The discussion of mental health has become a taboo of some sort in today's society. There's a certain type of fear when the topic comes up; it's almost like we're afraid of being labeled or being called "crazy." But what many fail to realize is how far that silence is holding us back from fixing such a critical problem. Just like our physical health, mental health is a crucial part of our daily lives that deserves our undivided attention. The type of information we consume, who we associate ourselves with, our current circumstances, the behaviors we tolerate from other people and those we act out, all play an important role in how we feel about ourselves and how we approach life.
There has been a slight disconnect between our mental health and what is happening in our outer world, and that is something we need to fix. In light of World Mental Health Day, we listed a number of reasons why you should pay close attention to your mental health.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed therapist or psychologist. The tips shared below are based on my own personal experiences.
1. Leads To Better Physical Health. "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy," said the great Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Seriously though, us fit girls see the correlation here. The endurance you put your body through, the sweat that you break, the food you consume - this plays an important role on your insides, your brain. Think about how great you feel after working out for 60 minutes or how rejuvenated you feel after getting a good night's sleep. Taking care of your body is an awesome way to relieve stress, which in turn releases endorphins and boosts your self-confidence, ultimately reducing the chances of suffering from depression and anxiety.
2. Helps Develop a Stronger Work Ethic and Stability. A 2012 study conducted by the World Health Organization shows that roughly 200 million work days are lost each year because of depression, and five out of those ten leading causes of disability are related to mental health. Unfortunately, this means that individuals with untreated mental health issues have the possibility of facing economic hardship.
Having good mental health improves productivity, performance, consistent work attendance, and more, according to the Rhode Island Psychological Association. This can also come in handy if your employer encourages it. If your employer doesn't have a mental health initiative implemented within their curriculum, now is the time to do say something.
3. Healthy Relationships: The most important relationship you'll ever have is with yourself. The way you treat yourself - and I'm not just talking about trips to the spa and shopping sprees, but the context of your daily thoughts - is reflective of the type of people and relationships you attract. Granted, sometimes, we come across people who tend to disappoint us, but I've learned that it is all about how you treat yourself and how you rise to become a better version of yourself after going through those moments. Discipline doesn't only apply to how hard you work in the gym or at work. Discipline is essential to having healthy relationships. Set limits to what you can and cannot tolerate from a person. Set boundaries when it comes to negative people. Let go of the negative self-talk, pessimistic over-analysis, and self-criticism. You are important, and you deserve peace.
4. A Better Quality of Life. Stress is inevitable in our lives, but we must learn to manage it. If we lose this control, it can turn into chronic stress and ultimately, contribute to migraines, fatigue, muscle tension, and even worse, heart attacks. Managing stress and maintaining good mental health can lead to being able to handle the ups and downs of life in a better way, make better life choices, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and it can help you discover your own potential.
Caring for your mind is just as important as caring for your body. Not only will you live longer, you will live better. Like treatments for the flu or diabetes, there are many ways to ease depression and mental illnesses, like meditation, therapy, writing in your journal, exercising, or just simply talking about it with a friend. Don't let your mental struggles define what's in store for your future. Let's not ignore this issue.