Mental health matters. You matter.
This week (14 to 20 May) is Mental Health Awareness week. Today we are talking to Pia about how stress and outside influences can impact mental health, and what can help us cope. Pia started running meditation groups in 2005, and has had an interest in mental health and well-being ever since.
I would love to see the day when mental health can be talked about, lived and experienced without any feelings of embarrassment or judgements. I wonder how many people are suffering in silence as they are finding it hard to open up and speak to someone about how they are feeling, especially since there is a stigma about mental illness.
Life can be tough, and it can influence our mental health, sometimes causing mental illness that affects the way that we think, feel, behave, or interact with others.
The experiences that we are going through can be a challenge and just as the physical body can become ill, our mental health can suffer too, so it is important to look after our mental wellbeing as much as we look after our physical body if we would like to maintain a good balance.
Our emotions are constantly changing and reacting to the happenings in our daily lives. That is completely normal and healthy, but if those happenings are affecting our emotions in such way that we no longer feel happy and healthy, and we are unable to function in a constructive and positive way, we might need to seek professional help.
At times we might not even be in a place to make that sound decision ourselves, and that’s why it is important to care about one another and act if someone appears to be out of character. Other times we might not even need to seek professional help. We might just need a friendly listening ear, maybe a shoulder to cry on, or maybe that big warm hug from an understanding friend, family member or partner for us to feel better.
So, do we choose to be physically ill? And do we choose to become mentally ill? In general, the answer to those questions is no.
Stress, trauma, isolation, financial or relationship problems, are just a few examples of causes that can manifest themselves as an illness in our body and/or in our mind. What we and society could benefit from accepting is, that this is nothing but a response to an outer negative influence that we don’t always have the strength to stand up against, hence why we can become ill.
Our well-being is associated with balance, understanding, acceptance, constant growth - personally, I would like to say love as well - and there is a lot that we can do to maintain this. Apart from keeping a healthy diet, making sure that we are getting enough sleep and doing some form of physical exercise, there are a few key points that we can use as guidelines when it comes to improving our lives.
“You are perfect the way you are. You don’t have to be anything more or anything less, or be similar to someone else. Just be the best that you can be”
No matter how unfair or painful we perceive an experience, the best choice for our own well-being is to accept the difficult times to try to move forward with life. Accept the feelings of disappointment, accept the pain, but don’t let them overshadow the things in life that you enjoy doing and that give you a sense of happiness. As hard as it may seem, try to live in the present by avoiding dwelling on issues that happened in the past, especially if there is nothing that we can do about them. Sometimes, we might need professional help to do this.
If you struggle to find anything enjoyable, challenge yourself a bit by perhaps doing something that you have never done before. Sign up for that course that you always wanted to do. Are you able to meet up with friends that you have not seen for a while, or why not try to make new friends?
If possible, only surround yourself with people that have a positive impact on you and then aim to find that beautiful place of self-love and self-acceptance, because it’s right there within you.
You can also start to meditate as this is an effective way to improve overall health and general well-being and, last but not least, don’t forget the importance of laughter that is such a powerful tool when it comes to self-healing. A good way to find that laughter is to sit down in the quiet, close your eyes, recall a funny memory and relive it in your mind – soon you might just be laughing away.
Take care of yourself & allow life to inspire you!
You can read our information page on mental health to find tips for positive mental habits and for seeking professional help. What helps you to cope with stress and difficult events? Do you have any tips or experiences to share?