Physically You’re Fine, But How’s Your Mind?

If you’ve been reading the health and fitness section of the blog, then hopefully you know the importance of keeping your body fit and healthy and have incorporated the tips you’ve learned there into your daily routine. However, it’s important to remember that being healthy isn’t just about what’s going on under the skin. It’s about what’s going on in the brain. Below, we take a look at mental health: what causes it, the different types, and, if you’re suffering, how you begin your journey to a clearer, happier state of mind.


Global Epidemic


There’s a lot of problems going on around the world, including political strive and obesity epidemics, but it’s actually mental health concerns that pose some of the biggest risks to the prosperity of humankind. The numbers are pretty sobering. There is a whole host of problems that have amplified significantly over the past couple of decades. Whereas only a small percentage of the population was diagnosed with anxiety and other mental health problems in 1980, today the problem affects somewhere close to half the population. This is partly because of increased awareness and diagnosis, but even factoring in those things, the numbers are hitting pretty harrowing levels.


Contributing Causes


There’s no single factor that causes mental illness. It’s a combination of various factors that determine why one person can suffer from conditions and others don’t. There are genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors – and a healthy dose of bad luck – that determines a person’s mental health. If you have parents who suffered from mental disorders, and then, say, you lost your job after a bad injury; you would be more likely to suffer from mental health issues.


Types of Mental Health Problems


People tend to lump ‘mental illness’ conditions altogether, under one big umbrella, but they’re much more nuanced than that. These types of problems can manifest themselves in a whole host of ways; the only common thread between them all is that they are issues that stem from the mind, not the body. Standard conditions include anxiety, depression, paranoia, psychosis, body image issues, and schizophrenia.


Supporting Friends and Family


When it comes to the mind, it’s not easy dealing with personal relationships. Whether you’re suffering from a mental health problem yourself or someone in your family is, these types of problems always cause tensions, misunderstandings, and push the boundaries of the relationship. Some problems are harder to deal with than others. If a loved one has a psychotic episode, you might be distressed by their sophisticated delusions and instability. If your friend is suffering from bipolar depression, you might need to learn how to handle the emotional roller coaster as they swing from mania to depression.The key is to be patient and to support your friend or family member as best you can.


What To Do If You Need Help?


If you’re not feeling right for longer than you think is normal, then it’s possible that you’re suffering from some mental illness. Above everything, it’s important that you reach out and try to get help. A lot of people with mental health problems exacerbate the problem because they don’t want to bother people, or they’re ashamed of what’s happening to them. In this day and age, no one will bat an eyelid if you say you need help. Reach out for support, and you’ll be unburdening yourself of a secret, and can begin the journey towards getting better.


Natural Remedies


While some issues might require professional treatment to be overcome, there are many things that people can do to improve their mental health. Indeed, doing these activities will help maintain a good frame of mind, acting as a preventative measure. Exercise and the outdoors have been shown to do wonders for our mental well-being. If you’re beginning to feel down, then put on the old running shoes and go for a long run; you’ll get all those endorphins – what we consider ‘happy chemicals’ flowing – in the process. Also, spend some time in nature. We’re always indoors these days when we should really be outdoors. A night under the stars might just do the trick!


Find a Routine


As well as being more active, it’s important that you find a routine. When our mind isn’t as healthy as possible, the first thing to be compromised is the ability to take care of ourselves. Our homes can get messy; we can skip showers, and so on. Even though it might be difficult, it’s important that you push yourself to do all the usual daily tasks; it’ll help you on your way to getting better. Going to bed at a reasonable time and not sleeping in too late will also be a positive influence.


Be Wary of Roadblocks


Because mental health problems can creep up on us, we sometimes try to self-medicate when the signs first begin to show. We do this by drinking more alcohol than we should, picking up bad habits, and otherwise acting in a self-destructive manner. If you’re aware of these things, then it makes it easier to avoid them. Drinking a few glasses of wine might make you feel better, but it’s only masking a deeper problem.


Staying Calm


It’s not easy accepting that we have a problem inside our brain. So much so that many of us panic when we think something’s wrong, or avoid the issue altogether. But remember: there are many people before you who have suffered from the same condition, and just like with you, it wasn’t their fault either. It’s not something you can just snap out of; it takes patience and an effort to get over it.


The Future


There’s a large percentage of the population who will suffer from a mental health condition at one stage of their lives or another. If you don’t keep it bottled up, and accept that there are things you can do to help yourself make progress, then you’ll make it through to the other side better and wiser than before.


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