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Mental Health

Mental Health

Mental Health is probably one of the most talked-about topics of today’s time and this current generation. Ever since I was young I was always taught you have to be healthy so you can grow up to live a long happy life. A few big questions always lingered; what is healthy? And what is a happy life? And what does your mental health have to do with it? 

For me growing up being healthy involved getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, following the food pyramid, eating more fruits/veggies, and working out almost daily. That was the recipe to success to be healthy I was taught while growing up. To be happy well that was always a little bit more complicated because being happy tends to be linked to dreams and goals. However, I was always told if I had friends and my family by my side I’ll always be happy even if I am not able to reach my dreams; at that moment. To this day I still follow these rules pretty closely except I learned if my mindset, my brain, or my thoughts are not aligned I will never be able to move forward being physically healthy or happy. It would just be fake which only does even more damage and ruins the good moments in life. 

We all talk about mental health but what exactly is mental health? Per Oxford Languages Mental Health is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. In other words, it is the thoughts and feelings in your mind that affect your day-to-day actions or life. At times you may be able to hide it but at others, it could be unavoidable. Sometimes these emotions/feelings are brought on by stresses in the world, our own stresses, overthinking, or other outside forces affect our everyday thoughts and feelings. 

A lot of us were raised by our parents who have probably said, “I want you to be better than I was. That is why I push you so hard”. And that is absolutely wonderful however for me constantly hearing that I subconsciously always put in my mind I HAD to be better. I had to push myself in school and in sports to physically show that I was either with a report card or a trophy. Looking back it was not awful however now that I am an adult I still have those mindsets and habits of constantly trying to be better where I push myself to work almost 60 hours a week to show that I am dedicated. I take calls and emails when I am on vacation or taking a personal day. Mentally I was constantly drained.  I say “was” because I know how much I drove myself to the point where I was burnt out, excited to work, and had to take a step back and figure why. But also how to fix it. 

Another thing that affects our mental health is a true modern-day problem is with social media and Modern ways of communication. We constantly see everyone’s highlight reel and you always see/hear about someone’s new job when you hate yours. We compare ourselves mentally if they are there and I’m all the way back here why am I not good enough. The scenarios go on, and on, and on, and on. One area that probably bothers me the most is when parents compare their kids. Nothing bothers me more than hearing my dad talk about how great of an athlete my brother was. Mind you my brother quit sports in high school while I went on to play in college. Looking back there was nothing to compare to. We played different sports, we trained differently, and in fact, we were different people with our own strengths and weaknesses. Whenever I hear someone comparing one of my siblings to my successes I make it a point to remind them. We are different people, who grew up at different times, we are not the same and that is so much better than us being identical in successes. 

What I am trying to say is there is no one-way path to what affects your mental health because there are so many ways in which it can be affected. What is important is trying to figure out what is causing you to feel like your mental health is not okay; and what can you do to fix it. Because Mental Health is spoken more openly and freely now there are so many options. A big on all discussed is therapy. Please note seeing a therapist does not make you weak. In fact, I think it makes you really strong because you know something is off and you want to get better to improve your life as well as the relationships and lives you also live in. Now if therapy is not your thing or something you feel comfortable with there are tons of activities that you can do to relax and help clear your mind to help you become mentally healthy. The thing about your mental health is it is your mental health, so you have to find the activities that make you feel the most alive. I consider these activities that get you out of your head, blow off steam, release stress, and relax. It could be things like playing guitar, doing yoga, running, coloring, or even meditating. 

For me, I always try to work on my mental health daily because I want to be the best self I can be each day. I can’t be that person if I’m not okay in my head. So when I feel overwhelmed I write down what I need to get done. When I feel extra stress and anxiety I work out. When I feel like the day got the best of me (yelled at work, failed, all the bad things I say in my head) I pour myself a glass of wine and draw a bubble bath. When things don’t feel right I call a friend and try and figure out what’s off. I mean I can go on and on about what I do to help improve my mental health. The trick is it may be one thing that calms you down, ease your nerves, relaxes your mind, or it may be twenty. I truly encourage you to figure out what is going to work best for you so you can live a happier and healthier life. 

One thing I do want to point out that I have also noticed, As big of a fuss people make about mental health, as much research, evidence, facts, stories, and statistics that have come out showing how important mental health is; there are people who still do not believe it exists. That part is what absolutely drives me crazy. I have met so many people who know they need to talk to a therapist but do not because their parents just believe they are lonely, need a friend, or are going through a phase. People who do not think depression or anxiety could affect their children; “I know my child; it is just a phase” is something I have heard too many times. The scarier side is there are people who need to see a therapist but consider it a bunch of “hocus pocus” 

Nobody knows your body better than you do, trust yourself and know when you need to take action. I say this because since the pandemic has started suicide rates have rapidly increased which also means mental health struggles have also rapidly increased. If you are struggling please reach out for help; you matter and the world will not be a better place without you in it I can assure you that. Check-In on your family and friends especially those who live alone, check in on your strong friends, just check in on everyone. Please remember it is okay not to be okay; the first step is admitting. A wise person once told me your mind is part of your body; when your arm or leg is broken you do not keep playing on it you work on it to heal it and make it better. Do the same when your mind is not okay. You are a strong person and no matter what is happening I believe you can get through it. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts please call 800-273-8255

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