Understanding and Caring for your Mental Health
Posted on 14th May 2021 at 21:22
We look at some of the common questions surrounding mental health, understanding your own mental wellbeing and how to get help.
What is Mental Health?
Mental Health refers to the condition of your mental wellbeing. One thing to note is that it’s not just the ‘mentally unwell’ which have mental health, we all do! Just like physical health, our mental health is on a spectrum, from good through to poor. We can also have ‘episodes’ of mental illness just like we do when we physically feel ill from a cold or sickness for example. Our mental health can also change from one day to the next – a little like we can experience a 24-hour bug!
What is a Mental Health Problem?
Mental health becomes a problem when we have difficulties coping with how we’re feeling, thinking or even behaving. It’s important to know feeling sad, worried or anxious are feelings which everyone experiences in response to the situations around them. For example, feeling sad after a break up or angry with a friend who has done you wrong. However, it’s crucial to recognise when these emotions are becoming an issue in order to discourage those feelings developing further or deeper. If we experience any of these things for long period of time where they affect our day to day lives and general functioning, we should act.
Just as ill health is not a sign of weak character – neither is poor mental health. Everyone experiences poor mental health at some point in their lives and mental health problems are experienced by each person uniquely.
Types of Mental Health Problems
Just as we can define medical problems and illnesses; we can define mental health problems into types also. Common conditions include, depression, anxiety, panic disorders, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder. But, our brains, just like our bodies are complex things so these illnesses can run alongside each other, act in unison or even exasperate one another.
Mental and physical health also have a relationship with and effect on one another. If we’re experiencing an illness or need surgery for example, we see our mental health suffer as a result. Equally, you can experience physical symptoms from poor mental health – raised temperature, sweating, heart palpitations, trembling, headaches and stomach cramps to name a few.
What Causes Mental Health Problems?
There is no definitive guide or list of causes for mental health issues. As we all experience mental stimuli and situations differently, they affect us in ways personal to us. We can however suggest some life events which or occasions where mental health problems may occur as a result of exposure. Such as relationship worries, work problems, money worries, family issues, bullying, abuse, discrimination, external pressures and bereavement. Of course, this list isn’t limited; you may recognise some of these as being a cause for your own mental health struggles, or you may have a situation or experience which doesn’t appear here. We’ve also written a piece around recognising the signs of stress and anxiety and how to cope which you can read here.
How Can I Look After My Mental Health?
As we’ve mentioned, physical health is intrinsically linked to mental and emotional wellbeing. Look after ourselves, eating well and exercising often. Staying hydrated is also important, as well as trying to get enough sleep. Meeting our basic needs means our brains can function with more capacity and efficiency.
Spending quality with ourselves doing the things we love! We have some ideas over on our social media including simple things such as reading a book, talking a walk or getting creative. Of course, as unique as we are we will all enjoy different activities and our ideal downtime will look personal to us! This enables the mind and body to relax, to switch off or become distracted for a short while whilst we process the day-to-day mental stresses of life.
Recognising when we need to talk things out with someone, or to even have a good rant! Speaking to a trusted friend about our thoughts and feelings tends to benefit our mental state of mind. The phrase ‘get things off your chest’ refers to the physiological weight of our reflections and emotions being lifted once we express them. It can feel like a great relief and eases the pressure on your mental health.
Getting Help for Mental Health
1 in 3 people say they have experienced mental health problems, although these are just the reported cases. In reality, it's almost impossible for someone to go through their whole lives without going through some sort of mental difficulty. We’re getting better as a nation talking about this, but there is still very much a stigma attached, with many people being ashamed to ‘admit’ their struggles. We are big believers in changing this mindset and breaking the stigma associated with and surrounding mental illness. If you are finding your mental health a battle, no matter why, how long for or for what reason you should feel safe and confident in seeking the help you need and deserve. As we would if worried about a medical or physical issue – we would consult a professional, a GP or maybe visit the hospital. There are many places which you can turn to for support, advice and information including ourselves. Here at Relate we pride ourselves in having a team of experienced, knowledgeable and highly qualified counsellors and therapists to deliver the best service possible. Our individual counselling sessions can help you to explore your thoughts, learn about your feelings and understand your own behaviour. All in turn helping to serve your personal wellbeing and improve your mental health.
Give us a call on 0115 958 4278 to arrange your FREE 30 minute session.
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