Oftentimes, when we think of health we only think of physical health. We think of the connection between the things we eat, how often we exercise, and our physical wellbeing. But health is also about the connections between our thoughts, feelings, habits, environment, and behaviours – this is called behavioural health. These connections can bring us up or they can bring us down.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what behavioural health means, how it shows up in our lives, and how we can build it. By gaining this knowledge, we can make positive changes in our lives, take care of our mental wellbeing, and lead more fulfilling lives.
Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are all connected.
Say, for example, you’ve had a day of low productivity at work.
You struggle to fall asleep that night because you’re worried about the work you didn’t get done. When you have a poor night of sleep, you feel more tired and less motivated. So, you struggle through the next day of work and procrastinate working on that project. When you procrastinate, you feel more negative. You know you don’t feel your best, but you’re not sure why. You want to feel better, but you’re not sure how.
Our thoughts affect how we feel, and our feelings influence our behaviours. Our behaviours can also reinforce our thoughts and influence our wellbeing.
The connections between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are powerful. These connections can have a negative impact on us, they can have a positive impact on us, or we can choose to learn from the negative connections and create positives from them. When we’re aware of these connections and our behavioural health, we can identify patterns, triggers, and make conscious choices to promote positive behaviours.
1. Identifying Thoughts: By recognizing negative or unhelpful thoughts, we can challenge them and adopt healthier perspectives that improve our emotional wellbeing.
2. Understanding Emotions: There are over eighty-seven different emotions that we can feel every day. When we check-in with ourselves and think deeply and intentionally about our feelings, we can start to understand them better. We can identify their causes, address them, and make choices that promote wellbeing.
3. Shaping Behaviours: Our behaviours are a reflection of our thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts and feelings are also informed by our behaviours. When we understand this, we can actively shape our behaviours and develop healthier habits that reinforce positive thoughts and emotions.
When we understand the connections between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, we can be more intentional with the habits we create and change. We can also be more intentional with the supports we seek:
1. Behavioural Therapy: Behavioural therapy is a psychological approach that focuses on understanding and modifying human behaviour patterns, emotions, and thoughts. By changing our thoughts, we can improve our emotions and behaviours, leading to better mental health. Some popular modalities are Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
2. Practices and Habits That Promote Behavioural Health: Engage in practices, habits, and routines that support your wellbeing. This could be mindfulness and meditation, journaling, or anything else that encourages you to think about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours consistently.
3. Behaviour Changes: Recognizing how our thoughts and feelings influence our actions allows us to make conscious choices to change unhealthy behaviours. Setting healthy goals and implementing strategies can help us develop healthier habits.
4. Self-Care and Lifestyle Changes: When you understand your thoughts, feelings, and actions in relation to your wellbeing, you can engage in the self-care you need when you need it most. Engaging in activities that relax us, adopting healthy habits, and nurturing meaningful relationships contribute to improved behavioural health.
Behavioural health refers to the connections between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. These connections can build us up or they can bring us down. By recognizing these connections and being intentional with our behaviours, we can challenge thoughts that aren’t helpful, reconsider habits that don’t feel good, and encourage the thoughts and habits that do.