Let's All Work On Mental Wellness
One in five people suffers from mental illness.
Look around you. The chances are good that one out of every five people you can think of probably struggles with a mental illness. It could be someone you see every day at school or work. It could be the people sitting next to you at Mass.
A broken bone is something that we can easily recognize, and it usually can be easily fixed. There’s a clear-cut start date when it happened and a set day when you will be able to walk again. People who suffer from mental illness aren’t so lucky. They don’t know when they’ll ever feel okay again; and at the beginning, they feel like they never will.
May is mental health awareness month. Mental health may seem to be a buzzword right now or a trending topic, but I think it’s because we are realizing now more than ever how important it is to take care of your mind and emotions. There have always been so many tips and tricks for losing weight, eating healthy and taking care of your body, but not enough on how to take care of your mind.
Mental health isn’t just for people who suffer from a diagnosed mental illness. Mental wellness is something that everyone should focus on and work to grow. It’s important to take care of all parts of you, body, mind, and soul. Here are a few ideas on how to practice better mental health.
Be vulnerable with someone. Let them know what’s going on in your head. If you ever have thoughts of taking your life or even wishing you were dead, tell someone. It’s hard and it’s terrifying, but tell someone you trust. You don’t have to fight this battle alone. Be open and pour your heart out. Sometimes expressing how you feel helps to sort things out. And if you see someone struggling, ask them the difficult questions about how they’re truly feeling. You might be the only one who takes a moment to ask how they really feel inside, rather than the mask they wear to hide the pain they feel.
Commit to making the changes that need to be made. Mental health isn’t like what you see in the movies; it’s not glamorous. It’s actually really hard work, some more so for others. Sometimes you have to pick yourself up and do the difficult things that need to be done. Sometimes this means apologizing to someone for something you said when you were hurting and sometimes it means scheduling an appointment with a doctor or therapist to see if there’s something deeper going on. Work hard to do the difficult things that will change your life.
Be grateful. Even though you may be in a hopeless place right now, stop to take a moment and be conscious of all the blessings that surround you. Take a moment to notice how beautiful the sunshine is, listen to the birds chirp in the morning, notice how delicate the flowers are. Say this simple prayer, My God, my heart hurts right now, but thank you for this beautiful world. Or thank you for this friend, this food, this experience, whatever it may be. Take time to be thankful for the little things and write down everyday things that you are grateful for.
“Never give up on someone with a mental illness. When ‘I’ is replaced with ‘we,’ illness becomes wellness.” This is a powerful quote by Shannon Alder that shows the power we have to bring wellness to those around us. Reach out to others. Be kind. Be understanding. Be gentle with others, especially when it’s hard. Everyone is fighting a battle on the inside that you know nothing about. Treat one another with the grace and peace of Christ and that is how you can change this world, one person at a time.