This year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (UK)  is Nature. Below, Conrad is sharing thoughts on Mental Health as well as tips on how to develop awareness.   

We urge you to notice nature and to make a habit of connecting to nature every day. Being in nature is known to be an effective way of tackling mental health and protecting wellbeing.

Thinking About Mental Health

TMost people can name a lot of ways to measure physical health, e.g., feeling strong and having enough energy, organs that are working well and an immune system that kills germs and allows you to recover when you become ill. You do not need a doctor to tell you that you are sick. Mental health, however, is more difficult to define. We know what it is like to be down, irritated, content or happy, but how much of an emotion is too much? At what point does irritation turn into rage? How often do you need to feel down to have depression and when does stress qualify as anxiety? 

 

What is Mental Health? 

Although it is difficult to create a universal rule of thumb (which is why therapy tends to focus on the goals of the patient), there are some simple ways to think about mental health.

According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being 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”. Reaching this state commonly requires that you are able to manage your emotions, cognitions, thoughts and actions in a manner that allows you to function without significant distress. Therefore, mental health becomes a matter of successful adjustment.

We know that the same situation can make two different people feel very different emotions. It is how we react to our emotions that effects our mental health. People who can name their feelings and talk about them are better at getting out of a slump. They notice what they are feeling and are quicker to figure out why they feel stressed. As a result, the first step to adjust is to develop awareness. It is this awareness that makes it easier to choose what to do in order to feel better. As reflected by one of Carl Jung’s psychological rules: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate”.
In other words, unknowingly, your mental state can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, imagine arriving at work to find team members sobbing in the restroom, shouting across their desks, or celebrating their latest deal a little too wildly. Your first instinct may be to respond like an angry parent. However, you know that telling everyone to “calm down” or “grow up” will likely only make a bad situation worse. Being aware of your emotional state can help you break the cycle.

What can you do to develop Awareness?  

  • Revisit your values. Sometimes when things are not going well, the cause is your judgement of what is important in life. Why? Because the world is perceived through the template of your own values. Therefore, if you do not approve of what you see, it may be time to examine your values and to sacrifice some assumptions to facilitate change.
  • Know yourself – Do some introspection, learn what makes you tick and be honest with yourself.
  • Much of who we are is established as a result of negotiation with other people. This social element plays an important role in mental health. The causes of mental illness are not always internal, it can also be localized in the social space where we find ourselves. It is important to make sure that this space is a healthy place to be, as clearly demonstrated by the covid lockdown period.

We know what Mental Illness is, but is its absence Mental Health? 

Research now considers mental health as a separate concept from mental illness and mental distress. For example, people may experience mental distress in response to stressful events. However, their distress can be considered a normal reaction and a healthy coping mechanism. An example of this is a person who is grieving. Feelings of grief and possibly depression are normal responses to loss. Once again, it becomes a matter of whether you can adjust in accordance with your desired values.
Just like the immune system can be supported, mental health requires constant work and input. In light of this, there are some practices that are proven to support mental health which better equip you with the tools to effectively deal with difficulties in the future:
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Strive for self-development and growth
  • Develop good-quality social connections
  • Believe that you can overcome hurdles
  • Develop a sense of purpose
This list is by no means exhaustive. What have you been doing during the lockdown period that has supported your mental health?

Remember: Mental health is an important part of our overall health. It’s important to know that we all, at some point in our lives, have depression, anxiety, ongoing anger and other difficult feelings that don’t go away easily or quickly. And for those of us — nearly one in five — who live with mental illness, wellness and improvement is possible.

live it. love it. do it.
FAB regards
Chrizelda & Team

By | 2021-05-13T14:32:59+02:00 May 13th, 2021|Monthly Vibes|0 Comments