Mental Health Awareness Month
What’s up truth community! Happy first Monday of May! If you are not aware, May is Mental Health awareness month. Every year, the goal for various organizations is to fight the stigma, provide support and educate / advocate for people with mental illness as well as their families. With that being said, my goal is to contribute to all of the above. I am not a doctor, nor do I ever portray myself to be. However, you do not have to be a doctor, have a mental illness or know someone with a mental illness to be an advocate and support the cause.
Mental health is VERY important to me. Uncommonly known, I have not always been in the best mental health state. I have struggled constantly with blocking people out of my life, shutting down, over analyzing, panic attacks, trust issues, pretending to be okay when I’m not and the list goes on. It has taken a lot of self-reflection, learning my triggers and building a relationship with God to progress through these dark times.
If I can encourage anyone that is struggling to find peace within themselves; I would say to you Confront, Forgive and Release. Given that I fight to overcome my own struggles daily, I want to share 4 ways to enhance your mental health this month!
Take Time for Yourself
I know, I know!!! This is preached by every mental health advocate, but It is honestly VERY important. If you do not do this, you will not commit to any of the things below. I understand 1000 percent what it means to be pulled in multiple directions every day. I work fulltime, I recently applied for a Doctoral program, I am a mother and a wife; just to name a few roles. Even still, I make sure to take time for myself every day. This week try to put your commitments in check and take some personal time. It is imperative that you put yourself first at times in order to show up for who and what needs you whole.
If you do not know what mindfulness is, it is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts. There are a variety of ways you can be mindful; thought, action, emotion, eating etc. I normally practice mindfulness with meditation. My favorite meditation app is Calm. Calm’s mission is to make the world happier and healthier. It creates unique content that strengthens mental fitness and tackles stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Mindfulness meditation has changed my perspective and mindset. I have found tremendous benefit in areas such as: acceptance, stress frustration and happiness. I encourage you to find a guided mindfulness format. They are designed to cultivate a sense of calm and clarity while honing in on awareness.
We all know that having a positive mindset can do wonders for our attitude. When we allow ourselves to get into a negative and pessimistic mindset, we cannot look on the bright side of a situation. One way I combat these tendencies is to conduct self-affirmation parties. When I say affirmations aloud, I feel more optimistic and less worried. A few of my favorites are below:
“I choose to let go of my fear”
“I choose to forgive and let go of anger”
“I will come through this challenge with a better understanding of myself”
“I deserve happiness”
Did you know studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication; obviously without the side-effects. Anything that gets me moving helps to relieve stress I’ve encountered that day; as well as give me a boost of mental energy. My favorite daily exercise is jogging / walking outdoors. It’s a great way to get fresh air and get in a good headspace. This week take some time to find an exercise that works for you. Since the body and mind are closely linked together, when your body feels good will your mind will too!
I truly hope at least one of these techniques help you on your journey to inner peace and good mental health. Always remember, your truth can save someone’s life. Never allow anyone to make you feel ashamed of what you have gone through. We are going to normalize mental health, good bad and ugly!