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Your Mental Health Journey

It often chips or cracks when a ceramic cup is set down too hard on a counter or bangs against a coffee table. Even if it sustains damage over time, it can still maintain its ability to fulfill the universal function of a cup. However unaesthetic, the shattered pieces, cracks, or chips have yet to deter the cup from its purpose. Repairs have their limits, though; over time, once smooth to the touch, the cup becomes rough around some edges. The cup appears unaffected and unflawed from certain angles or at a glance. A closer look reveals to the holder that one must treat it with care and caution. The exerted unrelenting efforts to piece the cup together serve as reminders that broken does not mean useless but instead reflects a journey toward self-discovery and resilience over time.

This poem represents me as a unique self and many others experiencing a life full of frustrations and challenging times. There will be times when obstacles arise, which may lead to feelings of disappointment. Therefore, it is essential to acknowledge that recovery and progress are not linear and are part of life. A setback can be an opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. The next time you experience a challenge, try these strategies to help you manage your mental health journey:

1. Normalize setbacks – It can be difficult to acknowledge what might happen during a setback, and anxiety can set in. It can be helpful to say statements to yourself, such as “Setbacks are a normal part of life” and “I have had setbacks before and recovered before.”

2. Reframe your thoughts – Setbacks can trigger negative thoughts that make you feel worse and can lead to hopelessness. A way to counteract negative thoughts is to think flexibly. Re-evaluate the situation, or consider the confirmation for and against the thought.

3. Stick to your routine – You may avoid normal activities if you experience a setback. Avoidance can make you feel worse as you will have more time to dwell and fewer enjoyable opportunities. As hard as it can be, maintaining your daily routine can help you work through the setback. Engage in activities you enjoy to help increase your mood or make time for self-care and relaxation.

4. Be proactive – You may feel helpless during a setback. Remind yourself of the techniques that you have found helpful in the past. Write a list of your preferred and most effective coping strategies (e.g., seeking support, journaling, deep breathing, mindfulness, physical exercise), and refer to it for the next setback.

Hello, I am Dr. My Nguyen, and given my former background in corporate, I am passionate about working with individuals in life transitions. These include but are not limited to moving to a different city, starting a new job or career, beginning or ending a relationship, dealing with losing a loved one, or experiencing a new phase of life in some other form. Your can learn more about me by visiting my therapist page here.

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