Identify Unhealthy Behavior Patterns for Your Mental Health
Tuesday, January 30 2018 Nancy Zacharakis
Unhealthy behavior patterns sneak up on all of us, especially if you have a mental illness. By using awareness and reflection to uncover your unhealthy behavior patterns, and then using your patterns to recover from mental illness, you'll amplify your recovery process. If you are not aware of your unhealthy behavior patterns and tendencies, if you are not aware of what triggers you to feel depressed, anxious or mentally ill in any way, then there is no way to recover from it.
Being conscious of your thoughts and feelings is key. You can then trace those back to their roots and know what is causing them. Maybe it’s a certain time of day, maybe it’s a particular person, maybe it’s an action you take or something you do daily that doesn’t cause you to feel well, there is most likely something that’s causing the unease, the unhappiness, the mental illness.
Examples of Using Unhealthy Behavior Patterns in Recovery
All of this talk about using your patterns to recover from mental illness is great only if you put it to use and take action. Very recently, I used this in my own life and in my own mental illness recovery and it has helped tremendously.
I noticed that the evenings are extremely triggering and lonely for me. I come home from work, I’m tired and hungry, and I end up binge eating. This spirals into not wanting to get up the next day for work, feeling depressed, ashamed and unworthy and my mental illness rears its ugly head.
So now that I understand this is an unhealthy behavior pattern and triggering time for me, I put practices in place to protect myself from those feelings. I make plans after work and I set up a game plan for what I’m going to do when I get home from work so I feel really supported and excited to spend time alone.
Find Your Unhealthy Behavior Patterns
The best way to find the unhealthy behavior patterns of your mental illness is to be very aware of your feelings, your thoughts and when they occur. When does your mental illness seem to be the worst? Is it around certain people? Is it around a certain time of day?
If you really can’t seem to find an unhealthy behavior pattern, bring a journal or use the notepad on your phone to write down when you’re feeling certain ways and then look back on it to notice if there are any underlying threads of similarity. The key is to not be focused on your mental illness and identify with it but to be aware and informed concerning its details.