When we hear the terminology “glow up,” we generally attribute it to a physical transformation. Sometimes this involves cosmetic changes or a tweak to our makeup routine; other times, it’s taking a look at two periods of our lives where we experienced a physical change. Perhaps it’s time we consider an alternative to this type of glow-up, one that encompasses more than just our physical beings and factors in another important area of our lives that help create a balance within our mental and emotional selves.
Our internal thoughts and feelings have an undeniable role in our physical health and vice versa. Our body works in conjunction with one another to find the perfect balance, but it’s not always easy to maintain, especially if one part is off-kilter. More often than not, our mental and emotional health can fall to the wayside, as they’re not always prioritized as a nécessité as they should be. This year, it’s time we consider a mental glow-up so we can make changes for the greater good of our mental health; to live a happier life through self-improvement where it matters most.
How do we get there, though?
Acknowledging your emotions
How can you make a change if you can’t visualize and understand what shift you’re looking to make in your life? Acknowledgment seems like an obvious step to take to kick-start any transformation, but when it comes to our emotions, it can be difficult to come face-to-face with them. Consider this, though – emotional acceptance is a better option than avoiding what you’re feeling, right?
When we understand where we may have some shortcomings in terms of our emotional mindset or unproductive ways we deal with our feelings, we can pave a path forward. By deflecting, you’re only burying your emotions deeper down and delaying your journey to self-improvement.
If you’re having trouble connecting with your emotions, one private way to process what you’re experiencing is through writing it down. Whether it’s in a more formal journal, in a notebook you found in a drawer, or even in the notes section on your phone – conceptualizing what you have going on within will allow you to see a different perspective of what you’ve been carrying. If you’re open to talking to someone, consider finding a regular time to talk to a mental health professional, a mentor, or a trusted loved one. Similarly, you’re thinking through what you’re feeling to communicate it with someone else. You’re also pushing past any walls you may have inadvertently put up in the process to open yourself up.
Time for change
While a physical “glow up” may involve aesthetic changes to oneself (or oftentimes, just puberty), for our mental glow up, those changes are going to start from within. At the start of all things that are beneficial for our well-being is sleep. The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep (a real good night’s sleep at 7 hours or more) will help you think more clearly, get along better, make better decisions by avoiding a drowsy state, and help reduce stress and improve your mood.
On the topic of things we can do for our bodies, it’s important to start fueling our bodies with the necessary foods and nutrients that we need to survive. Assess your own dietary needs and preferences and listen to your body. There’s an innate connection between what we consume and our bodies, including our mental well-being. Our diets guide our emotions, and some can even reduce the risk of depression. Beyond what we eat, introducing movement into our routines is also a driver in our mental health. Of course, this can involve a workout regime or something as simple as a long walk, but this also includes things like changing your posture to change your brain and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
These changes don’t just come from physical actions, though. There is some inner work that we need to do as well, starting with getting rid of negative self-talk from our vocabulary. Negative self-talk may seem like innocent chiding remarks, but in reality, it can lead to taking actions that we may regret down the line. It has a lasting effect on our mental health and possibly our physical health, too, depending on the lengths you go to act on what you’re telling yourself. Erasing this from the way you communicate with yourself–or even in self-deprecating remarks that you think are funny to others–can help get you out of the self-destructive cycle.
Sometimes this can also come from surrounding yourself with a positive environment, too. It’s difficult to thrive when you’re not surrounded by a strong support system and have people around you to help uplift you on your journey, even if they don’t know it. Perhaps above all though, find your passions, and follow-through. But be careful to have a balance in your life versus obsessing over them. Take the time to appreciate what you’re doing–whatever your passion looks like to you–and be mindful about your experience. It will make all the difference on your road to a mental glow-up.