How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health?
No one understands why we want to grow up. Between work, bills, issues that nobody told us were going to appear and relationships that are increasingly complicated – “being well” is becoming more and more difficult. However, it is worth asking ourselves… what is it that has changed so much? What is “being well” after all? What is mental health? Is it possible to be so focused on being healthy today that it seems to be an illness itself?
What would happen if we asked these questions to an innocent and happy child? Surely, they would look at us with a funny or disinterested expression and continue playing. What the child does not know is that they have provided us with answers through this behavior, revealing the simplicity and purity of their perspective, untouched by the complexities of adult life, including the challenges of teen mental health.
What do I do if I don’t feel completely well?
To begin with, let’s imagine a child with the flu. How is he behaving? What does he want? What is he doing? Surely the child is not worried about taking care of his toys, nor is he feeling guilty for getting wet in the rain. Most likely, the boy is in bed trying to get better. He is probably a little desperate and has completely surrendered to the feeling of discomfort that his flu generates. Likewise, we need to begin to understand that “being sick” is something totally inherent to the human experience and that we must simply let go and experience it fully, understanding that: what we think, what we feel and what we do, are things that must be totally connected if we are looking for a greater sense of wellbeing and want to take care of our health.
When reading this, we could say “Sure, for a child it is very easy – they have no responsibilities.” Yes, this is likely true, but this child has the biggest responsibility we come into this life with: to explore the world and explore themself. This tends to be something that we forget on the path to adolescence. This is a time when “fitting in” steals the limelight. So, if we want to be healthy we must give all of ourselves to the exploration of the world, to experiencing new situations and ourselves in a more open way, with curiosity and desire to learn more. It is in this way we can better understand health as a path and a process instead of something that is conjugated with the favourite verb of our current society: “to have”.
How can I be healthier?
Health is a continuous flow of the natural processes of the human being. It is a path in which even disease must find its place, especially if we do not want it to become an infinite source of discomfort. Find its place? Yes, because it turns out that certain states of health, from an integrated point of view, can only be reached through consciousness. This is because it is by feeling, through knowing and exploring ourselves, that we manage to dissipate our own view on health and understand that it is not a black and white matter but a whole spectrum of colours between each aspect including those that are healthy and those that are not, and that can always vary.
Now, we talk about finding ourselves, but we sometimes think “a child does not have so many things to worry about in their head”, how wonderful that would be! However, they do have worries and stress and it originates from understanding how this world works. Could a child differentiate the stress that some things generate from his stomach aches or his constipation? Could he say that he feels bored, but still want to be cheerful? No, right?
The point here is that children have clarity, they are more in tune with themselves, and we need to start to be more present. Even the concept of “mental health” leads us to think that the mind is something different, separate from the body, and so too are the emotions and feelings. This may be the mistake that hurts us the most. And so, the concept of health and wellness should embrace us in a holistic way: health is our body moving with vitality, our feelings and emotions flowing naturally and that our thoughts are increasing of better quality.
What can I do to achieve better holistic health?
Finally, it can be said that what has changed the most is that “being well” has become so complex is that as we grew up. We moved away from ourselves, we forgot how to listen to ourselves and we began to conceptualize ourselves through external parameters that do not allow us to see ourselves clearly. To get back on that path we need to look at ourselves again; to put some of the attention we face outwards inward instead, towards that wisdom that we carry in our body and that cries out for us to listen. This is the first step toward “being well” and it is the first step to freeing ourselves from thousands of daily events and happenings that tend to take away our peace.
And how do I get back to that “me” inside? That would be another article entirely, but here are some recommendations that will surely get you on the right track to take care of your mental health:
- Move! Connect with your body. Dance, walk, exercise.
- Eat well. We are what we eat. Identify what is good for you and what is not. You can’t have health and peace if your body is full of sugar or other things you don’t need.
- Write a journal or find a way to express yourself openly. Putting into words, art or movement what is happening to you is one of the most effective ways to heal.
- Seek help. Believing that we have to be able to do it all alone only wears us down. Identify your support network and find professionals who can accompany you on your journey.
- Connect with the joy of living. Be grateful and be curious in your daily life.
Author: Estefanía Hurtado – psychologist