What does good mental health even mean?
I talk about mental health so often because I’ve seen first hand just how important it can be to prioritize it. It’s really tempting to just want to shove negative thoughts and feelings into a dark room and shut the door, but mental health is just as, if not more at times, important as your physical health. Because it can result in physical problems. And it can hold you back in life in so many different ways. And if nothing else, because everyone deserves to be happy and enjoy their life.
But figuring out what steps to take isn’t always a simple decision because everyone deals with their mental health differently. We all have our own unique situations and struggles, and their isn’t a one size fits all solution. Plus, not everyone is even looking for the same outcome. So what does having good mental health even mean?
Maybe all you’re looking for is calming down your thoughts. There are those people who can seem completely unphased in the midst of chaos. And then there’s people like me, who’s always got a million different things bouncing around in their head. When your mind is racing a mile a minute, it can be hard to focus and relax. So maybe for you, improving your mental health is all about learning how to control your thought processes and handle situations in a slower, calmer manner.
Other people are just looking for ways to get rid of stress. How you accomplish this completely depends on what kind of life you’re living and what’s bothering you. It could mean taking on less responsibilities, changing a bad habit, or using an online resource with some really great stress reduction techniques. No one is ever going to be able to cut out stress entirely, but if you have a plan for how you’re going to act when stress creeps in, you can control the effect it has on your life. Work out what the best approach for you is and then stick to that.
If you’re like me, you probably just want to figure out how to be happy. Or happier. Or at least to struggle less trying to be happy. And this sounds way easier than it is, because happiness is so subjective. And it’s not something concrete or tangible. Sometimes you don’t even know what it is that you’re missing that will make you happy.
Everyone always says that it’s a choice, but what if you have no idea what you’re supposed to be choosing? But every year I learn more and more that being happy is never a constant – and that’s okay. You just have to make choices you’re content with and embrace all the things that make you excited to be alive. Again, that makes it sound so much simpler than it is, but hey, it’s all I got right now.
Letting go of fear
Being afraid sucks. Every time someone tells you ‘c’mon, it’s all in your head! Mind over matter!’ it sucks a little more, too. Knowing what your fear is and knowing that it’s irrational, or even if it is rational, isn’t all there is to it. Sometimes it takes years of hard work to confront and deal with it. Or maybe you have anxiety that creeps in the back of your head and you don’t even know why it’s there. And how do you confront something you can’t even put a name to? But either way, fear can be consuming. Maybe for you, good mental health means not letting it be.
Depression, anxiety, or any other mental health struggle can make everything so scarily difficult. Sometimes just getting out of bed or remembering to eat throughout the day feels like a victory. When hour by hour feels like a fight, it’s pretty understandable if your goal is just to struggle less. To not have to fight so hard. The good thing? You don’t ever have to fight alone. So don’t make yourself fight alone. Reach out. Ask for help.
Looking around and comparing ourselves and what we’re dealing with to our friends is so easy, but it’s worthless. We all need and want different things, so there’s no point in guilting yourself for not dealing with things the same way. Taking steps to better your mental health is just for you – it’s not a race or a competition. Figure out what it is that you need and let yourself get wherever you need to go in your own time.
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