2018 was the start of a conversation about mental health. Let’s not waste it in 2019
I still have a private practice for clients alongside my corporate work. Over the 21 years I have been helping individuals with mental health and well-being. January and February always became the main months for people wanting to lose weight and stop smoking/vaping.
With the increased profile of mental wellness it’s been refreshing to see a development of more honesty towards our own and others emotions and feelings. A greater discussion and willingness to be open about ourselves and how we are truly feeling has led to revealing a previously undisclosed pool of depression, anxiety, OCD and chronic physical illnesses that may have been brought on through prolonged stress.
Having helped in excess of 3000 individuals I’m acutely aware of how the façade of a confident, successful, positively aspirational person does not reflect the inner mental struggle that may be taking place underneath.
In some cases, blanketing of issues of emotional damage from earlier years. If you’ve ever lost somebody close to yourself that took their own life it can leave a permanent reminder that people may not be reflecting on the outside what they are feeling inside.
January used to be the season of diet books, losing weight, joining gyms, getting fit, quitting smoking. I’m not saying that’s still not the case but in my experience people just want to be happy and comfortable with themselves and their lives.
For some of my corporate work I work alongside and in conjunction with a very successful physical health training company who services both private and corporate clients and have their own gym facilities.
The reason I mention that is mental and physical health may be called separate things but they both influence the whole person. Mental health therapy can have immense benefits for the individual. Even just an understanding of ourselves is the first step in advancing our clarity of our mental side and what we can do to help ourselves
Physical therapy i.e. exercise is another form of mental therapy that reduces down our stress levels; helps in our body’s mental sensibilities. It may sound a little crazy but cooking or knitting or working on a crossword or jigsaw puzzle can help to engage and distract us from what may be stressful, anxious or dark thoughts.
I’m not saying that anyone can bake or run or swim their way out of suffering with anxiety. The more conventional therapies and treatments need to be applied to achieve resolution. Nor am I saying that what works for one person will necessarily work for everyone when it comes to the ‘distraction’ strategies. However, applying the mental gym (I have developed a stress and anxiety elimination program that works for everyone) alongside these 'distraction strategies' helps immensely with recovery and management.
Having helped 8 year olds up to 80 year olds there is no age parameter that dictates when a mental health condition may come about. With the right help and advice, we can help ourselves prevent and eliminate mental suffering and be happy and comfortable in our own skin.
It’s ok to admit you may be struggling and seek help. It’s acceptable. If you break a limb you seek correct help. You’re not broken permanently, there is a way out.
I absolutely believe our ‘default’ state is happy and comfortable. You do not see young children suffering with stress, anxiety or depression. Until they get into the ‘system’. The defrag required in order to reboot back to our default state, even with quite serious mental conditions can be a lot easier and quicker than you think.
In my experience once a person has been helped over an acute episode of mental illness, depending on their disposition, they need to be empowered with the knowledge, awareness and ability to recognise, manage and eliminate any potential recurrence.
This doesn’t happen with everyone but it’s best to be prepared. For many individuals, generally the ones that think, logic and analyse too much, they learn to recognise early signs and nip them in the bud. Hence the suggestion for practical ways both mental and physical for us to maintain equilibrium, sensibility, clarity, comfort and happiness.
The old adage prevention rather than cure and setting up in ourselves mentally resilient ways helps us bring greater sensibility and empowerment to those traumatic situations that we may be presented with in life.
With the raised profile of mental health and wellbeing, even by the government, the argument is that giving people more time to relax and do whatever drains the stresses from their lives, we could ultimately lead more comfortable and happier lives. Or at least we might, so long as we didn’t fritter away all that extra free time in staring at a smartphone, tablet or computer screen.
Many individuals I help whether they be business owners, board directors, managers, employees, housewives etc. may have different pursuits, passions and needs but the one constant is that they want to feel happy and comfortable.
There is no one generic practical agenda to apply as they may lead different lives, however, the one constant available to all is their ability to adjust and change their mental sensibilities to achieve happiness and comfort in themselves and their lives.
Viewed through an individuals’ particular lens, the pursuit of happiness may sound anything but easy. It’s good to be reminded that, sometimes, happiness is in the small things. But it may take changes in our mental understanding and application before everyone has the true inner happiness they desire and deserve.
Plan to make this year the year that you stop just thinking about making your life healthier, happier and more comfortable and begin to take steps and be active to make those things a reality.