Managing Your Mental Health, Part 7 – Talk/Ask For Help.

“To anyone out there who’s hurting – it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help.  It’s a sign of strength.”

Barack Obama

Talking and asking for help is probably the easiest thing in the world to do; so why do so many of us find it so hard?

The most obvious place to start is with our programming, what we are taught when we grow up, how society tells us we should react and behave.  

When you look back through history, showing emotions doesn’t get you very far; if you’re a man, to show emotions is a sign of weakness, and if you’re a woman, you would probably have been branded hysterical.

To survive tough environments and stress you have to be solid, stand firm, be brave and in control….. start crying! Oh no you don’t, crying’s for babies!

Have you noticed that as soon as anyone starts crying, they immediately apologise for it?

Continue reading “Managing Your Mental Health, Part 7 – Talk/Ask For Help.”

Managing Your Mental Health, Part 6 – Media Exposure.

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Malcolm X

When I was growing up, I guess I wasn’t really aware of what was going on in the world, there were only four TV channels, the news was on at set times and most of the time I didn’t watch it, I was only really bothered about the sports pages of the newspaper, and there was no social media.

Now you have news 24/7, and social media in the palm of your hand; it’s very difficult to avoid it. 

The main problem with a lot of the media is that the focus is on bad news and it often paints a very bleak view of the world which can generate a lot of fear, and cause anxiety and depression. There are also parts of the media that like to spark controversy and pull people down, and it’s so easy to get sucked into this negative, sometimes spiteful world.

One of the main causes of anxiety is trauma; a lot of the time it’s trauma that has happened to us personally or it’s something that we have witnessed, but there is also something called Vicarious Trauma, and that’s where we are exposed to events that have nothing to do with us directly, but they still generate fear; the media is a main culprit of vicarious trauma.

Continue reading “Managing Your Mental Health, Part 6 – Media Exposure.”

Managing Your Mental Health, Part 5 – Meditation & Mindfulness

When we are in a place of stress and fear it can be very difficult to manage our emotions, we can often find that we spend a lot of our time worrying, in fear, and sometimes blaming ourselves for the situation, even if it is out of our control.

Take the current cost of living crisis, struggling to make ends meet can bring up so many negative emotions and fears; for me it makes me feel even more of a burden because more pressure is on Kim, my wife, to earn the money we need.  I start to dwell on the past and blame myself for what happened, often thinking that if I had done things differently then we wouldn’t be in this position.

Because my mental illness is long term, I struggle to see light at the end of the tunnel, and so I have a lot of fears about the future, how are we going to survive?  

I, like many others, spend a lot of time in the past and the future, and the problem with doing this is that I don’t really get anywhere, all it does is either make me anxious (living in the future) or more depressed (living in the past).  The key is to live in the present moment.

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Managing Your Mental Health, Part 4 – Nutrition.

When you think about nutrition, you generally think about physical health, dieting to lose weight or fueling the body for exercise; we don’t often think about how what we eat affects our mental health.

Some people will associate a low mood with eating and drinking, how often have you had a sweet treat to make you feel better, ordered a takeaway because your too tired to cook, or craved alcohol because you’re stressed?

The truth is that nutrition has a huge impact on your mental wellbeing.

“The right foods can make you happy, and the wrong foods can make you feel anxious or depressed.”

Patrick Holford
Continue reading “Managing Your Mental Health, Part 4 – Nutrition.”

Managing Your Mental Health, Part 3 – Exercise

I think a lot of people are scared or put off by the idea of exercise from an early age, while some kids love and enjoy sport there are a lot who don’t, but they are still dragged outside on cold, wet days to run around a muddy field. 

This can have a huge impact on kids, they can feel embarrassed, and it can reduce their levels of self-esteem; it also means that they carry that negative image of exercise into adult life, which is when we need physical activity the most.

Even as we get older the images of exercise and fitness are of slim, muscular, good-looking people who dwell in gymnasiums that many people are too intimidated to enter.  To some it’s the world of perfect looking people.

I haven’t been to a gym for a very long time, so things might have changed, however the images haven’t; look at all the sports and outdoor company’s adverts, do they really reflect broader society?  All I see is people doing extreme sports, hanging off cliffs or running up mountains, and yes, they’re all slim and toned.

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