In a world where we are exposed to several new circumstances and people, it is easy for us to be too preoccupied to address our well being.
Our health and well being seems secondary, even though it is the foundation and platform on which the aspects of our life resides. If we are not able to maintain our well being, we can not offer ourselves new opportunities and tasks, or cope with the adversities we are presented with.
Self-care regarding your mental health and physical health does not require much time and energy, just the cultivation of small habits throughout the day that will allow you to attend to them effortlessly.
Once this structure is built it is easy to continuously execute these small habits throughout the day, as they manifest as an integral aspect of your life. Some acts of self care are exercising, reflective journaling, gratitude journaling, goal journaling, practicing mindfulness, and receiving external support
To build this foundation, we first need to distinguish and cease misconceptions that continue to dismantle the structure we are attempting to build.
Mental health is not as important as physical health:
Mental health support is often viewed as something inferior to physical health. However, these two are interrelated and can mold your personality, perception of the things your life revolves around, and your life satisfaction. Thus this is affecting the people and circumstances you attract into your life.
For instance, in a study, people with the highest levels of self-rated distress (compared to the lowest rates of distress) were 32% more likely to have died from cancer. In addition, depression is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Not to mention, mental health is the third leading cause of deaths in adolescents, and only 1 in 5 of them receive the support that they require.
Mental Health cannot affect me:
1 in 5 people in America experiences a mental issue. Factors can range from biology, environment, genetics, and life experiences. Regardless of your circumstances, it is easy to develop a mental health issue, or simply even have unresolved conflicts that you deserve consulting and support for. Mental issues affect people of all various demographics including 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children each year.
Mental Health should only be taken care of if you have a mental issue:
Regardless of the statistics mentioned above, everyone has mental health, and everyone encounters stress and adversity throughout their life. Taking care of your mental and physical health is important (even if you do not have an issue) as it creates the foundation for a good lifestyle and a healthy mind and body. This permits you to cope with stress and adversities, and strengthens relationships with yourself and other people.
Receiving external support offers the opportunity to learn how to cope with stress and adversities, and strengthens your relationships with yourself and other people as well. Counsellors can offer free services to people, and support them in resolving conflicts, or provide a safe space to talk, regardless of whether you are diagnosed with a mental health issue or not.
Oftentimes, mental health issues arise from unresolved conflicts - hence, nourishing both your mind and body provides a foundation for a healthy lifestyle and being able to cope with adversities safely and productively. When this is done it serves as not only as an integral aspect of a healthy life but also as a preventive measure for the development of mental health issues.
Mental health support is unnecessary:
Mental health support is an important way to work through unresolved conflicts of any degree and strengthen the relationships you have with yourself and other people. Although daunting at first, expressing your concerns and liberating yourself from past problems only constitutes a stronger and improved person.
It is not a sign of weakness or disrespect to anyone. Counselling support allows you a safe and confidential space for you to share your thoughts and gain a new perspective or coping strategies for issues. It supports people with or without mental health issues and especially integral for those who are suffering from a mental health issue.
Without receiving the proper care, your mental health can deteriorate, causing you an inability to cope with adversities or maintain relationships with other people. Most importantly, it can do more harm to you, causing you to not live the best version of your life, or cope with difficult situations in a negligent or harmful manner.
Now that these common misconceptions have been debunked, we can learn to invest time and energy towards our betterment. myEsprit is a free app that will support people in their ability to replenish their mind and body through features including gratitude, goal, reflective journaling, and mindfulness exercises, along with the exposure to external support. This app is also equipped with reminders to make sure you adhere to the small habits you have created and integrated into your schedule.
By Sanjana Karthik
In collaboration with YWMTU (@yourwordsmattertous)