Breaking the Mental Health Stigma
Breaking the Mental Health Stigma
What is the least talked about and one of the most prominent health crises in the United States? Mental health. Anxiety disorders are prominent in our society, yet they are still treated as if they are taboo ... wrong ... embarrassing. In order to break the mental health stigma we have to start talking about it!
Be upfront about your mental health
In order to solve a problem you have to recognize the fact that there is a problem. I have anxiety. Admitting that you suffer with a mental illness is incredibly hard for some people due to the nature of how mental illnesses like anxiety and depression are treated by society.
Being upfront about your mental health doesn’t mean that you have to tell everyone around you. It means recognizing the problem and seeking answers to it. If you need to take a mental health day from work, then take one. If you need to reschedule an outing due to your anxiety, then do it. Suffering in silence will not make the problem disappear. Find the solutions that work for your unique situation. Three prominent ways to overcome your mental illness are positive affirmations, increased exercise, and medical intervention.
Positive affirmations are one way to decrease anxiety and depression. Leave yourself sticky notes around your home and office to remind yourself that you're capable, worthy, intelligent. Stop using the words ‘I can’t’ and start using the words ‘I will’. Having a mental illness does NOT make you any less deserving of a position or accomplishment.
Be positive towards others. You use more muscles frowning than you do smiling. Encourage your friends and family on a regular basis. You know how good compliments make you feel, so pay it forward! When you are nicer to others they are in turn nicer to you.
Increase your exercise
A second way to combat anxiety and depression is to increase your exercise. You don’t have to start powerlifting or running cross country. Activities like yoga and walking release a number of endorphins in your brain like dopamine and adrenaline. Those endorphins are all associated with happiness and confidence.
When you’re exercising you are improving your mental health as well as your physical health. Exercise has a positive impact on body image, digestion, heart health, and much more. There are a number of ways to easily fit exercise into your schedule. Start your day off 30-minutes earlier with a walk around the block. Park a little bit further away at the grocery store. Attend a yoga class twice a week. Stretch during your lunch break.
Seek medical help
Seeking medical help can be done in a variety of forms. Your form of medical treatment may look different than other people. Some medical treatments involve therapy while others are more dependent on medicine. Although treatment can vary drastically by person, there is no better way. The best way to treat your mental illness will be unique to your individual circumstances. Be open to group therapy. Be open to medication. Be open to your medical professional’s suggestions!
Break the mental health stigma. Be the reason someone builds up the courage to seek the help that they need. It is time to be upfront with yourself about your mental illness. Remember that you are no less of a person, and there are things you can do to manage your illness.