Mental health is different for all of us, yet the most relatable and understandable definition (in my opinion) is “being able to cope with the stressors of life and being able to process thoughts and feelings which allow us to be productive in society”.
I want to specify here that mental health is different to mental illness, which is something I am very passionate about, but that’s not the aim of this article. Mental illness is developed from many things including your mental health.
For me (and hopefully you), my mental health is influenced by a driving voice in my head that encourages me, warns me, and sometimes makes me doubt my potential. Some would say that’s “weird” or “crazy”, but you may know it as the word “instinct” or “gut feeling”.
More often instinct leads you in the right direction, but sometimes (if you listen to it) can guide you in the wrong direction. For me, it has led me backwards in the form of relationships because it was “safe” at the time, it was familiar. However, I choose to let it drive me forward, into the unknown and into the light instead of going back into the dark.
I would say it has guided me to where I need to be and has made me the person I am today. That’s not to say that I don’t have my faults too, because we all do and that’s not to say it hasn’t been easy to get from where I was to where I am today, because if I’m honest, it’s been hard.
A friend once said to me (multiple times) “the universe only gives you as much as you can handle”. This quote resonates with me because its true, life is a challenge, and if I’m honest it either makes or breaks you. You are as strong as you believe.
I get it, life happens. However, you can’t go on not taking care of yourself forever, it may take a decade, but eventually, it will catch up with you, and you will have a lot more to deal with the longer you put it off.
Dealing with things when they happen is the key to building a strong foundation for your mental health. Feeling emotions when they occur, taking time to process, make sense of and let go of them builds you up and makes you stronger. Not acknowledging them and repressing them for fear of feeling is what will ultimately bring you down.
Your quality of life is improved by how well you cope with life and establishing what you love in life is key. For me, its establishing routine, getting in some exercise and socialising with friends. It’s about making my mind clear (most days) with meditation, getting enough sleep, and eating things I’ve been craving.
Your quality of life and mental health diminishes when you stop doing the things you love (i.e. reading, journaling, sitting in the sun, cleaning, taking vitamins, spending time with animals, or eating), when you stop seeing people who will always have your back (even if that voice is telling you they don’t).
It’s when you start to believe that negative voice is right, is when the strong foundation of your mental health begins to crumble and illness begins to creep in. So, I challenge you to do something you love each day that makes you feel good and betters your mental health.
Leave a comment below with what it is; I would love to read about it.
You got this.
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P.S.S. If you need someone to talk to or immediate help see: http://www.mentalhealthcompass.com.au/helplines
P.S.S.S Here are a few links to some videos on mental health that I love: