There are 3 things that are very important when promoting mental well-being:
1. Build confidence and resilience.
2. Affirm ourselves.
3. Build emotional intelligence and communication skills.
1. Build Confidence and Resilience
By building our confidence and resilience, we explore our passion and abilities and we find where the sweet spot lies, where our passion and abilities intersect. Because when we are passionate about what we do, we tend to be happier doing it. When we are joyful, we tend to be more confident. When we do something we are really good at, we tend to push through the difficulties that come along our way. We become more resilient. We don’t give up so easily.
So we need to help children and young people with disabilities to explore their strengths and abilities, rather than just focusing on what they cannot do. And to focus on what they enjoy doing and what they are good at doing. And by doing so, from a young age, mental well-being and resilience are built.
2. Affirm Ourselves
Affirmation has been one of my biggest revelations of the coaching process. Simply affirming a person, saying, “I see you, I hear you, you are important, you are whole, you are okay,” by focusing on their abilities, makes magic in a very short space of time.
We need to adopt a programme of mental health promotion that affirms our abilities. And build a positive ecosystem around us. This includes removing negative people that don’t build us up and really focusing on a positive support ecosystem that is also honest with us.
3. Build Emotional Intelligence and Communication Skills
Why is this so important?
It can empower us to navigate the challenges that society throws at us in a much more constructive manner that is less damaging to our own mental well-being.
So those are really the three things people can focus on in building their mental well-being, which also impacts their physical health positively. And it’s something that we can all learn from. When we become more empathetic, when we see people who have learned from their challenges, then the world becomes a place where tolerance is more often expressed.
Now more than ever, we should look out for one another, especially for those who have for so long felt like they were invisible as well. And show kindness to yourself, and kindness to others.
I began my short-lived career as an occupational therapist at Kalafong Hospital in a township just outside Pretoria in 1986, at the height of racial oppression in South Africa. It
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