All of us look to be more mentally resilient, and here we are, sat basking in Mental Health Awareness Week. The disbelief that we even have a Mental Health Awareness Week at all! How far we have come.
Mental health issues were utterly taboo not that long ago—a sign of absolute weakness and something you didn’t want to ‘catch’ yourself. So many people were being placed in institutions for simple things like not coping with menopause, being overrun with family life, having a breakdown because you were forcing yourself to stick out a university course that meant nothing to you. The list goes on and on.
In the early part of just the last century, people were classed ‘feeble minded’ and institutionalised. After leaving home for being at the hands of their stepfather or male family member, women would then find a place in an institution. The family member, who wouldn’t accept them back after being accused of improper behaviour, carried on regardless. Obvious now to see why mental health wasn’t a discussion when you are being placed in this light when in fact, you were the victim of wrong behaviour.
As times moved on, you would become subject to all manner of taunts and names hurling at you. Compounding the unsettled feeling in your head and making you feel you’re at fault. To blame. Feel ashamed. Less than.
Thankfully we have come a long way since those days.
Life is more open, and we share our inner concerns more. We talk about what’s going on for us and have friends we can confide in or professionals we can seek out. And that can only be a good thing. The adage of a problem shared is a problem halved, or my version ‘a problem shared is a problem cared’.
Let’s look at three easy ways to care for your problems and yourself.
I’m the only one!
It is effortless for your mind to think you are the only one experiencing a particular problem and keep yourself trapped in embarrassment or shame or permanent angst. Some issues you face in your life can leave you thinking nobody has ever had the same as you. It isn’t true! Nothing is new in our world that someone hasn’t had to deal with in one way or another.
Self-care: Next time you choose to isolate yourself with thoughts like that, always remember you won’t be alone. And, if that is the case, there is always a solution! Each time you do this you will be able to be more mentally resilient next time this occurs.
When you find yourself wanting to improve your life or an aspect of it, and you are happily making a plan – then it comes. It starts like a tiny kitten meowing quietly in your head and very soon turns into an entire troop of monkey hijacking your head. ‘You’re not good enough’, ‘someone else if far more capable’, ‘who do you think you are?’, ‘truthfully, you can’t be bothered, so don’t’. On and on, and on and on that voice will go until you take control of it
Self-care: Tell it to sod off! Shut up; I’m doing it! Get out of my way, for I am coming through! Yell and rant at it until you have wrestled it to the floor. Your life is your life, and the loud noise that comes to all of us must remain small and silent in the corner of your mind. It will never go, but you will become better at spotting it. And be warned, it is a sneaky little sucker that will come at you through the back door – be ready for it and take your intelligent mind back and claim your brilliant life!
Judge and Jury.
Do you find yourself worrying about what others think of you? How many likes you have? What you are wearing isn’t good enough—comparing your life to someone else’s—in short – judging yourself. We judge ourselves for all manner of reasons and beat ourselves up for good measure.
Now flip this around and look at how you judge others too. It will be just as harshly, and thoughts that fly through your mind about someone will be pretty horrid at times. We have all been there with this one and rather than helping you be more mentally resilient, it has the opposite effect. So let me put this straight at you – when you stop judging yourself so harshly, you will stop judging others too. The two things go hand in hand.
Self Care: This is a vast topic, but if you can start to look upon yourself favourably and strangers walking by you in the same way, life becomes sweeter and brighter. Everyone has a story and a reason they are how they are. You would find your jaw dropping to the floor if you were to chat to people and how they got so far along with their lives. Saying ‘be kind’ should be banned unless there has been enough thought behind what that means. Rest assured, it always starts with yourself. Stop beating yourself up, remind yourself about your brilliant mind and stride out and do some good in this world.
While we find ourselves lucky enough to have a mental health awareness week, we can take a moment, too, to recognise there is much to be done. To become more mentally resilient, well, that starts with you and ensuring that you nourish your mind as well as you nourish your body. Protect it and strengthen it as often as you can. You can do this daily with HERE with a message a day. Where your mind flows, your body follows.
Finally, remember there is no shame in reaching out to friends, family or professionals when you cannot keep yourself in a good space. At some point in your life, this will be the sensible thing to do.
You can help yourself or a friend to keep in a good space mentally HERE