Why Mental Health Matters
Good mental health represents a state of well-being that allows you to grow and prosper. Mental wellness is key to personal, academic, and professional success, healthy relationships, happiness, and life satisfaction.
The most common signs of mental illness involve feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness, excessive fears and worries, inability to cope with day-to-day stress, fatigue, sudden mood changes, self-beating thoughts, changes in sleep and appetite, social withdrawal, suicidal thoughts, and more.
Mental health concerns affect approximately half a billion people globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people in the United States experiences mental ailment at some point in their lives.
Types of Mental Health Disorders
The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) records near 300 psychological disorders, including the following groups of mental illnesses:
- Anxiety disorders
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders (such as Schizophrenia)
- Substance abuse disorders
- Eating disorders
We live in the face-paced world, exhausted by day-to-day stresses, focused on external gratification, and often helpless towards life challenges.
Depression is a leading cause of disability globally; more than 250 million people globally suffer from this mental health condition. Depression impacts a person’s mood, causing emotional, cognitive, physical, and social implications.
Approximately 800,000 people commit suicide each year worldwide. Although not every depressive person is suicidal, most people who commit suicide are suffering from depression.
Nevertheless, only around 40 percent of adults and 20 percent of children and adolescents with mental health illness receive proper mental health treatment.
What Causes Mental Illness?
Several factors trigger mental health disorders. Typically, mental illness results from a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and individual experiences. Albeit their cause may vary, mental health conditions are real health problems, just like any physical ailment.
However, people with mental illness are often perceived differently. It seems that we tend to deny compassion to people with mental illnesses while showing sympathy for those physically ill or injured.
Mental health experts believe that a lack of understanding of mental illness and mental health stigma prevents individuals from seeking professional help.
Mental Health Stigma
If you struggle with mental illness, you likely experience a double stigma. On top of your psychological condition, you may live through discrimination and prejudices attached to mental illness.
Mental health stigma prevents millions of people from seeking support and treatment, keeping them from seizing opportunities and living fulfilling lives. The stigma may hinder your chances of living in safe housing, finding and keeping a job, receiving health care, participating in social activities, and maintaining long-term relationships.
Studies show that men are no less affected by mental illness than women. However, males are less likely than females to seek help for their mental health issues, most likely due to masculinity stereotypes and stigma.
How to Overcome Mental Illness Stigma and Boost Your Mental Health?
It is critical to encourage people to talk about their challenges as an open conversation about mental health issues can help us feel more comfortable around the topic of mental illness and fight the stigma attached to it.
Our daily lives are overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness, often leading to many chronic diseases and psychological disorders. Acknowledging that emotional injuries are just as disabling as any physical illness can remove the mental illness stigma and help you understand that you are not alone.
Know that You Are Not Alone
There is help available for managing mental health problems. However, many people challenged by mental illness suffer alone either because they do not recognize the symptoms, feel ashamed, or they are afraid of judgment in their social circles.
It is okay not to be okay, though. It is all right to feel down, be vulnerable, show sadness, and acknowledge that you cannot cope independently.
Seek Mental Health Treatment
Mental health treatment usually involves a multidisciplinary approach tailored to the client’s individual needs. The most common treatment types for mental disorders include psychotherapy, medication, support groups, 12-step programs (for psychological or behavioral health and substance abuse problems), alternative therapies, and lifestyle changes.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is an effective treatment option for a wide range of mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, mood disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, relationship or family issues, etc.
The most widespread psychotherapy options for anxiety and depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, EMDR, interpersonal therapy, group therapy, marriage, or family therapy.
Practice Activated Meditation
Daily Activated Meditation or other meditation practices will help transform you from living in survival mode to being in a state of peace and happiness. Meditation has many physical, mental, and emotional health benefits, some of which are due to the release of endorphins. Meditation allows you to connect with present moment breath by breath.
Meditation can allow you to sleep better, cope with symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety, mood, depression etc. The meditation techniques would assist you in braving through your fears by reducing stress that arises when you face it. Meditating daily gives you time for introspection and personal reflection. It enables you to understand your actions and emotions better.
Practice Activated Breathing
Breathing, apparently, a simple process inhaling and exhaling oxygen, when performed effectively, can have a substantial impact on the physiology of the body. Breathing influences every cell of the body. It influences our sleep, memory, digestion, concentration and our energy levels. One can live for two months without food, two weeks without water but only a few minutes without air. Breath is the main bridge between body and mind, the way you breathe is indicator of the level of physical and emotional wellbeing that we are experiencing at the moment. The way you breathe is the way you live!
Practice Activated Breathing daily for peak performance, mental clarity, healthy living and increasing your will power and energy. It involves different breathing patterns from slow and calming to rapid and stimulating. The exhalation is interrupted three times and at different levels of the body for a short period of pause. The pause at three different levels creates magic. The pause is a powerful technique to evoke a relaxation response and at different pauses, we are aware that the mind is in a very calm and balanced state that can rejuvenate and heal
Check out special breathing patterns to help cope with different emotions and feelings. Understanding that the breath is the bridge between body and mind is the key to activate relaxation and calmness on demand.
A large body of research shows mindfulness exercise benefits to our well-being. Mindfulness represents the ability to be fully present and aware of the current moment. Mindfulness means that your mind is altogether attending to what you are thinking and what is happening around you at the present moment without interpreting, judging, or over-reacting to it.
Mindfulness can help you ease stress-related symptoms, improve your mood, and increase optimism, help you stayed focused, and boost your memory and focus. Also, mindfulness practice can strengthen your self-esteem, help overcome negative thoughts, and improve your relationships with other people.
Try a simple mindfulness guidance meditation to help you become mindful in your daily life.
Research has confirmed the benefits of exercise on our mental and physical health. Physical activity helps manage negative feelings, let the frustration out, and release tension.
Regular exercise can elevate your energy levels, boost your immune system, and improve your sleep patterns. Physical activity alleviates symptoms related to anxiety and depression, increases resilience, and strengthens your stress coping mechanisms.
Scientific evidence shows that physical exercise promotes various changes in the brain, stimulating the growth of neurons and neural connections in the brain and creating new activity patterns that trigger feelings of happiness.
Connect with Nature
Spending time in nature has a myriad of benefits on mental health. Nature is associated with relaxation, improved mood, reduced levels of stress, and energy boost.
Exposure to nature alleviates stress hormones while stimulating the release of endorphins, neurochemicals, also known as “hormones of happiness.” These neurochemicals trigger the growth of new cells and connections in our brain, which is very similar to antidepressant medications’ effects.
Express Your Feelings
Often, when we are feeling down, we put on a mask and conceal our feelings. However, ongoing emotional suppression can cause physical ailments and mental disorders, including anything from hypertension and heart disease to anxiety and depression.
It is essential, therefore, to recognize, acknowledge, and express your emotions. Expressing feelings can help you stay healthy, happy, and at peace with yourself.