How Planning Can Improve Your Mental Health
July 08, 2021 • 5 min read
Mental health issues are on the rise around the world as people’s lives grow busier and become more pressured. This year, the challenges of our Covid-19 reality have made life even more difficult to manage. With anxiety and depression booming, it’s worth doing whatever we can to take care of our mental health. One of the best ways to do that is actively planning our journey back to a clear mind and happy heart.
If you - or someone you love - struggles with a mental health issue, take a read of our six points below. They spell out exactly how a personal development plan can help you move forward and find your way back to a better mental state.
Six Ways a Personal Development Plan Hels Your Mental Health
If you’re wondering how to create a happy life that is free from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, then look no further than a personal development plan. Personal development plans chart a course for you to make big and small changes in various areas of your life - from nutrition to meditation and mindfulness, to socialization, exercise, and the power of positive thinking.
Here are just six of the key ways that a planner can help:
1. Planning Helps You Feel Less Overwhelmed
Starting a planner - whether it be paper or digital - helps you to organize your to-do list. Write out your priorities, make lists, keep a daily calendar, erase the less important tasks and focus on the ones that will really take you places.
Often, when we feel that we have a million things to do, we spiral into feelings of panic or helplessness. Your task list becomes the devil on your shoulder, telling you that you can’t enjoy life until all your work is completed. Writing short and long-term tasks into your planner gives you back a sense of control - allowing you to organize, prioritize, and get on top of those niggly little things that bother you from day to day.
2. Planning Helps You Get Out of Your Head
Our thoughts love to swirl - it’s what they do best, especially among anxious people. If you’ve ever suffered from racing thoughts, clouded thinking, or panic attacks, chances are there are things making you feel overwhelmed in your life.
Perhaps you have too much to do at work, or you feel like you’re neglecting important relationships. Maybe you’re worried you’ll forget something that you’re juggling at the moment, or you simply can’t keep up with all the things you’ve promised to do this month.
Writing down both a daily plan and a personal development plan are great ways to stop the spin of tasks in your mind, and to focus your thoughts on bigger picture personal goals.
3. Planning Helps You Recognize Your Wins
One of the easiest ways to drag down your mental health is to beat yourself up about ‘not achieving enough’. In our perfectionist culture, ‘getting things done’ is often held aloft as the be-all and end-all of a life done right. But this mindset leaves little time for smelling the roses and appreciating the little things in life.
If you can’t get away from the feeling that you’ve been unproductive, or if your depression is crushing your motivation, then a planner is the perfect way of flipping the switch. Start a page where you can celebrate the small wins you make from day-to-day. They don’t need to be big achievements.
Did you finally clean up that hallway closet? Write that down and celebrate it!
Washed the dog? Well done you!
Baked a cake? Document that deliciousness!
Training your brain to focus on wins rather than perceived failures is an important way of improving your mental wellness.
4. Planning Helps You Set Goals and Reach Them
It’s not necessary to see huge ‘wins’ in life in order to feel happy. But reaching your goals - big or small - does have a major part to play in boosting serotonin and giving your mental health a very real boost.
Writing out a personal development plan in your paper or digital planner helps you to define the goals that really matter in your life, to lay out a road map for reaching them, and then to knock them right out of the park.
5. Planning Helps You Stay Fit and Well
Whether it’s part of a bigger-picture personal development plan or just worked into your daily planner, a focus on your physical health is a surefire way to improve your mental health by association.
Never underestimate the role of good nutrition in maintaining a happy and healthy life. What you eat plays a huge part in how mentally well you feel, and when you eat the wrong kinds of foods, your mood and wellbeing can really suffer.
Likewise, exercise is scientifically proven to help with mental health - a brisk walk a few times each week, or some jumping jacks in front of a fun YouTube fitness guru works off stress and boosts the happy chemicals in your brain.
As part of your own personal development plan, consider starting a fitness planner where you can plan and track everything from your exercise regime to your meal plan.
6. Planning Helps You Keep Doing the Things You Love
Your social life is not an optional extra. Doing the things you love - whether that be partying with friends, chilling on the couch with your cat, or naked windsurfing - these things are all vital to your mental wellbeing and shouldn’t ever come second to ‘being too busy’.
How to Create a Happy Life with a Personal Planner
Keeping a personal planner or starting your very own personal development plan is an excellent way of taking control of your mental health and steering it back to calmer waters. Often depression and anxiety manifest when we feel that we don’t have control over our personal or professional lives. What better way to overcome that than planning your way out of the fog?
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