I GIVE THANKS FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH
We all are in a state of mental health but are we mentally healthy? Thankfully, from a personal perspective, I seem to have departed from years of predominantly depressive over & undertones to generally being very upbeat. When things do upset me I have managed to nip my feelings in the bud by refusing them too much headroom. This is not an easy practice and something I have been practising regularly for the last few years. We cannot eliminate our feelings and need them to some extent, so the best thing is to acknowledge them all- anxiety, anger or betrayal; in fact, we need to look at the causes of these feelings and see if there are any possible actions we can take to improve the situation. In addition to the things we can do, one important action could be the decision to do nothing and this should be employed when a situation that affects you directly is beyond your control. Suppose you dislike tattoos and your teenager comes home with a nightmare of a tattoo? The way you react depends upon your emotional state. If you are a confident person you would probably acknowledge that there is nothing you can do about the situation however you are free to have your say. Sometimes the less emotion you show, the better- when verbal fireworks are set off everyone feels bad except the teenager who may be left in their element!
I have heard that it was recently National Suicide Prevention week in America. A very serious matter and whereas some of us have felt suicidal at times most of us do not follow through. Suicidal feelings often result from a sense of powerlessness regardless of the situation that led to those feelings. A suicidal person is focused on everything that they view as bad in their lives to the point whereby they do not wish to continue. A great mental people suffer with recognised mental conditions which may benefit from treatment, but even more of us go through dark periods.The problem is, when you feel bad and allow bad feelings to grow they turn into despair. Usually people who become trapped these feelings have low self-esteem and may not even see the point of trying ways to lift their spirit. Depression really can take over if it is given free reign. At this point in my life I can understand the chain reaction- cause and effect, however was not familiar with it back then. The knowledge that we really are in control of our minds and can train them is fairly new to me. I have learnt that if we increase our practice of ‘mindfulness’ we create space for ideas to form- solutions to our problems. Clearing the mind prevents mind chatter and when we really focus on positive ideas our outlook will change for the better.
I think it would help if we were all more observant within our own families and friendships. When life is busy it becomes easy to overlook what is under our noses, especially if people just say they are fine. If you speak with people and listen properly you may be able to tune into their moods sooner and help them look at their worries before they become over-whelmed. Being over-burdened is one factor that can lead to suicide. Feeling that nobody loves you or cares about you feeds into that mindset and unfortunately people tend to look at the evidence that backs their point of view. Love is not easy to define or easy to express, especially when we see people every day. We try to remember to tell people that we love them- some people consider this un-necessary because they believe their actions demonstrate love. Ideally the two go together as we should naturally choose to do loving things for those we care about. If we identify someone we know to be depressed, low etc maybe we can try showing appreciation for some of the things they do or say. If we truly feel valued we begin to value ourselves and believe we have purpose. A sense of uselessness and lack of purpose contribiute towards a poor mental state, possibly endorsing the decision to commit suicide.
There will always be people who appear outwardly happy whilst internalising pain, the true masters of disguise, and this discovery is a tremendous shock to all who know that person. We don’t always see the breakdown coming and certainly should never blame ourselves as we do not control others. People have choices and one choice is not allowing circumstances to dictate our behaviour. This is a very strong message that I have been hearing of late and definitely on point. We need to take action and can change our circumstances through a little creative thinking, applying gut determination. This might mean moving up- in my case it meant moving out! The question is, ‘is the unknown likely to be worse than the known?’ My answer is that it will be different.
Good mental health needs to be nurtured just as much as physical health. Having an 'attitude of gratitude' is recognised as an essential factor contributing to excellent mental health. Allow time to really look at life, gather your thoughts, see how different words, situations, relationships affect you. Once you have some understanding you can make predictions and follow through with actions. We all know that if we do the same thing we get the same results- that’s not just theory, it’s virtually scientific! If you want good mental health make changes that will help sustain great feelings and generate success in all areas of your life.
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