Some people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function. Deeper and more serious mental health challenges that many people face are depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviours.
How stable our emotions are coupled with our nervous system integrity can be a direct reflection on:
- how we handle stress
- relate to others
- make choices
- how stable our moods are
- our patterns of thinking and behaving
- general wellbeing
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE ARE STRUGGLING
Signs and symptoms of poor emotional wellbeing can vary, depending on the individual, circumstances and other factors. As a result these problems can leave you feeling lack of joy, miserable and can ruin families, relationships and work situations. Some common examples of signs and symptoms of mental health problems include:
- Feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
- Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
- Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
- Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
- Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Major changes in eating habits
- Sex drive changes
- Excessive anger, hostility or violence
- Suicidal thinking
- Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and pains.
In most cases, symptoms can be managed with a combination of counselling, herbal and nutritional support, diet and lifestyle and in more severe cases medications. Positive mental health is important and can feel like climbing out of a muddy ditch. Research has recently told us that creating new neural pathways in the brain is the first step towards clearing old patterns of behaviour and moving towards the sunshine again.
HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE A POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE? HERE ARE OUR TIPS:
Start your day off well
Spend the first half an hour of your day in a state of receptive peace. This means avoiding reaching for your phone to check messages and emails. Take the time to start a morning ritual (affirmations, journal writing, sitting in the sunshine with a cup of tea, meditation, yoga or walking) as these reinforce the attitude and rhythm of the day by promoting parasympathetic nervous system balance (calm) rather than sympathetic nervous system dominance (fight, fear, flight reactions).
Talk About Your Feelings
Telling somebody that you are sad can take some of the sadness away and sharing joy will add more joy. Humans often crave closeness to other people and sharing feelings helps. It is also a good practice to avoid negative projections, an example of this is a continual retelling of scenarios/ stories. It is more productive instead to talk about your feelings and how you can improve your responses in the future.
Exercise keeps the brain and body healthy and can help improve your mood. Research on depression and anxiety shows that exercise has both physical and psychological benefits by boosting endorphins to your brain (feel good chemicals).
What we eat has a big impact on how we feel, mentally as well as physically. Your brain needs nutrients to stay healthy, certain types of food contain essential components for good mental health. Remember what is good for you physically is good for you mentally.
Alcohol is a depressant, we drink alcohol to change our mood. Drinking a lot can harm your brain and lead to depression. Short term it may make you feel better but when the drink wears off, you feel worse and are more likely to get the blues. It becomes a vicious cycle.
Stay in Touch
There’s nothing better than catching up with friends and family, try to invest your time in people you care about. Give them a call or chat to them online. Communicate more, conversation can solve most problems.
Get Help and Advice
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness it is a way of staying strong, help to create a culture where asking for help is encouraged. As well as family and friends there are local services put in place to help you, remember everyone needs a little help from time to time.
Take Time for You
A change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be as simple as five minutes to yourself to a weekend away, or just trying something new. Just that little five minutes can de-stress you. A new environment may distract you from how bad you feel and make you focus on something else. Have a little selfish time, you deserve it.
Do Things You’re Good At
If it makes you feel happy and you enjoy doing it, then make time for this activity even if it is only to boost your self-esteem. Enjoying yourself can help beat stress, think of something you love doing now or loved doing in the past
For many people self-acceptance is hard to come by on a good day, but when you have had a bad day your self-acceptance is in shreds, its normal to feel like this. Learn to accept that you’re unique, work on your strengths and be kind to yourself. Feeling good about yourself will boosts your confidence, be proud of who you are.
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