Elevate yourself by exploring your thinking patterns. You may be in for a pleasant surprise as you may find hope in areas of despair or darkness.

You see the number on the weighing scales and frustrated, you want to throw away your diet plans. You know that this isn’t the best thing because of your health problems. On the rebound, you have a cupcake and telling yourself that you’ll try another diet in four weeks.

 Or maybe you and your partner have arguments regularly. You know this pattern has been present for many years, and you wish to separate because you don’t want to fight every day.

  Meanwhile, your eighteen-year-old has been struggling with anxiety since being bullied in middle school. This young person doesn’t have any friends and stays in their room when at home. Their grades are good, though, and they don’t do drugs.

At a cursory glance, these three vignettes don’t depict happiness or positivity. However, there are some nascent signs of hope and optimism.

  You plan to start your new diet but after a break. You show insight into your problems and know that you’ve to lose weight and increase your activities. You’ve already taken the first step towards your goal of having a healthy lifestyle by formulating a plan. But, as previously mentioned, you don’t lose hope or give up. What you need is to take the failure of your diet as an integral part of your lifestyle. Instead of eating the cupcake as a symbol of your diet failure, you can eat it to celebrate the adoption of your new lifestyle.

  As a couple, you’re still together. Keeping a log of your daily fights – intensity, frequency and theme – can help you to identify if your arguments are cyclical – in other words, about the same things over and over again. 

Once these issues which cause friction in your relationship are delineated, you can formulate a plan. You may realize that in your zeal for “perfection” in your relationship, you display ” an all or none” thinking pattern. Or on the other hand, you may discover that you and your partner have problems communicating due to your busy schedules.

  For your high-schooler, your concerns can be valid. Looking at their functioning, eating regularly, sleep pattern, and hygiene habits can be a starting point. Documenting the time of occurrence, intensity and duration of periods of irritability and outbursts may also help. Teenagers need time alone for self-reflection and to understand their individual needs. So, having a chat with your teen, for instance, when you drop them off at school, can help you to explore their feelings and thoughts. Since your child doesn’t have to take the school bus early in the morning, you will have them in a more amenable mood.

In closing, you’re hypervigilant means always looking for any aberrations in healthy behaviours that can lead to burnout. Exploring your thinking patterns may be a start for a healthier you -more options to resolve your ongoing issues, which at times can’t be ignored or minimized.

This article was published in The Telegraph Journal

Picture courtesy Unsplash; my thanks to photographer Marc-Olivier Jodoin