Home Mental Health & Well-Being Mental Health Is a Journey of Personal Growth and Resilience

Mental Health Is a Journey of Personal Growth and Resilience

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Mental health is a global issue that affects individuals in different ways. This experience depends on background, personal experiences, and circumstances. It’s crucial to prioritise mental health issues, even though they’re often overlooked. Ignorance is not always intentional, but sometimes, we fail to recognise its necessity.

Mental health problems can affect behaviour, thinking and mood. It changes how people think, feel, and act, influencing their interactions, daily lives, and decisions. When mental health problems arise, they can make these things significantly challenging. These disruptions in behaviour, thinking, and mood can lead to various consequences, including reduced quality of life, physical health problems, Difficulty concentrating, completing daily tasks, maintaining relationships, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addictive behaviours.

Overcoming mental health issues is a personal journey, requiring commitment, self-compassion, and a willingness to explore various approaches. Here’s a breakdown of some key strategies:

Normalise the experience

Recognising and accepting mental health struggles as an average human experience is crucial. Combating stigma and seeking support become more accessible when we understand these challenges are uncommon. This makes it easier for individuals to openly discuss their struggles without fear of judgement, shame, or discrimination.

Sharing

Sharing with a trusted, understanding, empathetic, and nonjudgmental person helps ease isolation and provides valuable encouragement. This could include family members, friends, partners, support groups, or online communities. These individuals can act as a safe space to share experiences. Also, sharing struggles with them can help them feel less alone and provide opportunities for them to offer help and understanding.

Self-care

Prioritising self-care activities to improve physical and mental well-being is essential. This could involve healthy sleep habits for 7–8 hours of quality sleep each night. A balanced diet is achieved by having nutritious meals and snacks to fuel the body and mind. Regular enjoyable physical activity, like walking, running, yoga, or dancing, for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Relaxation techniques, like mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation, can help manage stress and promote calmness.

Engaged with enjoyable activities

Engaging in pleasurable activities can be a powerful tool for managing mental health challenges. When found to be meaningful and fulfilling, these activities can contribute significantly to overall well-being. Pursuing hobbies that bring joy and a sense of accomplishment can provide a welcome escape from daily stressors and foster feelings of relaxation and satisfaction. Spending time with loved ones can offer a sense of belonging, companionship, and emotional support. Activities like cooking, playing music, writing, or any form of creative expression can be a healthy outlet for emotions, promote relaxation, and foster a sense of accomplishment. Spending time in nature through walks in the park, gardening, or simply sitting outdoors, can reduce stress, improve mood, and promote calmness and peace.

Focus on the world around you: The constant whirring of thoughts can be overwhelming, but there’s a simple way to quiet the mental storm and reconnect with the present moment. This technique involves engaging the senses and focusing on the world around them. Start by finding a quiet, comfortable space. Take a few deep breaths, gently shift attention outward, and ask yourself:

  • What are five things I can see?
  • What are four things I can hear?
  • What can I smell?
  • What does it feel like to touch my knees or something else I can reach? 
  • How does it feel underneath my fingers?

This simple practice, repeated regularly, can help you cultivate a sense of calm and awareness in the present moment, offering a welcome respite from the mental whirlwind.

Seeking professional help

When feeling overwhelmed or unable to manage challenges alone, one must seek professional help. Therapists, counsellors, and psychiatrists offer various evidence-based treatments, including therapy, medication, or a combination tailored to individual needs and circumstances. These professionals can provide invaluable support and guidance on improving well-being.

Recognising the importance of prioritising mental health is crucial. Support systems can be helpful, but people who don’t have one must actively look for resources and help on their own. Taking care of mental health is very important, and getting professional help can make a big difference in quality of life. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help rather than showing strength and resilience.




Dr Saimun Farhana is a public health student at Birmingham City University.

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