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Understanding Mental Health

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I once read a book that said that animals live ‘within’ nature, where as we live ‘alongside’ nature. I think this probably refers to our recent human development of a conscious, intellectual mind that sits ‘on top’ of our unconscious.

What Do We Mean by Mental Health?
Daniela Huherez, Silent Afternoon

Your conscious mind is logical, linear and rational, and appears to make all the decisions. Your unconscious has been around much longer, and is actually making 95% of your choices. When you decide to buy that nice shiny hand bag, or choose your relationships, you might feel it’s a fairly simple process.

Your unconscious mind is actually responding to millions of signals concurrently – they come from all your senses; your memory of every experience you’ve ever had; plus your family, social and cultural influences! Hence our gut feelings can’t really be pin pointed to a single, logical explanation.

The unconscious feeds all this information to the conscious mind, and then you make a decision, take an action or have a feeling or thought. So, in a simple way, your mental health is really about how well your conscious and unconscious mind interrelate.

Many ancient philosophies link your unconscious mind to your ‘feminine’ nature and your conscious mind to your ‘masculine’ nature. Both are absolutely necessary, and you need them to work together in harmony, a bit like a successful marriage!

Unfortunately this marriage is prone to a few ups and downs! – Our development of a conscious mind hasn’t been fully integrated with our unconscious. It’s a bit of new thing in evolutionary terms and nature’s still working on it! Your unconscious doesn’t distinguish between useful and negative patterns – a traumatic experience will be played back in the same way as your useful memory of how to ride a bike.

Unconscious patterns are triggered into your conscious mind each time you experience a situation similar to the initial circumstances which formed them. Your mental health can begin to feel compromised when these triggers make it difficult to do what you really want in your life.

Mental health

J Simpson, Raining in China Town

So if you felt unloved as a child you might find yourself in a string of loveless relationships – your unconscious mind has been trained to do this. At some level you also know that there is something better (see my article on What is Personal Development and How is it Linked to Healing?). So in every situation that you repeat your unconscious patterns you’re also looking to learn and to move through your negative behaviour.

The unconscious source of some behaviour isn’t always obvious, but whatever your problems may be, they can sometimes become completely overwhelming and create what we call ‘mental health problems’.

I’ve had first hand experience of going through such difficult times – when I was chronically ill I also suffered severely with depression and anxiety. It was this experience which really honed my skills as a therapist, giving me the awareness that anyone can make a recovery – if they commit to learning the tools to getting well.

These tools teach you ways for your conscious and unconscious to easily communicate. This means when a negative memory or pattern becomes stored in your unconscious, you know how to release it. This really is the solution to mental health problems varying from depression, anxiety, OCD to anger.

My personal coach service is about showing you how to you use tools. You can then release the limiting beliefs and patterns trapped in your unconscious, freeing yourself to create a life you truly want to live.

Nicola Siddons,

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