Are you healthy (mentally)?

As a therapist, I focus on presenting issues, the problems that compel a person to sit with me. Sure, I balance these functional impairments by looking for strengths and support. Still, the focus is on identifying and repairing damage, secondary and tertiary prevention.

I came across a list of indicators for positive ego strength while studying for the licensing exam. It was refreshing to look at a list of positive mental health criteria instead of DSM5 criteria for disorders.

I found myself checking my own emotional/ ego strength. Some items on the list are easier for me than others. Check to celebrate your own strengths and ability to live a full life.

  • Acknowledging their feelings – including grief, insecurity, loneliness, anxiety
  • Not getting overwhelmed with their moods
  • Pushing forward after loss and not being paralyzed by self-pity or resentment
  • Using painful events to strengthen themselves
  • Knowing that painful feelings will eventually fade
  • Empathizing with others without trying to reduce or eliminate their pain
  • Being self-disciplined and fighting addictive urges
  • Taking responsibility for actions
  • Holding themselves accountable
  • Not blaming others
  • Accepting themselves with their limitations
  • Setting firm limits event if it means disappointing others or risking rejection
  • Avoiding people who drain them physically or emotionally
  • Tolerance of pain associated with loss, disappointment, shame or guilt
  • Forgiveness of others with feelings of compassion rather than anger
  • Persistence and perseverance in pursuit of goals
  • Openness, flexibility, creativity in learning to adapt

From Social Work ASWB Masters Exam Guide by Dawn Apgar, 2018.

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