Mental health has become an important topic for me. I feel that many people would agree that mental health is something that needs to be taken more seriously, but yet, I find that overall people seem to not know where to begin.
In my experience, I have found that the best place to start is with our own mental health. Knowing and understanding that mental health is something that effects every one of us is important. I have learned in life that you can’t possibly begin to understand someone else unless you have begun to understand yourself and your own environment.
Before I go any further, I would like to note that I am not a mental health professional. I am just a fellow human being posting this in hopes that it will help just one person (maybe more). If you feel that you need professional help please go get it. There is no shame. I have no problem openly stating that I have gotten professional help myself.
For my 30th Birthday, I have decided to point attention towards mental health awareness with ways to increase our own awareness. Below is a list of 10 things based on my own experience that we can ask ourselves that can increase our own mental health awareness.
Asking yourself this question can assess how you value your own mental health. It is my belief that your mental health is just as important as you physical health. Changing the way I viewed my own mental health has greatly changed the way I deal with mental health as a whole.
As I have mentioned, I have gotten professional help myself. I feel that it is important to know that help is out there if you need it. Never feel ashamed or scared to reach out to others.
This is such a simple question, but yet so powerful. Do I listen to others when they speak? Do I listen to my environment? And most importantly, do I listen to myself? To be clear, this questions is not about hearing, but about paying attention and comprehension. I find that many of us are so busy getting distracted that we miss the important things that are often right in front of us.
Do I even know who I am? 10 years ago my self-awareness was basically nonexistent. In my experience, increasing your self-awareness is both a challenging and rewarding journey. It requires recognizing our own faults, taking responsibility, and learning life lessons in order to grow and expand.
Do you have a label maker? Picture yourself going around and labeling everyone you encounter with how you would describe them. Now, picture everyone who encounters you labeling you with how they would describe you. The thought of this can be very scary for many of us, and unfortunately, in society we don’t need an actual label maker. We already do this with our minds and that is how stigmas are born.
If you expect your friends to randomly check on you (and you should), you should also do the same for them. Just like you, your friends aren’t going tell you every little thing that happens and they aren’t going to reach out every single time they have a bad day. Sometimes you need to reach out and just say “Hey,” even to the friends that appear to have it all together.
We all need a break sometimes. I have learned that it is so important to disconnect from everything and everyone at times. For me, this is how I mentally heal. This is what allows me to think clearer and to be able to make the best decisions.
In a world full of negativity, there is also a world full of positivity. I believe that it is all about perception. If we choose to focus on and share the negative, then our world will be negative. If we chose to focus on and share the positive, then our world will be positive. Recognizing that we have the ability to control how we perceive things is a powerful thing.
While I have learned that it is ultimately importantly to do what is best for ourselves, I have also learned that it is important to be consciously aware of how our actions may effect other people. You don’t have to be friends with everyone, but basic kindness, compassion and understanding can go a long way. You never know what others are going through.
Everyone has a mental health story. Let me repeat that, everyone has a mental health story. For many, it is either something very personal that they do not wish to share or it is something that they do not even recognize because they haven’t taken their own mental health seriously enough. I feel that there is no right or wrong way to handle this. For me, mental health is first a personal matter. However, I feel that it is important to point out how powerful it can be to share our stories. It can be on a blog. It can be with a social media post. It can be to a group of people in public. It can be in private to just one person who needed to hear it at that very moment. The positive impact of shared experiences is immeasurable. It could literally save a life.
Kevin Gatti – 4/2/2019