In today's society, we are a fast moving environment, constantly racing to do one task after the next. But one thing we seem to neglect is our mental health. Now I do understand we're all trying to live our best lives, but what's the point if you can't fully enjoy it? According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 1 out of every 4 people suffers from at least one mental illness. Now while erasing mental illness completely is unavoidable, I believe if we all take the time to slow down and deal with our issues as they appear we can progress even further in life, and completely enjoy the fruits of our labor.
What is It?
First off let's start with the basics. What is a mental illness? It's a health condition involving changes in a person's emotion, thinking and/or behavior. It's a pretty common issue in the world, with about 792 million people suffering from it or substance abuse (Our World in Data,2018) some examples include: anxiety, depression, bipolar and eating disorders, OCD and, PTSD. Mental health disorders can take many forms but the most common is anxiety and depression. This article will talk about how to manage these two in particular.
Anxiety is your body's natural response to stress, feeling nervousness or fear about certain events. It becomes a disorder when these feelings become very extreme, and/or happens daily.
Depression is a medical illness that negatively affects the way you feel, think or act. It causes feelings of sadness or losing interest in daily activities or even in some extreme cases, losing the will to live.
Now that we know it is, what can we do to prevent/stop it ? Here are some methods that I have found work for me and others:
Listening to calm and relaxing music has always been a quick fix for many people. Some people like the sounds of waves, rain, nature or even just instrumentals. Even through this is a common “cure-all” genre, be open to trying out new ones. I personally have been listening to lo-fi music for the past year and it's been keeping me centered all this time.
Controlling the flow of your breathing can be very beneficial in slowing down your heart rate, helping you relax, and lower stress. Here is one my exercises i do weekly:
Start with slow, deep breaths in and out.
With every inhale think about gathering all of your energy in your core (stomach)
Relax your muscles while exhaling. Repeat as necessary. This can be used to keep you centered as well
This is my favorite one. Meditation is using your mind to focus on one thought, or activity whether that is breathing, or a memory that brings you peace. Here are two methods, one quick, and one lengthy to help you regain composure. Pair these with the breathing techniques that we mentioned earlier for optimal results.
Start with sitting down in a relatively quiet place, then start taking slow deep breaths. While doing so let your thoughts run free in your mind, not focusing on one thought for too long. Make sure to continue to relax muscles after every exhale and keep a mental note of your breathing, as it is easy to lose track while meditating. Repeat as necessary.
The next method requires the opposite. Instead of letting your thoughts float away, tackle them head on. Start with whatever is bothering you first and apply critical thinking. Ask yourself these questions: How did this happen? What was my part in this? How can I make sure this doesn't happen to me again?
The reason there is so much emphasis on the “I” perspective is because meditation is meant to focus on the “self” not others. You can only control what you and you alone can do. Once you’re ready to accept that, your frustrations and anxiety will significantly decrease.
Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment using aromatic scents to improve the health of the mind, body and spirit. It is not a standalone treatment, so it works better with others, and is not to be replaced with any treatment plan approved by your doctor. Other than aiding with depression, it has also been said to reduce nausea, muscle and headaches, improve sleep quality, reduce stress and anxiety, and also boost immunity.
There are plenty of ways to use aromatherapy, you can light scented candles, burn incense, when taking a shower/bath you can use bath salts/bombs and scented soap, and you can also apply essential oils to the pulse points of your body. When using it topically be mindful that essential oils are highly concentrated and should be diluted before using them. If you are looking for an all natural alternative, please check out our shop section.
There also other methods that have shown to help people during stress such as:
Finding hobbies or a passion that motivates you (mines happens to be helping people!)
Talking out your problems with a trusted person or therapist
If you are a spiritual person, you can carry crystals with you or burn sage to ward off negative energy
In the end there are plenty of ways to deal with our daily stress and anxiety, but it all starts with how you perceive it. If you feel like you still need more help dealing with these issues, please get in touch with a mental health professional that can assist you even further. If you have some tips of your own on how you’ve dealt with mental issues, please feel free to let us know in the comments.
Who.int. 2021. The World Health Report 2001: Mental Disorders affect one in four people. [online] Available at: <https://www.who.int/news/item/28-09-2001-the-world-health-report-2001-mental-disorders-affect-one-in-four-people>
Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) - "Mental Health". Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health'
"Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And More." Healthline. N.p., 2021. Web. 1 Mar. 2021 . <https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety>.
Cronkleton, Emily. "What Is Aromatherapy And How Does It Help Me?." Healthline. N.p., 2019. Web. 8 Mar. 2021 . <https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-aromatherapy#how-does-it-work?>.