2020 was an extraordinary year in so many ways, its effect on our mental health has been tangible. Social isolation, grief, loss of income, and school disruption due to the ongoing pandemic have triggered mental health conditions. Moreover, it also exacerbated the existing ones.
In general, we all pass through the different phases of life. We have to encounter stress, mood swings, depression, anxiety etc. It has been observed that the major reasons behind such feelings or emotions are: financial issues, stressful work environment, personal issues, etc.
Most of the time, people successfully come out of this situation. But sometimes they need a little extra help to cope with psychological issues. You should always keep in mind that good mental health enables you to handle challenges more effectively.
This is why it’s crucial to pay attention to your mental well-being. And ask for help if you feel like things are getting out of hand. However, it has also been observed that people never accept their mental illness. Or they don’t seek treatment due to the following reasons:
- Fear and shame: People don’t want to be labelled “mentally ill” or “crazy.”
- Lack of insight: It’s very common among people that they ignore the clear symptoms of mental illness. They always used to think that there’s nothing wrong with them.
- Limited awareness: Sometimes people may accept some mental health concerns. But they ignore issues by saying “everyone gets stressed out” or “my problems aren’t that bad”.
- Feelings of inadequacy: Most of the time, people think that they can handle things” on their own without seeking the help of anybody. They may feel weak or inferior to have to ask for help.
- Practical barriers: it’s also a fact that people can’t afford their treatments due to a financial crisis. And their illness was left untreated.
What is Mental Health?
Mental illness is a condition that involves negative changes in one’s emotions, thinking, behaviour or a combination of these. They may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic). If you don’t pay attention to the changes in your behaviour and leave it untreated. Then it can have a huge impact on your entire life such as: your ability to work and interaction with others.
Here are the following factors that can contribute to mental illness:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry.
- Bad life experiences i.e. abuse, trauma.
- Family history of mental disorders.
Why Does Our Mental Health Matter?
People must understand the fact there is no shame in having a mental illness. You should never show reluctance in seeking the help of others.
If you are diagnosed with a disease i.e. diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, you take every possible step to cure it. But unfortunately, many of us let our mental health fall by the wayside. We don’t think of it as being on the same level of importance as our physical health.
For instance, if you are a stressed person, who works 50+ hours per week, leaving little time for personal life. You might think, It’s just a busy time in my life. The stress will dissipate eventually.
As a result, you take stress for granted without knowing the fact that how it impacts your body drastically. As poorly managed stress can result in migraines, overeating, fatigue, depression, diabetes etc.
Here are the following reasons that justify the fact that why is your mental health essential.
- Allows you to live life to the absolute fullest and experience life with a newfound sense of adventure.
- Enables you to live life to the fullest.
- Connect with the people in your life.
- You become able to maintain good physical health.
Warning Signs of Mental Illness
Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:
- Excessive worrying or fear.
- Extreme feelings of sadness.
- Lack of consecration.
- negative/excessive overthinking.
- Frequent mood swings.
- Strong feelings of anger.
- Social isolation.
- Changes in sleeping as well as eating habits.
- Inability to notice changes in their own behaviour or feelings.
- Overuse of alcohol or drugs.
Proactive Ways to Improve Your Mental Health
There are the following simple actions that you can take to improve your mental health.
1. Maintain Healthy, Thriving Relationships
Strong relationships are the foundation of mental wellbeing. It may be spending more time with family, friends, or colleagues. Be active and connect with people as often as you can.
2. Stay Physically Active
Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, stress or any other condition, exercise can play an important role in your life.
Exercise can improve your sleep, make you feel more relaxed and increase your body’s production of endorphins. Which can improve your mood. You don’t need to do an intense workout. Just 30 minutes of walking each day are enough to improve your mood and reduce stress.
3. Practice Gratitude
One great way to combat negative thinking is by practising gratitude. Spending 10 or 15 minutes journaling about the things you’re thankful for, can boost the positivity of your mind. Which is crucial for your mental health.
Explore the big-picture things you’re grateful for, such as your health or family, as well as small, daily things you’re thankful for, like the nice weather or a compliment your co-worker gave you about your outfit.