There is something thrilling about growing things. Whether you are considering plants, animals, or people, watching the often inspiring growth process can remind you of some important ideas.
Among those ideas is the fact that change is constant. When you watch a plant sprout from a seed, grow to full bloom, and then cycle with the seasons, you are witnessing that constant change. The same is true when you watch a new pet grow from a clumsy baby into a companion with a personality all its own. And for parents, watching a child grow toward adulthood and then build a life of their own is a great privilege.
We are surrounded by growth all of the time, but we do not always take the time to notice and appreciate it. As a result, we do not always think about the ways in which the process of growth might apply directly to our lives. In fact, we often mistakenly adopt the idea that when it comes to ourselves, change and growth just are not possible.
These two competing ideas—we don’t grow as people versus we are capable of growth—can have very different consequences in a person’s life. Those consequences can include negative impacts on your overall mental health.
Let’s consider the important differences between what is known as a “fixed mindset” and its opposite, a “growth mindset.”
What is a Fixed Mindset?
Imagine for a moment that you are in college and you are a pretty good student. You are passing all your classes—even getting high grades in some of them along with decent grades in the rest. You are putting in a fair amount of effort, too, attending class, doing the homework, studying a bit before exams, and the like.
You may well be satisfied with the whole situation—especially if you have a fixed mindset.
A person with a fixed mindset is likely to believe that many of their traits simply are what they are. They have a fixed level of intelligence, a fixed level of talent, a fixed level of ambition. A person who believes in permanent, unchangeable traits is unlikely to dig deep to see if they can do better, accomplish more, set loftier goals.
Now, let’s consider mental health from a fixed mindset perspective.
If you are suffering from depression or anxiety or a trauma-based disorder, you may well decide that you simply have to live with it. With a fixed mindset, it is all too easy to believe that the state of your mental health is immutable—nothing you can do can change it.
But things look a lot different if you have a growth mindset.
What is a Growth Mindset?
Let’s head back to campus for a moment. If you have a growth mindset, you might look at your perfectly fine college accomplishments and decide you can do better. You can study more, learn new skills or approaches to your work, dig deeper into subjects that you might have let slide by in the past, and take advantage of your professors’ office hours to get any help or suggestions you might need to be more successful in class.
In other words, you can try to grow as a student. And believing that you can is the first step.
The same is true when it comes to your mental health.
When you look at your mental health through the lens of a growth mindset, you won’t see depression, anxiety, or a trauma-based disorder as a permanent fixture of your life and personality. Instead, you will realize that you can improve your mental well-being with concerted effort—and with some help.
The help may come from a medical doctor or psychiatrist who prescribes medications to address your mental health challenges. The help may come from a therapist who can determine what therapeutic approach might work best for you. In many cases, the most effective kind of help is a combination of medication and therapy.
Believing that you can see mental health gains over time is the first step—and a growth mindset makes that possible.
You Can Believe in Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health
When you are ready to experience significant, lasting improvement to your mental health, Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health in Colorado is ready to help. We offer compassionate, personalized care grounded in our expertise and experience. We can help you grow.