recall Your Potential

When your life seems to be filled with doom and gloom, take a deep breath and remember the potential you have locked away inside of you. Just daydreaming about using that potential is a step into the light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t have to do anything specific at first; just imagine, fantasize, create a picture in your mind of some aspiration. Then stop thinking about it and you may find that when your mind is offline, so to speak, you are in fact doing something a little differently that’s taking you up a new path to self-discovery and eventually a feeling of effectiveness. Lo and behold you begin to feel that ounce of gratification that’s been waiting to be fulfilled.

Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior and two upcoming books to be released July 1: The Parent’s Guide to Managing Anxiety in Children and Teens: The Parental Intelligence Way and The Parent’s Guide to Managing Anger in Children and Teens: The Parental Intelligence Way. Visit her website for more guidance: