Mental Health: Why It Matters EverydayMay 17
Although May is Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to note that every day should be dedicated to mental health awareness. Our mind is an ever so present element in our ever so hectic lives that navigates our social, professional, and personal worlds. And the circumstances within these worlds ultimately affects our mind and wellbeing.
As we’re often bombarded with ads about health trends to keep our bodies in shape, we can’t forget that we have to invest the same amount of time and energy into our minds. As our day to day bustles with work and people, it’s important to dedicate alone time to slow down and reflect. It’s easy to let circumstances take control of us. But through reflection, mindfulness, and intention, we can redefine ourselves and our lives. Not to mention, we can fight the stigma surrounding mental health.
Fight the Stigma—Importance of Mindfulness
The mind is a tricky thing. Thus, mindfulness is an important practice to dive into. Many may eye-roll at the thought of mindfulness, but brain scans have shown that experienced meditators have stronger control over their posterior cingulate cortex–the brain area activated by stress and cravings.
Practicing mindfulness is a good way to avoid seeking out unhealthy alternatives and habits to cope. In this digital age, there are a numerous apps that help with meditation such as Headspace, Unwinding Anxiety, and Stop, Breathe & Think. These resources will help you train and take time to practice mindfulness on the go.
It’s important to note that everyone is going through their own battles. And while implementing mindfulness won’t guarantee that it will fully heal someone in the long run, it can help establish small short-term and healthy habits that roll out long-term benefits. Everyone can benefit from learning more about mental health–you’ll become a better friend, family member, and colleague.
Here are some ways to help yourself and those around you in promoting mindfulness and learning about mental health. Let’s help normalize dysfunction and instability by talking about it more.
How to help yourself:
- Keep a journal. Often times, we’re stressed from work and personal life that our minds often reel in thoughts. It helps to jot and transfer these thoughts and worries onto a piece of paper. Not only will this be therapeutic, but promote a sense of self-awareness.
- Reach out to someone you trust. Talking it out helps alleviate some of feelings you might be experiencing. This will also allow the person you are confiding to share and talk to others about their own mental health. Again, fight the stigma!
- Go outside and take a walk. The more you stay indoors, the more your brain and emotions feel confined. So get outside and breathe in the fresh air as much as you can.
- Practice meditation. As mentioned earlier, there are various apps you can try out to find a solution for yourself.
How to help those around you:
- Talk openly about mental health with others. If you have your own stories and experiences, share it with others. The more you talk and share, the more others will be inclined and inspired to share as well.
- Donate to a mental health research or suicide prevention organization. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are a couple good organizations to consider. Also, look into local communities and schools who may have mental health initiatives.
- Reach out to people who are struggling. Whether they’re friends, family, or colleagues, approach them gently if they seem to be acting off. Offer to take them out for a walk, coffee, or anything they enjoy doing.
The mind is an essential aspect of human health and should be looked after everyday. With these tips and thoughts, we hope that you can help fight the stigma and become advocates for mental health. The more we talk, the more we can help grow healthier minds.
What are some of your experiences and stories on mental health? Please comment and share below.