How to Recognize and Appreciate Mental Health Progress

June 20, 2022 Martha Lueck

Acknowledging mental health progress is not always easy. Depression reminds me of the goals I have not met. Anxiety reminds me that I need to try harder in life. However, during my wellness journey, I am learning to recognize progress. Here are five techniques that currently help me.

5 Ways I am Learning to Recognize and Appreciate Mental Health Progress

  1. I remind myself that compliments are genuine. Due to negative core beliefs and self-talk, it has been hard for me to take compliments seriously. In the past, I always wrote them off as lies. When a teacher told me that my work was improving, I thought she had said that out of pity or to make me work harder. But after talking to my therapist and support system, I have learned that compliments are genuine. When people tell me that I am making progress, I usually believe them.
  2. I recognize my cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions remind me of my flaws and weaknesses. For instance, "should" statements such as "I should not have slept in so late" tell me that I am lazy. Catastrophic thinking tells me that one mistake will ruin my day or my life. Future predicting tells me that I will never recover from depression. By recognizing these distortions, I can reframe my thoughts to enhance my mental health.
  3. I remind myself to strive for improvement. Mental wellness is not a competition. Expecting myself to be in perfect health is a lot of pressure. Also, it's unrealistic because everyone struggles sometimes. Instead of expecting perfection, it is much more helpful to acknowledge and appreciate my improvement. Having the ability to improve means that I can progress in my wellness journey.
  4. I reflect on inspiration from the progress of others. When I was in a therapy program, all of the members talked about their progress toward recovery. From an outside perspective, I was inspired by some members' resilience in overcoming obstacles and meeting their goals. Even though some of the members did not value their accomplishments, I did. By remembering this, I am reminded that even the smallest achievements matter.
  5. I attend therapy to monitor my mental health. Every week, my therapist asks me to rate my anxiety and depression. I then talk about my moods, thoughts, and behaviors at different times during the week. Some weeks, it seems as though I have not made any progress. But by talking with my therapist about my struggles and obstacles, I learn about more tools to help me improve my mental health.

Despite my challenges and imperfections, I am proud of the steps I am taking toward mental wellness. What are your thoughts on mental health progress, and how do you strive for it?

APA Reference
Lueck, M. (2022, June 20). How to Recognize and Appreciate Mental Health Progress, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 21 from

Author: Martha Lueck

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