When we talk about health, we tend to focus on eating well, exercise, and steering clear of illnesses that affect our bodies. Often, we overlook our mental health. Although more and more people are talking about mental health, there is still a long way to go, and many people feel embarrassed to discuss psychological issues. The truth is that mental well-being is a subject that should concern us all. We all want to be happy and healthy. If you’re guilty of neglecting your mind and devoting all your attention to your body, here are some tips to take on board.
What is “normal”?
Many people who have symptoms of mental health disorders don’t actually realize because they assume that what they are feeling is ‘normal.’ Anxiety is a natural human response to certain scenarios and it’s normal to react to certain triggers by experiencing feelings of profound sadness, but it’s not common to have these responses to other situations or to endure prolonged periods of feeling low or desperate. If you feel anxious all the time, even in settings when others are completely relaxed, or you struggle to get up in the morning because you don’t have any enthusiasm or energy, or you doubt whether you can go on, this is symptomatic of a mental health disorder. It’s often difficult to spot the signs of psychological illnesses because they’re not as visible as physiological signs. If you have a broken leg, for example, there will be obvious symptoms that indicate that you’re not in the best shape. With mental illness, there are obstacles that make it difficult for those affected to understand what the signs are and what they mean.
Understanding the implications of mental health disorders
Even if you’re really healthy, in terms of both your physical and mental health, it’s incredibly useful to understand the potential implications of psychological conditions. All too often you hear people talking about shrugging off depression or getting on with it. The trouble is that this attitude reflects a profound lack of understanding. Depression is an illness, and mental disorders cannot just be cured by adopting a stiff upper lip. These are complex conditions that require treatment, which is often provided over the course of months or years.
The latest figures from the CDC show an alarming rise in suicide rates over the last 20 years. If you think somebody you know might be struggling, it can be very difficult to know what to do, but being there for them can be hugely beneficial. Often, when you see stories about suicide in the media, you read articles that have comments about how nobody even knew that the person in question was finding life tough, or observations about how happy that individual always seemed. Take the time to check in with friends and family and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you do suspect that things aren’t as they seem. If you are concerned, you can seek advice from your doctor or look into courses that might help. Relias Academy will teach you how to prevent suicide using techniques and methods that provide emotional support and reassurance. Many of us have skills like first aid, which we could use to help those in trouble, but very few have training in helping those with mental illness. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where your input could make all the difference.
Improving your mental health
We all know that eating well, drinking plenty of water and moving more are great for our physical health, but have you ever thought about how you could improve your mental health? Even if you’re content, it’s crucial to pay attention to both your body and your mind. Spend time doing things that make you happy, surround yourself with people who support you and make you feel confident, and try and manage stress as best you can. Take some time out, make sure you get enough rest and be gentle when it comes to self-criticism. Most importantly, if you are out of sorts, and you’re finding life tough, don’t hesitate to talk about how you feel. Open up to trusted friends or family members, or see a therapist or contact a charity if you’d rather speak to somebody you don’t know.
When we think about health, we usually conjure up images of hitting the treadmill or tucking into a salad. The reality is that mental health takes a back seat. From now on, take the time to think about your mental health. Understand what it means to be healthy, take steps to protect your well-being, and help those around you.