Taking your mental health to heart

Learning about yourself

Taking your mental health to heart

Learning about yourself

Authors: AMÉLIE SEIDAH, PH. D. and ISABELLE GENINET, PH. D, PSYCHOLOGISTS

September 2020

Get to know more about your inner strengths and weaknesses

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious, have you ever found yourself thinking:
“I hate feeling stressed!”
“Why am I reacting this way?”
“Is this normal?”

The thing is, we all go through rough patches… it’s only human, and perfectly normal. But if you want to make it easier to survive life’s ups and downs, you need to discover yourself and find out more about what makes you tick. First of all, it’s important to understand that the inner workings of your brain are based on three key factors:

  • your emotions
  • your thoughts
  • your behaviours

When you’re going through a difficult time, take a moment to observe yourself (no judgement!), then try to put a name to each of these three factors. You’ll find that doing this can immediately help you feel a bit better.

Stop fighting yourself

When you’re feeling down, it’s normal to want to do whatever it takes to make the pain go away. But fighting your negative emotions doesn’t always work, and it can even make you feel worse! This is called the fight-or-flight response. The next time you’re feeling stress or emotional discomfort, try to understand your reactions. Do you tend to suppress these unpleasant thoughts or feelings? Do you run away from certain situations?

 

The following quiz will help you better understand your reactions and the fight response.

Take the quiz

Since stress, self-doubt and negative emotions are all a part of life, why not give them a little breathing room? With practice, you’ll soon seen that it gets easier to carry on… even when you have feelings of discomfort!

Here’s an exercise that can help you do this:

Learn more about yourself through your values

Understanding your personal values and knowing your strengths can also help you make decisions when you’re going through a rough patch. Values represent what is most important to us. Think of them like an anchor that keeps us connected to ourselves, or a compass that guides us in our choices. What values are most important to you? What ideals do you want to foster with your friends, your family, or in society in general? To help you identify your values, we invite you to fill out this list.

 

 

ZOOM on my values

When we feel bad, we’re often made to look outside ourselves for advice on how to calm down. But there’s no such thing as a perfect solution! More often than not, the answers are inside you. And for this reason, they’re most likely to correspond to your values. Next time you need to choose how to react, try to base your decision on your values. You’ll find that it’ll be that much easier to manage your emotional discomfort.

Put your strengths to good use 💪

Our strengths are what we’re “naturally” good at. They’re like the sails on a boat that keep us going! We make use of them effortlessly and without much thought; in return, they make us feel happy and energized. We’d be foolish to not use them whenever possible, wouldn’t we?

Yet, in difficult times, we tend to focus only on what doesn’t work. But what if, when dealing with things, we made use of our strengths on a daily basis? For example, if you’re interested in the world around you, taking up a new hobby might help you get through a difficult time. This way, you could add some brighter moments to the dark days.

🙂 If you would like to know more about your strengths and would like to take a complete (and free) test to get to know yourself better, click on the button below!

VIA Personality Test

Do you have questions about who you really are?

Watch this video with cross-country ski athlete Parker Courte Rathwell and learn our tips for getting to know yourself better.

Need to talk about how you feel?

Speak with a Tel-Jeunes worker: it’s anonymous, free and accessible 24/7

Article Resources

Learn about yourself

Zoom on my values
Zoom on my values

Learn more Download
The Fighter's Questionnaire
The Fighter's Questionnaire

Learn more Download

Learn about the contributors’ book

TOUT savoir pour composer avec les turbulences à l’adolescence – Isabelle Geninet & Amélie Seidah Ph. D Psychologists

This practical guide aims to help teens get to know themselves better, develop better critical thinking and improve their self-observation skills. Using concrete strategies and helpful advice, teens will learn how to cultivate a positive attitude (e.g. openness, curiosity, flexibility) and, above all, understand the importance of taking action. And this, in turn, will help them feel better equipped to deal with life’s ups and downs… and cope with the emotional turbulence of adolescence!

BUY THE BOOK ↗

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