Until recently, mental health wasn’t something that was talked about so publicly due to a “stigma” associated with it. Breaking the stigma and continuing the conversation is important because mental health is treatable and, for those who suffer, recovery is possible. Dr. Gray and her team are focusing on the importance of mental health and well-being as part of their getting back to the basics 2022 series.
The Significance of Mental Health
There is more to mental health than just our emotional, psychological, and social well being. Mental health affects how we think, feel, act and even has an effect on our ability to handle stress, make decisions, and empathize with others. While it has become more common to discuss our mental health, it’s important to note that mental health and well being is essential in all stages of life – from early childhood through adulthood.
Understanding your mental health and treating it as you would any physical condition, is important when it comes to establishing a solid foundation mentally. Being conscious of your mental state and creating that solid foundation will allow you to:
- Have healthy relationships with others
- Properly cope and handle daily stress
- Stay motivated, physically active, and overall healthy
- Be more productive
- Empathize and connect with others
- Become self-aware and establish a positive relationship with yourself
Mental Health is More Than Just Therapy
Breaking the mental health stigma has become a huge topic of discussion. These open discussions have given us the opportunity to tune into ourselves and consider our overall mental health by providing us options to best address our needs. Through forms of self-care, we put our physical and mental health first by doing things that help us live well and positively impact our lives.
For some, self-care can look like regular exercise, journaling, or even just taking time to yourself to relax. For others, self-care can look like going to therapy, support groups, or asking for help from a family member or friend. Regardless of what self-care looks like to you, it’s about finding something that you need, understanding what causes or triggers your symptoms, and working to manage your mental health.
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, help is available. Call 1-800-273-8255 for free, 24/7, confidential support or visit mentalhealth.gov/get-help.
Although self-care is not the cure to maintain positive mental health, figuring out a way to manage it and making a conscious effort to stay healthy – both physically and mentally – is the key to improving our daily functioning. Taking time for yourself to rest your mind, whether that be through meditation, yoga, or a 20 minute nap that Dr. Gray makes sure to take daily, will have a positive impact on stabilizing emotions and thoughts.
Nurturing mental health symptoms goes beyond improving daily functioning; it can even improve some physical health problems that are linked to mental health conditions. For example, high blood pressure, eating disorders, depression, and heart disease are just some health conditions directly linked to stress. Keeping your stress under control may have a positive outcome on health problems you may be experiencing.
Aside from improving some physical conditions, other benefits can include:
- Improving our mood
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Positive thoughts
- Improving relationships with yourself and others
- Positive self-esteem
Creating healthy habits, both physical and mental, can help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions. Healthy habits can also assist those who are recovering. Recovery (and prevention) is always the goal! Jumping right into living a healthy lifestyle is not easy, but gradually making small changes to your habits and building on them overtime will lead you toward a healthier wellbeing.
Being Proactive Pays Off!
Proactive care means taking care of your mental (and physical) health before you experience any symptoms or triggers. Staying proactive on your health is much easier than working to get healthy after you’ve been experiencing symptoms or physical health problems; and will also improve and maintain your overall well being.
Think about what your mental health and wellbeing is about and what triggers you have and, although it may feel selfish at first, set boundaries to take care of yourself. Learning how to set boundaries helps us become more aware of ourselves, avoids burnout, and enhances your overall mental and physical wellbeing.
Did you miss last month’s blog that focused on the importance of nourishment? Check it out here!