If you’re a millennial, then you know while growing up, speaking about mental health was not something we openly nor occasionally discussed. It was associated with the inability to be ‘normal’. It was associated with harsh and degrading statements or words towards an individual that wasn’t fully functioning according to society’s standards. Speaking about mental health was always confined to medical reasons and never societal reasons of wellbeing.
This has changed for the Gen Z generation…as there is a lot more awareness, engagement, and conversation centered around mental health. With online mental health communities, wellbeing support communities and memberships, apps, websites, brands and businesses dedicated to bettering your sense of wellbeing as a way to achieve an optimum and healthy life. According to Wikipedia, “mental health is a state in wellbeing in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience”. An inability to achieve that balance of wellbeing, resilience, and self-actualization may lead to mental health problems with signs of sleep irritation, lack of energy and thinking of harming yourself or others.
The cause of mental illness derives from lacking; lacking that may have resulted in unresolved trauma, lack in essential human needs not being met – food, family, community, finances, leisure or relaxation. The balance requires the brain to achieve something that is fulfilled; a goal, a need, an innate desire that is only a natural human instinct that we all have (think about children and the needs that they require for proper childhood development, the same can be said for adulthood). When that need is not meant, acknowledged or resolved; it results in stress, suppressed emotions, agitation, and all sorts of negative emotions that compound the brain. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well being. It affects how we think, feel and act.
So the question now is how do we achieve a state of balance for our mental health in times of a stressful situation, distress, sudden changes in our lives; it could be a job loss, divorce, death of a loved one, a financial setback, illness or an unforeseen circumstance. How do you clear your mind and remain positive to achieve a sense of self that still allows you to operate at optimum capacity. According to Brian Hazelgren, author of ‘Positive People Make Things Happen!’, one of the 10 attributes of a positive person is to ‘try to see the good in everything, by looking at the bigger picture’.
Talk It Out
Dealing with the stressors of life can become overwhelming and at times crippling. Dealing with deep emotions of sorrow, sadness or anger that result from stress can affect your health making you feel tired, exhausted, and fatigued. Talking it out with someone helps to alleviate the burden that weighs you down, allowing your emotions to come to light in a safe environment helps to not only relieve the stress, but ease your mind. Talk to a friend that you may trust, a family member that you can confidently confide in, or a professional therapist or psychologist where the environment is more personal and secure if that makes you feel more comfortable. Talking it out allows you to let it go and find ways to clear your mind and remain positive.
Join A Support Group
Talking it out and joining a support group may seem just about the same thing with the common factor of talking about what you are feeling. But a support group goes deeper into supporting you and allowing you to overcome your situation. Listening to other people’s stories and situations helps to clear your mind, allowing you to extend a helping hand when someone needs it from your own personal experience. It has been recorded that helping someone in need, extending that extra hand actually produces endorphin hormones that actually boost your mood and make you happy. So as you seek support for your own stressors in life, allow this to be an opportunity to go the extra mile and extend your hand to support others in their time of need.
We talk of gym and exercise as personal wellbeing for your body to stay fit, healthy with loads of energy. But did you know that the physical stressor of exercise on your body (that vigorous movement with the aches and pain), is the perfect antidote for stress in your brain? So you haven’t exercised in a while and you may think of all the reasons not to – commitments at home, with work, with the children or extended family members. But here’s the trick with this, you need to make time for yourself to clear your mind and remain positive. Exercise produces happy hormones (yes, those endorphins), that make you happy and even more productive. The effects on your mental health are beneficial to the full functioning of your life, allowing you to achieve a balance of oxygen and positive chemical reactions that replace the negative emotions.
Replace your stressor with something else to do. Rather than spending minutes, even hours ruminating on one thing. Make the active change to distract yourself by finding something else to keep you preoccupied, by doing, or by thinking of something new. By distraction we are not saying ignore the problem, no. We are saying move away from it a little bit, put it aside, and allow your mind to be at ease by engaging in some kind of positive and enriching activity that allows you to relax and allows your brain to find balance in the positive activity at hand. Compounding your brain with soo much negativity can be overwhelming, numbing, and quite frankly can make you stagnant in your thoughts as you fixate on the same problem or pain point over and over and over again with no end in sight. Rather preoccupy your mind for a little while, give it the clarity that it needs by choosing to add something active and positive to uplift your mood, clear your mind and remain positive. You learn to realize that the problem or pain point may not simply go away as quickly as you want it to but dealing with it in a healthy way such as a distraction, might help to move in a much healthier direction.
Sometimes in life, we cannot easily get rid of our stressors, pain points, or negative experiences. It could be trauma that you cannot seem to work around, it could be a financial downfall that may take a few years to recover from; whatever your personal situation may be, the best remedy is to find healthier ways to cope with the situation gradually, and soon enough you will find that balance that you need to reach optimal mental health.