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Three ways in which passion can support our mental health #mhaw17

Yesterday, in acknowledgment of Mental Health Awareness Week, I looked to Maya Angelou when considering how we can survive instead of thrive. Over the rest of this week, I thought I would focus on the components of this wonderful quote, to consider how we enjoy a richer, more enjoyable life. Today, I'm considering how passion can help us thrive.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.
— Dr Maya Angelou

Passion gives us a sense of purpose

Generally, when we’re passionate about something, we find it easier to engage with the task. Cultivating passions, for activities, pastimes and hobbies, gives meaning to our days, when we are feeling low in motivation or energy.

Passion provides consistency

Passion is easy to turn into a habit; when we enjoy doing something, we want to do it more. Forming positive habits can help regulate our mental wellbeing by providing structure and routine to our time, which can be especially useful when we’re feeling mentally or emotionally ‘adrift’. Committing to our passion can be used as an anchor when we’re feeling lost, restless or low.

Passion provides an opportunity for mindfulness

Doing something we love allows us to really be in the moment. Anxiety, depression and stress often try to distract us from fully appreciating what it is that we are doing; doing something that we love improves the odds of us really committing to fully appreciating the task at hand. Studies have shown again and again how incorporating mindfulness into our lives help us to feel more satisfied and fulfilled.

A tip to harness your passion to improve your mental health

We all go through energy peaks and troughs during the day and, when our mental health is suffering and we’re feeling low or overwhelmed, it can be difficult to find the motivation or energy to do all the things we need to do. Consider keeping an ‘energy journal’ for a few weeks - make a note of times during the day when you had more energy and times when you had less, and look to see if any patterns form. Then write a list of ‘have to dos’, ‘hate to dos’ and ‘love to dos’, and try to arrange your day to work for you. Take advantage of peak energy times and try and pile all the ‘have to dos’ and ‘hate to dos’ into those times; your good energy levels will see you through tasks for which you don’t particularly care. And, in the times when your mood or energy level dips down, treat yourself to some ‘love to do’ task - harness your passion to give you an energy boost and lift your mood.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this post, and think that counselling would help, do please contact me. For more details, or to arrange a free initial consultation, call me on 07419 190930 or hello@concentriccounselling.com.