- Jennifer Stafford
The Bright Side
Remind yourself that you are in control.
What does continuing to endorse the stigma of mental health do to a society?
It depletes it emotionally and corrodes it mentally. If I am not mistaken, I believe this is the recipe for insanity. What do you make of life without your sanity?
Since mental health is essentially how we think, feel and act; disregarding it means disregarding how we think, feel and act. Can you see how this may pose an obstacle to peace of mind?
We exist in exchanging thoughts, feelings and actions with others. In understanding what is happening for us, we use this information to articulate to others our needs, desires and dreams. When this process malfunctions, most often chaos eventually ensues. When communicating our needs becomes cloudy we may operate irrationally consequently creating an unsafe and confused environment for ourselves and those with whom we interact.
Prolonged confusion, lack of structure and a lack of safety are experiences that impact mental health. Do you see the detriment in disregarding the experience of these concerns? If an individual is persistently and deeply uncomfortable in their life, where within themselves do they access the foresight to consider the comfort of your life?
As a human being, an inherent priority is to seek comfort. When we are unaware of this being what is guiding our thoughts, feelings and actions we can operate like we are in our own world. Having 100 people in a room that are all in their own world can become problematic or fruitless at best. One of the responsibilities of parenting is to teach babies, aka little humans, how to exist with consideration of others. This is not something that we grasp right out of the womb. Some parents may skew their teachings and instill a mindset warped in prioritization of self over others or consideration of others over oneself, but this is where mental health comes in.
The health of our mental health is how we navigate the grayness of life, it is what helps us manage that which is not only black or white. Understanding the in-between, considering both self and others, reaching an agreement and finding a middle point all require activation of mental health considerations. We have to check in with our thoughts to understand our feelings so that we know how to operate ourselves. Ignoring the significance of your mental health is like ignoring the need for gas in your vehicle, and if you charge your car, it’s like ignoring the need to plug in.
At this juncture in life, it feels imperative that more of us learn how to manage our thoughts, feelings and actions. In a pie chart of mental health, the peace of mind slice is ruminating in reduction.
The magnitude of mental health’s importance is a conversation so severely overdue.
Distinguishing mental health from mental illness is crucial. Mental health refers to our overall mental and emotional state. There is mental wellness and mental illness. Mental wellness speaks to a mind that is in order and functioning in alignment with one’s best interests, most often. Mental illness references a mind that is out of order thus out of alignment with the best interests of the beholder. Mental wellness and mental illness both exist along a spectrum. Being mindful of our mental health is how we stay in the direction of wellness. Perhaps if more of us understood this we could extinguish the irresponsible stigma of something being wrong with someone when they are tending to their mental health.
I once had a client ask me how come their employer approved them seamlessly for time off after a physical health concern, but made them justify and defend themselves (to a much greater degree) when they were experiencing grief after losing a child. All I could say was that oftentimes the wounds people can’t see are harder to empathize with and comprehend.
The bright side is that there is another side; another way of seeing things. A more informed way of operating oneself. The stigma seems to result from a lack of understanding and is quite possibly rooted in inaccurate information.
This is what I tell my clients…
Mental health is a thing, it has always been a thing, maybe not the most understood thing, but it has always been a thing. Just like dental health and physical health. We have poor and promising dental health and poor and promising physical health. Think about it. Explore and feel within yourself what makes sense to you. Then act.
Your mental health is deserving of the acknowledgement that it is due. Take your sanity back.
Another bright side is that you are 100% in your control.