According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50% of people are diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime. Sadly, a lot of people are either ignorant about how important this is, or just don’t take it seriously.
Just like your physical well-being, your mental stability is something that you have to put a lot of thought and effort into. Today, many people would take drugs for a physical ailment but refuse to seek help for psychological ones, even when they are both equally important.
This article aims to shed light on the significance of prioritizing mental balance. It will also give you very practical and helpful tips on how to improve yours in a progressive way.
What Is Mental Health And Why Is It Important?
Mental health is a state of mental well-being that allows individuals to cope with life stressors, understand their capabilities, learn and work efficiently, and contribute to their respective communities. The state of a person’s mind goes a long way in affecting their quality of life.
Mental health affects the way we think, act, and relate with others. It impacts perspective, values, drive, and productivity. It also affects our physical and emotional health. That is why good mental health is so important and should be prioritized.
For example, a person living with a depressive disorder (depression) is at a much greater risk for many types of physical health problems. Some of these diseases include diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. On the flip side, having a chronic physical disease can also heighten the risk of having a mental issue.
Here are specific reasons why you should be more careful about your mental stability and pursue self-care:
- Self-care helps to reduce anxiety.
- It creates an enhanced sense of inner peace.
- It helps you think more clearly.
- Good emotional health improves your interaction and relationship with others.
- Mental wellness goes a long way in building your self-esteem.
- It boosts your effectiveness in activities like work or school.
Most Common Mental Health Conditions
1. Anxiety and depression
Anxiety is one of the leading mental health issues in the world today. It is characterized by mild to severe feelings of unease such as fear or worry.
It comes in forms varying from nervousness, phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and separation anxiety amongst others. Severe anxiety can also trigger panic attacks.
Depression or major depressive disorder can be described as a mood disorder characterized by constant feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and in some cases, suicidal thoughts and intentions.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 703,000 people commit suicide each year. Many more live with untreated depression.
2. Eating disorders
These aren’t necessarily caused by eating alone but are better described as a variety of psychological conditions that lead to the development of unhealthy eating habits.
In severe cases, they can cause chronic health issues and even death. The most common ones are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and pica.
3. Trauma and addiction
Experiencing a traumatic event in one’s life can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This involves reliving the experience when certain triggers related to the event are encountered. Symptoms include flashbacks, severe anxiety, and nightmares.
Addiction on the other hand is when someone can’t stop using a substance or engaging in a particular behavior. The most common addictions are alcohol and drugs. Others include addictions to gambling, the internet, eating, sex, or even working.
About two-thirds of all addicts have had one or more traumatic experiences. Research has shown that there’s a link between trauma and vulnerability to addiction.
Tips For Improving Your Mental Health
Self-care involves engaging in activities you enjoy, to help you improve both, your physical health and psychological health. When it comes to mental wellness, self-care has to be placed at the top of your list. Just one activity each day can go a long way in improving your intellectual balance.
Self-care is relative to every person, so finding what works for you is always recommended. Here are some detailed self-care tips you can put into your daily routine to get you started:
1. Exercise regularly
As little as a 30-minute walk a day, can ease your mind, improve your blood circulation and make you feel good about yourself. You can decide to split the amount of exercise you want to get into mornings and evenings or you can do it all at a stretch.
You can also alternatively engage in other relaxing activities like breathing exercises or sports like swimming, bowling, golf, or skating.
2. Healthy diet
A good meal fills you with all the energy and nutrients you need for the day. Cut down heavily on junk food, carbonated drinks, and other caffeinated beverages.
Fruits like oranges and grapes are always a healthier alternative for a better mind and body.
3. Adequate rest
There’s no underestimating the power of good food and a nap. Research has proven that lack of sleep contributes to depression and anxiety disorders.
Being well-rested puts you in a better frame of mind and helps you think more clearly. Prioritize your sleep and give your resting pattern needed attention. It is recommended to get at least 7-9 hours of good sleep for your mental well-being.
4. Embrace positivity and gratitude
Choosing to focus on the good things in your life rather than on the bad ones is a great way to practice self-care. Entertaining negative thoughts, especially over a long period of time impacts your outlook and subsequently your mental balance.
It also helps to make a gratitude list every day so that you are constantly reminded that your life is filled with blessings.
Mental health can be improved by embracing your spirituality. Having a spiritual practice should be empowering, whatever that may look like. This helps achieve things in life by means of continued belief or faith. To get started, you can encourage yourself or a loved one towards spirituality with religious gifts for her and him.
Whatever that tugging may be, you are in the direction of healing, causing you to slowly but surely receive wholeness in your total wellbeing.
Importance Of Spreading Awareness
As important as it is, mental wellness is not talked about or taken as seriously as it should be. People are afraid to seek help, because of the stigma associated with it. Over 14.3% of deaths (8 million), each year are associated with mental health disorders.
However, having issues psychologically doesn’t make a person ‘crazy.’ It just means that they need to pay more attention to or work on their mind space. More people need to understand that it’s okay to seek help and that can be achieved through better mental health awareness.
The louder the world talks about it, the more its importance is being brought to light. You can personally spread this by talking openly to other people. That way, more deaths can be prevented.
All-round health begins with the state of your mind, so begin to shape your life by attaching great importance to your mental wellness. It is also always recommended to assess your mental health from time to time. Seek and make good use of professional help from a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
There are also countless resources that are available online. With just a click, you can access screening tests online that help you understand when you’re exhibiting symptoms of any psychological disorders.
Take your time to learn and understand more about your mental space by opening up to yourself. All of this can come together to give a more holistic approach to fighting the battle against mental illnesses.
This article was submitted to Love What Matters by Emily Morgan, co-founder of Best Daily Prayer. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.
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