By Nicole McCray
When was the last time someone asked you how you were, and you answered truthfully, not with a standardized, almost dismissive reply that didn’t really reflect your state?
Fine, and you?
Oh, you know how Mondays are.
The barrage of non-answers is near-endless. We’ve been taught that suppressing traumas and ignoring our emotions are signs of strength and resilience; that showing emotions makes us weak and unprepared for the “harsh realities” of the outside world.
In truth, our strength and beauty are exemplified through mental health, awareness, and vulnerability, only then are we human. Once we realize the importance of being in touch with who we are, and not who the world told us to be, can we actually live and thrive.
How to Take Care of Mental Health
This is the question, isn’t it? Just like with everything, there isn’t one magical answer that will solve all our issues. Every person has their own story, so the approach to preserving mental health will always be unique. Let’s take a look at what we can do to take good care of our mental health.
At the core of emotional turmoil and mental health issues is some kind of stressor. Be it an unfulfilling job, toxic relationships, financial struggles, health issues, or unprocessed trauma, stress and anxiety chips away at our well-being the most.
Often we don’t even acknowledge how poorly we feel, we chalk it up to the weather, too much coffee, or that particularly annoying person. The truth is much simpler – something in our reality isn’t working for us and we’re getting clear signals that things need to be changed. That’s what our strong reactions do, they show us parts of ourselves that are in need of attention and healing.
When dealing with chronic stress, our whole body goes haywire, and our hormones (especially cortisol) rise up to deal with the crisis, only the crisis never ends. If we don’t have ways for reducing stress and cortisol levels, our fight or flight mode is always on, so we don’t live, but survive.
Understanding the root of stress is the first and most important step because it will determine what we can do to relieve it. This can best be achieved by talking to a mental health expert who can help you grapple with your problems, and come out stronger.
You’ve undoubtedly heard this phrase many times, even though it was all but non-existent in mainstream channels mere 15 years ago. The uncomfortable fact is that we’re rarely fully present in our lives, we either worry about the future or reminisce about the past.
Pulling all that energy into the here and now allows you to actually experience your life. Being present helps you see and feel yourself as you go through the highs and lows, it lets you stay in touch with your core values and deepest desires. This practice will show you are worthy of love and fulfillment, and life will rise up to make it happen. It’s your emotions and thoughts that shape your world, not the other way around.
Being Gentle, Open, and Vulnerable
These traits are the signs of strength and growth, not powering through and stifling your emotions. Being gentle and vulnerable first with yourself, then with the important people in your life opens the path well-being. These are the pillars of a healthy mindset that will make you flourish and let go of everything that isn’t serving you.
Being open and vulnerable will get you out of your comfort zone and nudge you to ask for and do things you’re intimidated by. Being gentle means that you don’t have to force and squeeze yourself into molds, that you leave space for yourself to be as you are, and let the rest of the world adjust accordingly.
Mental Health Determines the Quality of Our Life
When we talk about mental health, we talk about the way we perceive and go through the world. Everything we know goes through the prism of mind and heart. Those impressions are then “translated” to our body, where they shape our reality, from how we sleep and eat to our relationships and physical health.
Thankfully, more and more people realize the importance of mental health and work hard to improve and preserve it. This is a step in the right direction and no small feat. It’s hard and time-consuming to undo the harmful behavior patterns that have accumulated after centuries of neglect. But there’s progress!
Now, more than ever, we know that mental health determines the quality of our life, affecting every single aspect of our existence. Our overall well-being is inextricably tied to how we deal with our emotions and traumas, and if that gets cast aside, we suffer.
Be it through mental illness, emotional eating, ego-centric existence, the sense of not being enough/being too much, or toxic (in)dependence, the unhealed parts of ourselves try to get our attention. Facing our emotional baggage is hard and dirty work when you start, but there’s no overstating how beneficial it is.
Our self-development affects the world around us. When we dedicate time to empowerment and mental health, the whole planet gets a little bit better every time we get a little better.
Nicole McCray is a content creator who spends her time writing about everything, including beauty, health and wellness, pet care, music, movies, and TV. She writes for various blogs and loves using her insight to help any audience.