Coaching for mental health and well-being
A fourteen-year-old child who needs help with her mental health was one of the very early clients I had the chance to coach. Even though I was nervous, coaching helped her make friends, focus on what she loved instead of what her folks wanted her to do, and get over being alone.
After that, I found out that every two out of the five coaching clients had different levels of mental health issues and needed to change the way they thought. This made me learn more about mental health and wellness as a coach.
Mental health mostly refers to the health of our brains and our emotional stability. Mental wellness, on the other hand, is a more general term that includes all the things that make us feel good about how we’re doing in general.
Mental health problems have gotten worse around the world, and COVID-19 has made them even worse. According to a recent study from Deloitte, 15% of the global mental health burden is due to the high number of mental illnesses in India. There are big differences in how people are treated for mental illnesses, mostly because of the stigma that still surrounds them.
Therapy is the gold standard for mental health treatment. Sometimes therapy is unavailable, or we hesitate to approach because of location, finances, or social stigma attached to it. Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your mental health without the above concern.
Self-healing is one technique any individual can use in the early stages when symptoms occur. It’s not replacing traditional therapy with a professional, but it can supplement your mental health efforts. When you don’t have immediate access to therapy, this self-help strategy is best advocated for those with moderate symptoms that don’t affect their daily tasks.
Journaling: Write down your thoughts and feelings, and reflecting on them can help you identify negative thoughts and behavior patterns. Once you’re aware, you can take meaningful steps toward making changes.
Stay connected to others: Connect with people experiencing similar things. Studies show that connecting to others can provide a sense of meaning and purpose and decrease loneliness. Group therapy or support groups are typically led by a mental health professional or group leader and can be low-cost or free. Whether it be friends, family, or strangers, sharing your feelings and experiences is essential.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation: Mindfulness Meditation helps you become more attuned to what you’re feeling and thinking, which allows you to manage your thoughts and emotions more effectively rather than becoming overwhelmed by them. Mindfulness can help you manage symptoms of anxiety and other mental health disorders by helping you understand and cope with what you’re feeling. Studies show that meditation can help reduce stress, alleviate symptoms of depression or anxiety, and help you sleep.
Few other practical tips to improve your mental health without therapy are exercise, go outside and soak up in the sun, prioritize your sleep, take a step back from social media, improve social skills, exhibit Gratitude, good Nutrition, & set small achievable goals.
Coaches need to know the difference between mental health problems that aren’t clinical and those that are. Having this knowledge gives the coaches the ability to work in a variety of mental health coaching settings.
In brief, mental health coaches facilitate inner communication with the intention of fostering self-integration and the process of recovery. Over time, external communication (with others) originates from a more genuine and harmonious position.
I greatly benefited from the Institute of Coaching’s mental health literacy program for coaches in cooperation with Mc Clean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate. I learned that coaches may help clients early in symptoms and work alongside therapy.
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