According to the World Health Organization, mental wellness is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
But sometimes when circumstances are overwhelming and are persistent, you’re thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Mentalhealth.gov states that many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
Once all three things are crashing in around you it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you are reading this and need help NOW here are some numbers to call:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat.
If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
If you don’t feel this is an emergency talk to your primary care doctor or another health professional about mental health problems. Ask them to connect you with the right mental health services.
When life does crash in around you having an “emergency plan” in place could be your saving grace. Jude Miller Burke, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of The Adversity Advantage. “When a bad time then comes, you are more prepared. Practicing good mental health habits before you feel distressed is like putting money in the bank for the bad times,”
The following tips are not a substitute for professional help, but if you’re looking for mental health advice that you can start acting on immediately these tips may help you. These tips are from professional therapists and were published by Self.com and Talkspace.com
1. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
When negative thoughts are flooding your mind, have positive thoughts close by so you can start meditating on positive thoughts.
Psychologist, Dr. Jennifer Mulder states when automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) take a toll on your mental health: they trigger a cascade of biochemical reactions and emotions that adversely affect how you feel and behave. Have you ever stepped into an ant bed?!! Let’s just say this is a great analogy of (ANTs).
If you are hearing “I can’t do this.” Replace it with “I’ve got this and I can do this.” If you are hearing “I’m just a burden to everyone.” Replace it with “I am strong, fit, smart and nice.” If you are hearing “I am unworthy.” Replace it with “I am amazing and I love who I am.”
2. Write your thoughts down.
Take five minutes or so a day to write down your thoughts, feelings, or ideas. This is helpful if you want to keep track of changes in your moods or behavior over a period of time. But it can also just be a place to work through something in a private, safe space—something that you may not feel comfortable in sharing with others.
Some thoughts to get started writing: Don’t worry about grammar or spelling. This is just for you. Stick with it. At first writing about an upsetting experience may be painful, but over time it can help you get past the upset. Keep in mind, though, that if yours is an especially disturbing event, like rape or domestic violence, you might want to do this with a professional.
Imagine yourself someplace relaxing. Some place that makes you feel happy and free. Find a quiet place, or just close your eyes at your desk, and allow yourself to daydream for five minutes. Make your daydreams as vivid as possible. Imagine what things smell like, what they feel like. What sounds do you hear?
4. Have Faith.
Research has proven having faith in something bigger than you has shown: people who meditate and pray have increased activity in a “feel-good” area of the brain. People with strong religious beliefs recovered faster from heart surgery than people with weaker faith.
The research went on to prove: people who didn’t attend religious services died significantly younger than those who attended more than once a week
Why the connection between spirituality and health? It seems spirituality cuts the stress that so often triggers disease.
5. Try Meditation.
You’ll be amazed what five minutes of meditation can do for your overall sense of well being. That’s it, five minutes. Start with five minutes of focusing on your breathing. As you begin to reap the benefits you’ll want to meditate longer. It’ll improve your physical and emotional health. You’ll not only be able to relax immediately when you’re feeling stressed, you’ll begin to manage stress much better.
Next time you’re feeling overly anxious or stressed go find a quiet place where you can be undisturbed for five minutes. Sit down so you’re comfortable, on a chair or on the floor, whichever works best. Close your eyes and simply focus on your breathing. As thoughts come into your mind, and they will, don’t judge them or react, simply set them aside and continue to focus on your breathing. You’ll feel so much better – instant relaxation.
6. Be Thankful.
If you’re feeling stressed or fearful, stop your anxiety-ridden thoughts and think about five things you’re thankful for. Think about what brings you joy, about the good people in your life, think about what makes you feel happy and good. Sometimes simply be thankful about all that you have that’s good can help make the things that are stressing you seem quite insignificant.
7. Move Your Body.
Exercise is a known stress reducer. And it doesn’t have to be a killer, fat burning intense workout. 30 minutes of walking, bicycling or yoga has the same effect. It helps your body’s systems optimize so you can manage stress better. Also, exercise releases endorphins which are natural feel good hormones.
8. Have a Support List.
A support list of friends and/or family is a major factor when we being overwhelm with circumstances. Social support is the positive support you receive from family, friends, and the community. It is the knowledge that you are cared for, loved, esteemed, and valued. More and more research indicates a strong relationship between social support and better mental and physical health. Having a list of people you can get in touch in times of need, gives you a safety net.
9. Camping Out on Negative Thoughts? Camp Out on Grateful Thoughts.
It’s tough to think of anything else when you’re actually distressed or mentally shut down, so this workout is primarily about striking time out and changing your focus.
According to Yale’s Center of Emotional Intelligence “Gratitude is a state of mind that arises when you affirm a good thing in your life that comes from outside yourself, or when you notice and relish little pleasures. Though some people and things are clear blessings, this state of mind doesn’t actually depend on your life circumstances. Whether it’s the sight of a lovely face or a tasty bite of food or good health, there is always something to be grateful for. Even bad experiences at least teach us something. And gratitude is not just a feeling outside your control that arrives willy-nilly. It’s more like a radio channel: you can choose at any time to tune in.”
It is often said that “Laughter is the best medicine,” and it’s true! Laughter releases stress, improves your mood, boosts immunity and can even relieve pain. There are tons of YouTube videos that are hilarious or view a comedy TV show or movie.
Sing in the shower, sing to the radio in your car just sing! It’s good for you. According to an article written by Stacey Horn for Time on Aug. 16, 2013, The elation from singing may come from endorphins, a hormone released by singing, which is associated with feelings of pleasure. Or it might be from oxytocin, another hormone released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why still more studies have found that singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness.
12. Self-care Plan.
Everyone has certain things or coping mechanisms that give them a boost when they’re feeling blue. Have a self-care plan ready to go, so you have something to look forward to. Maybe it’s taking a hot bubble bath, watching that an old movie, getting together with some friends, baking cookies or whatever. Just make sure whatever it is, it’s accessible when you really need it.
13. Don’t Take Your Emotions Too Seriously.
Usually when everything comes crashing in it is a combination of many things going on in your life right now. Try to separate emotions, circumstances and your mood. Look at step #2 if you did write something down for the day your emotions are just a part of the equation. They are real but they are fluid, they will change.
14. Dialogue With Yourself.
The meaning of dialogue is to take part in a conversation or discussion to resolve a problem. We all have that “inner voice”, you know when you talk to yourself. And most of the time that inner voice is your biggest critic.
David Klow, licensed marriage and family therapist says “Learning to have a reassuring and soothing inner voice can make a big difference in improving your mental health.”
So when your “inner voice” is having a monologue (a one way conversation) start answering that “inner voice” with how you would give advice to a good friend. Proverbs 27:9 (AMPC) says “Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart.”
15. Go There.
What if? If you’re having anxiety and worrying about a worst case scenario in your life “go there” and a make up a plan if it does happen.
16. Have a Healthy Diet.
You are what you eat, foods can affect your mood. Every meal we consume affects our psychological health. The results are tiny, however they can build up as part of a healthy diet regimen. For example, particular sorts of diets can aid people handle anxiety. Consuming the full variety of foods is a good idea as long as you pay attention to their nutrients and energy content. Your choice should consist of an appropriate quantity and combination of nutrient-rich and low-energy foods. If possible, you should not eat too many pre-prepared foods or fast food.
17. If You Drink Alcohol, Try to Drink Less.
Alcohol is a depressant, interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. Alcohol affects your mood, emotions and sleep. During this time you may want to limit your intake.
18. Sweet Z-z-z-z-z’s.
Quality sleep is a crucial part of your mental health, but it can be especially hard to come by when you’re struggling with anxious or depressed thoughts. So do everything you can to try to quiet your thoughts before you get into bed.
You’re going to solve anything overnight, press pause on your thoughts and trying to get a solid night of sleep before diving back into things. That might include writing down anything you’re worried about so that you can get back to it tomorrow—and stop thinking about it now.
Have a routine, like reading before bedtime…not on your phone and try to go to bed at the same time each night.
19. Have Some Social Interaction.
Even introverts, as well as individuals with social stress and anxiety, need at least a little social interaction to be emotionally healthy and balanced, having relationships or simply talking with individuals periodically can make a big difference. If you are missing a degree of social interaction, consider joining one of the following communities and groups: A networking, professional, or meetup group based on a common skill or interest, a religious community, a form of group exercise, including team sports or group therapy.
Volunteering can improve mental and physical health, the satisfaction of doing something for other people is invaluable. It can also be an opportunity to practice gratefulness. There are hundreds of opportunities for volunteering. If you want something guaranteed to improve your mental health, volunteering with an animal rescue or shelter.
21. Know Who You Are.
When people know who they are and what they love, it’s easier to for them to find sources of good mental health. If you are an introvert you get recharged by being along, if you are an extrovert you get recharged by being with others. Choose activities that correlate with your personality traits helps retain a mental health balance.
22. Think About What You Want, Not What You Should Be Doing.
Try to constantly think about what you want. Put your desires first and worry about the “should” later. Even if you can’t always do what you want, simply asking yourself is part of practicing good mental health. “Should” is about appeasing other people. That won’t bring happiness or peace.
How to Practice Good Mental Health
If you try even one of these tips, you’ll be practicing good mental health. To feel even better, start adding more of them to your lifestyle and see what fits. Good mental health can become part of who you are and what you do, not only something you obtain.
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8 Tips to Face Your Fear
Fear is a natural emotion that humans feel whenever face with painful and challenging circumstances. We tend to be afraid to handle our concerns or even walk away from those things. However, the longer we suppress our fears in our subconscious minds, the longer it would affect our social and occupational functioning. Take the case of drug addicts who see drugs as a form of escape with their worries and personal issues. They’ve chosen to run away from their fears instead of confronting it. With this, it significantly changed them that affects only themselves but their families as well.
Overcoming fear is an important step to free yourself from situations or things that would limit you. It may take time to conquer it, but by taking action, you’re doing a favor for yourself. Here are the useful tips that can help you to overcome your fears.
- Recognize and Accept Your Fear
The first step that you should do is to recognize your fears. It may be hard at first. But acknowledging it allows you to know that you need to do something to get rid of your worries. From there, you will understand that fears exist to warn us about the possible danger that we’re going to encounter. It lets us know that we need to take better decisions in our lives.
- 2. Take Time Out
If your mind is clouded by fear and other unpleasant emotions, taking time out from it is your option. It means that you need to distract yourself from overthinking about it. You can go for a walk or take a nap to shift your mind. This is different from running away from your fear. This gesture is crucial as you need to get yourself ready in facing your fears.
- 3. Calm Yourself
This relates to taking a break from your fears. Aside from engaging in diverting task, you can also practice calming yourself. Breath slowly and if you can, meditate for at least 5 minutes. By doing this, it makes you objective in facing your fears.
- 4. Visualize Happy Thoughts
If you are letting your fears empower you, thinking about fighting it would not be easy. You must first create a mental image of happy thoughts. It can be anywhere and anytime with anyone. The main goal of visualizing your thoughts is to let make you relax and control your fear.
- 5..Seek Help
If you think you don’t have enough courage to overcome your fears alone, you can seek help. Talk with your trusted friends or family members so they can help you in facing your fear. They can also provide some advice that you can use. Apart from close friends and family, you can also seek the professional assistance of a psychologist or counselor. They can devise customized therapy programs to alleviate your fears.
- 6. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
People who are empowered with their fears tend to run away from it. Some of them turn to alcohol and drugs, believing that it would subside their fears. Instead of forming a drug or alcohol addiction, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can do regular exercise and eat nutritious foods. You can also get enough quality sleep to make your mind relax. By having a healthy lifestyle, you are making yourself physically and mentally ready to face your fears.
- 7..Plan, Practice, and Act
There are fears that you can conquer by acting it out. For instance, you are afraid to talk in public and want to defeat this fear. You can plan to enroll yourself in public speaking classes to boost your confidence and learn the techniques of managing your worries at the public places. After that, you can practice talking on the stage. You can do it alone or with the presence of a few people. The essence of this step is to gradually expose you to fear so when you’re faced with the actual issue you’d be able to handle it well.
- 8. Treat Yourself
Trying to overcome your fear takes a lot of courage. If you’ve been with a stressful day, you can reward yourself for doing your best. It can be anything that would bring happy feelings. It would also serve as your reminder that there are greater things that you have compared with your fears.