By Manasvi Adusumilli
We all see a ton of article headlines about being attentive to our mental health, but surprisingly it is often disregarded. In our progressing world, there are several stereotypes associated with mental health struggles. While some consider mental trauma to be “cool,” others associate it with vulnerability. Deteriorating mental health is nothing new to a lot of us, but how exactly do we cope? As a student in this 21st century, you’ve probably been stressed out before. Whether it's while attempting to meet a deadline or while having a panic attack, stress and anxiety tend to haunt each of us in their own way.
We tend to follow social constructs, craving validation, so it’s been embedded into our “socially perfect” mindsets that the form of vulnerability mental health gives you is not socially desirable. This makes us ashamed and terrified to face our own emotions. For everyone out there who is suffering in silence, here are a few habits you can develop to take care of your mental health.
Exercising and Eating Healthy
Exercising and eating healthy is not only beneficial to your physical health but can also positively impact your mental health. Maintaining a balanced diet ensures fewer mood fluctuations, improved focus, and can even help in easing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise significantly improves cognitive function and reduces anxiety and stress through the release of serotonin and dopamine. Engaging in physical exercise regularly also assists in boosting self-esteem and improving memory, resulting in personal development.
Over time, stress can begin to eat you up from the inside and result in chaotic brain activity. A simple method to fight stress is by actively training your mind to relax and get used to the conditions. Guided imagery, self-hypnosis, music therapy, aromatherapy, progressive relaxation, and biofeedback are a few simple techniques that significantly aid in lowering blood pressure, reducing muscle tension, and evoking a relaxation response.
Lack of adequate sleep leads to several health consequences: physical and mental. Generally, a bad sleep schedule results in sleep disturbances that worsen symptoms of mental health illnesses. Receiving adequate sleep prevents mood disorders, irritability, and unproductivity, while providing your body and mind an opportunity to reset.
While stress cannot be eradicated, it can be managed. Stress is known to affect more than just mental health. Studies show that chronic stress weakens your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to infections. Individuals with strong social support networks are reported to experience fewer symptoms, thus, creating stronger personal connections with other people would be a great stress management technique. Counselling, group therapy, yoga, relaxation techniques, and improving time management are just a few of the many available resources.
Mental health challenges can be scary, to say the least. As we’re halfway into September, which is Suicide Prevention Month, public focus on mental health has skyrocketed. Two of the leading factors that contribute to high suicide rates are isolation and feeling like a burden. Prevalent issues in our modern society such as toxic masculinity, stereotypes, and toxic productivity have managed to impact a lot of us. It is important to remember that life can be challenging and that there are obstacles that everyone must inevitably face, but it’s how we deal with them that matters. It is essential to work towards breaking the stigma around mental health issues being considered a sign of “weakness.” Implementing the habits mentioned above into your daily schedule will improve your mental health, even if it's just by a little bit.
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