AC Coach - Guest Blog Mental Health - 2 Self-Help Techniques

Hello, and welcome to the ADAM COPLEY: COACHING blog in partnership with TOTAL MTB. This will be a 4-chapter series covering mental health, and the importance of the outdoors in relation to this. Over the next four weeks I will be covering self help techniques and talking about a number of things that have affected my mental health, but also looking at methods I have put into practice to help build my confidence, happiness and ability to overcome. I will also be linking these to mountain biking to show you just how amazing our sport can be.

So, saddle up. Sync your strava and let’s get started:

Chapter two: Self-help techniques.

Now you know a little bit more about me, and the journey I have been on. It’s time to move onto some of the techniques you can employ if you also struggle with your mental health, stress or anger.

In today’s blog I am going to go through a number of different self-help methods and explain how you can make the journey of recovery much easier.

First of all: I want to stress that everyone is different, so some things on this list may not appeal to you, or work for you. Some things may. You will also experience barriers from your mind, telling you things like “I don’t have time for this” or “this is way too spiritual”. Well, it’s time to silence those voices in your head, just like how you break through that wall of fear on the bike, you can break through that wall of fear to change your mindset too. And today I will attempt to make that an easier task!

Let’s get into it:

First of all:

Once you have acknowledged that you want to feel better and eliminate whatever negative emotions are in your head. The next step is understanding what these negative emotions are:

As an example. A major goal of mine at the minute is to reduce the amount of stress I place myself under. In order to do this, I must first make a note of all the things that stress me out. This will then allow me to see them in front of me and begin looking at ways I can eliminate them. For example: Slow people really get on my nerves, I am a person who likes to go about my day with purpose and move from one job to the next, so I can finish the day knowing I have got everything done, and that I feel like I have worked hard. So, when people walk in front of me really slow, or drive really slow it begins to stress me out as I feel like I am having time wasted.

I have recognised this, written it down and can then look at ways I can reduce this. I am a huge believer in being punctual, so I always set off early for work. When I get stuck behind someone going slower, I make a conscious effort to say to myself “maybe they have a dog in the back” or “It doesn’t matter, you are still going to be early”. Re affirming these things allow me to just enjoy the moment I am in. In my van, which I love. Listening to a podcast featuring someone who inspires me and well on time.

Try it: Think about something that winds you up, this can be anything from a partner, to forgetting things, losing your keys/wallet all the time or even that mate who just can’t turn up to a ride on time!

Write the cause of stress down and then branch off from this with ways you can eliminate the stress from your life, like the diagram below:

Once you have discovered what exactly effects your mental state, you can then begin to work on this. This method can be the same for several different areas of mental wellbeing such as anxiety, stress, feelings of sadness and much more. Identifying exactly what areas of your life are negatively affected is a great way to begin the self-help journey. Moving forwards from here then. Let’s look into a number of different ways you can begin to regain control of your mind:

1: Journaling:

Keeping a journal is an amazing way to write down your feelings and add closure to your day. On my office desk I have an a5 book that I write in every day. I include a summary of how my day has gone, usually a paragraph long. And then write down one win, and one lesson from the day.

This serves two purposes:

Firstly: It adds closure to my day and allows me to close down for the day, transferring me from a business owner and coach to a human being who gets to relax with his family and be grateful for the things in life I have.

Secondly: It shows me that there is ALWAYS a positive to come out of a bad day. Even when days have been horrendous, and stress has been uncontrollable there is always a positive. As I write this today for example: I have had 3 clients cancel their session, am home early and have had someone drive into the mirror of my van. It would be easy to write this day off as a sh&t show. But, when I think about how it has gone, I have also had an amazing conversation with a client who sees me as a vital part of her life, and also has an incredibly interesting job which I got to learn more about on our call. Logging this down later will end my day on a high and make me feel happy!

Try it, keep a journal for a week. Write down everything from riding experiences, to work experiences. Even something small like your dog doing something so random but so funny. These are all experiences that make us happy and as such, are worth remembering.

2: Mountain biking:

Well, this is a mountain biking blog, right? There are countless articles that exists that tell us that being outdoors is an essential component of improving and maintaining our mental health. But, what is it about mountain biking that is so good?

We are all involved in mountain biking for our own reasons, and you can use this to help your mind improve and make you a happier person.

For some. It may be all about being outside, and mountain biking is an amazing opportunity to allows this experience. You are no longer Emma the stressed waitress, or John the busy business owner. You are Emma and John, the mountain bikers. It doesn’t matter what job you have, or if your partner is in a mood with you when you are out on the bike. All that matters is that you are outside, clearing your head and just enjoying being in some stunning parts of your country.

For some, it may be the feeling of being fit and getting fitter. Use mountain biking as a way to track your fitness gains, chase down goals and feel like you are becoming a better version of yourself. This improvement is something that the mind loves, and you feel epic after you smash a PB on a climb or hit that jump you have always wanted to hit. Use mountain biking as a way to take that high with you into other aspects of life and understand that if you can develop on the bike, you can develop off the bike too.

Learn how to index your gears, learn how to bleed a brake. Achieve that sense of fulfilment in your mind that you have done something new and embrace your journey!

I can safely say that mountain biking has added so much to my life. From fitness to self-discipline, to friends who resonate with me and share my interests. This is a sport of support both from a solo perspective and a group one. So, embrace your mountain biking lifestyle and use it as a way to improve your mental wellbeing.

3: Be selfish:

Sometimes you have to do what is right for you. And I am 1000% behind being bold and making decisions based on what makes people happy. You are the most important person in your life, and you should feel this. So be selfish.

If you are invited to things you don’t want to do, say no. Explain that at the minute you aren’t in the right headspace for this, or that it doesn’t align with your current goals.

So many people waste time doing things they don’t want to do, scrolling through social media mindlessly (more on this next week), attending events where alcohol is present when they don’t drink.

These are two incredible examples of modern life at its finest.

I don’t attend works do’s or parties where people will be drinking. I do not follow many people on social media, why? Because it is not right for my headspace. It does not make me happy when I see that I have spent more time on my phone than I have talking to people each day. And it doesn’t make me feel like I am enjoying the limited time I have off of work when I am just watching people get drunk. Where has this got me?

It has allowed me to meet people who align with my goals, and who understand me from a mental side too. If I don’t want to get up early and ride with my mates, I can safely say I’m not coming and they won’t mind, because they know that I would be the same with them.

Now, trust me I know that you can’t do this at the flick of a switch, and it takes time. I also understand that there must be a compromise under certain situations. But please, begin to see yourself as an important cog in the machine of your life.

Begin by writing down 10 good qualities about yourself, this could include how you are as a professional, if you are successful within your workplace, your loyalty to your partner, your love for your pets, are you a good listener?

Write down these qualities and then move onto your values. What do you see as important in life.

Is hanging out with your friends at the pub on a Friday important to you, if so, then make sure you stick at it as it adds happiness to your life. Do you value early mornings where you wake up and have the day to yourself? If so, get up and make it happen.

Being selfish, and understanding what makes you happy, and what you want out of your life are keys to becoming more emotionally comfortable.

So, make time for YOU!

When it comes to helping yourself, it really is a journey. And the beautiful thing about the journey is that it is fully unique to you. I have tried to keep these three elements of self help varied so at least one of them works for you. I would love to hear your story with regards to self help and the methods you have tried that may or may not have worked! So, feel free to shoot me a message on @acopleycoach and share your story!

I hope you enjoyed this entry!

Ride safe.

Adam.

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