The Importance of Mental Health - Manage Yours Like a Pro:
Unfortunately, we continue to live in a world where little value or
attention has been placed on the importance of mental health.
Why is this? Because the human
condition dictates that something doesn’t deserve attention until it affects us
personally. But, mental health affects
all of society. The Importance of Mental Health must not be understated.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Mental health and the acceptance of those suffering from psychological disorders is the final frontier. Those who are living with mental illness are quickly dismissed, swept under the rug, and written off. We are the butt of jokes. We are “crazy” in the eyes of society.
The Importance of Mental Health:
Side note, some of the world’s greatest leaders suffered from mental illness. To name a few:
“Remember in the depth and even the agony of despondency, that very shortly you are to feel well again.” - Abraham Lincoln
I also feel some employers have done a poor job (if any) of helping their employees who struggle with mental health challenges. Many workers are afraid of losing their jobs if their condition is made public. Sad. Imagine the return on investment a company would realize if it took the time to help their employees. Why? Because an employee who is cared for is happy, loyal, and productive. Yet some companies are keeping the stigma alive and well – actually contributing to some mental health conditions because people are afraid to come forward and ask for help. Let that sink in.
We (those suffering, their family members, and mental health practitioners) must keep the importance of mental health at the forefront. We have an obligation to educate, disprove myths, and show others that there is a real “face to the name” – a real human being who has been dealt a formidable yet surmountable hand. We are (or can be) productive members of society. We still have professional and personal value.
In order to carry out our mission, we must recognize the importance of mental health before anything else. Selfish? Absolutely not. We simply cannot meet our family, employment, or social obligations until we learn to manage our conditions – period. We are of no use to ourselves or those we love unless we strengthen our minds – creating a fortress of peace, health, self-confidence, and courage.
We cannot fully evolve as a society until everyone embraces the importance of mental health. Why? Because it ultimately affects everything and everyone.
I’m not picking on those who don’t understand. Part of the challenge lies in the fact that those of us who struggle with mental health issues have not done our part in educating others about our conditions. If we are to truly fix this problem, we must step forward and take responsibility, and lead. Let others know what we are experiencing. Educate them. And, in some cases, peacefully but with resolve, stand up and not allow ourselves to be victims.
Emphasis should also be placed on the fact that those who are “normal” and their loved ones are one diagnosis away from humility.
I encourage everyone to embrace this challenge and defeat it. Otherwise, we as a society will never realize our full potential.
Peace to you and gratitude for recognizing the importance of mental health. ~Ted
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep is really important for our physical and mental health. Sleep helps to regulate the chemicals in our brain that transmit information. These chemicals are important in managing our moods and emotions. If we don't get enough sleep, we can start to feel depressed or anxious.
Eating well isn't just important for our bodies, but it's also important for our minds. Certain mineral deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies, can give us a low mood. Try to eat a balanced diet. If you find you're a particularly stressed or anxious person, you should try limiting or cutting out caffeine as this can make you feel jittery and anxious.
Avoid alcohol, smoking and drugs
Drinking and smoking aren't things which we always associate with withdrawal symptoms, but they can cause some which impact on your mental health. When you've had a few drinks you can feel more depressed and anxious the next day, and it can be harder to concentrate. Excessive drinking for prolonged periods can leave you with a thiamine deficiency. Thiamine is important for our brain function and a deficiency can lead to severe memory problems, motor (coordination) problems, confusion and eye problems. If you smoke, between cigarettes your body and brain go into withdrawal which makes you irritable and anxious.
Other drugs will often leave you in withdrawal and can often cause very low moods and anxiety. More severe effects of drugs include paranoia and delusions. There is some research that suggests drug use is related to developing mental disorders like schizophrenia.
Have a look at my page on Help to stop smoking and on Alcohol and substance use for more information.
Get plenty of sunlight
Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a really important vitamin for our bodies and our brains. It helps our brains to release chemicals which improve our mood, like endorphins and serotonin. Try to go out in the sun when you can, but make sure you keep your skin and eyes safe. 30 minutes to two hours a day of sunlight is ideal. During the winter, some people become depressed because they aren't getting enough sunlight - this is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Some people find using a special light-therapy lamp helps to alleviate the symptoms.
Stress is often unavoidable, but knowing what triggers your stress and knowing how to cope is key in maintaining good mental health. Try to manage your responsibilities and worries by making a list or a schedule of when you can resolve each issue. Often if you break down your worries and stresses and write them down, you realize that they are manageable. Try to avoid burying your head in the sand, and tackle problems face on. If you find you are having trouble sleeping, or are waking up thinking about all of the things that are stressing you out, write them down and reassure yourself that you can deal with them in the morning.
Activity and exercise
Activity and exercise are essential in maintaining good mental health. Being active not only gives you a sense of achievement, but it boosts the chemicals in your brain that help put you in a good mood. Exercising can help eliminate low mood, anxiety, stress and feeling tired and lazy. It is also linked to living a longer life.
You don't need to run a marathon or play 90 minutes of football; a short walk or some another gentle activity might do the trick.
Do something you enjoy
Try to make time for doing the fun things you enjoy. If you like going for a walk, painting or a specific TV show, try to set aside time to enjoy yourself. If we don't spend any time doing things we enjoy, we can become irritable and unhappy.
Connect with others and be sociable
Make an effort to maintain good relationships and talk to people whenever you get the chance. Having friends is important not just for your self-esteem, but also for providing support when you're not feeling too great. Research has found that talking to others for just ten minutes can improve memory and test scores!
Do things for others
Helping others isn't just good for the people you're helping; it's good for you too. Helping someone can help with your self-esteem and make you feel good about your place in the world. Feeling as though you're part of a community is a really important part of your mental health. You could try volunteering for a local charity, or just being neighborly.
The Importance of Mental Health: Ask for help
One of the most important ways to keep yourself mentally healthy is to recognize when you're not feeling good, and to know when to ask for help. There's no shame in asking someone for support if you're feeling low or stressed. Everyone goes through patches where they don't feel as good as they should. Reach out to friends and family, or bring it up to your doctor. Take time for you and the importance of mental health. ~parts adapted via Peoplefirst.org.uk
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