by Finnegan Pierson,
Contributing Author, Conscious Reminder
Mental health is about a lot more than just feeling depressed or anxious. If you don’t recognize how you feel and figure out why, then your symptoms can continue to worsen and affect you in physical ways. One of the best things you can do to improve your mental health is to practice mindfulness and learn to recognize when you are feeling down and what is happening in your life to cause it. Oftentimes, your symptoms may be caused because of dissatisfaction with your current life. Instead of believing your mental health concerns to be a negative thing, try to reframe it and come up with ways to change your circumstances and actions so you feel better and live a happier life. Be aware of your moods and other common indications that something is out of balance, such as the following symptoms.
Lack of Sleep
An upset in your mental health can take a major toll on your quality of sleep. Maybe you can’t seem to turn off your negative thoughts and lie awake all night. Or, you could have trouble staying asleep and find yourself wide awake and dwelling on past issues or future concerns in the early hours of the morning. If poor sleep is common, you can start to experience sleep deprivation symptoms. These can be anything from feeling tired during the day, struggling to concentrate, or even becoming forgetful. Long-term sleep issues can result in situations that are dangerous, such as falling asleep while driving or experiencing hallucinations. If this is happening to you, consider seeing a doctor for help. You can also develop a nighttime routine to wind down and relax. Meditation is a great way to turn off the circling thoughts and just be in the moment. Even a few minutes can have a big impact.
Worrying over a big event is something that most people experience on occasion, but for those with mental health problems, it can become an obsession. When you spend more time picking apart your reaction to meeting someone new that happened last week, or agonize over that work meeting you have on Friday, it’s time to do something about it. This pattern of thinking can strike at any time and even young children often experience a lot of worry. Instead of dwelling on every possible way things could go wrong, develop a plan to give yourself the best chance for success. Prepare for your work presentation, or come up with a few talking points to use at a party with new people. And then let it go. If you find it difficult to stop the worrying, you can consider putting your time and energy into exploring a spiritual practice to give you peace and take your mind off of other things.
People with mental health problems often withdraw and isolate themselves from family and friends. If you lack a social life, take up a new hobby. Learn how to read tarot cards or join an online forum that discusses a mutual interest in astrology. This can be the first step to re-introducing yourself to the larger world.
Excessive stress and anxiety can do a number on your stomach and cause nausea, heartburn, or diarrhea. Combat these symptoms by recognizing the source of your mental anguish. Once you know why you are so uncomfortable, you can work to correct the problem.
Misusing alcohol or taking drugs is a common escape from those who suffer from mental health problems. They are used to turn off the brain and self-medicate, but this is an unhealthy way to cope.
Instead, get to know and accept yourself for who you are. Find a community of people that you can go to for comfort and support.
Taking care of your mental health is essential for living a full and happy life. If you have been experiencing these, or any other uncomfortable symptoms, then take a closer look at your life. Try journaling to discover hidden pain and worries that are contributing to your upset. This will help you to get in touch with what is going on and give you a place to start to heal.
About the Author: Finnegan Pierson is an avid outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer. He enjoys writing about sustainability, eco-friendly behaviors, and local travel. He loves to meditate, and spend time with his family.
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