Mental health is just as important as physical health. That sounds about right, doesn’t it? Well, many of us fail to take care of our mental health, no matter how much we preach about it online.
It’s all “I’ll take care of it when I have time” or “maybe I’m just overthinking it, it’s not that deep”.
The bottom line is this: If it’s hurting you from the inside, it should be prioritized. No matter how socially unacceptable or even “embarrassing” certain things are, poor mental health influences our life much more than we think. And not only that, but it also has the unpleasant power to change the course of our lives, depending on how it influences our decisions and our ability to make them.
This is a safe space; there’s no negativity or judgment in between these words. In addition to that, there are a couple of things we would like to accomplish today.
- Paint a realistic picture of mental health vs physical health;
- Learn ways to cope with everyday stress, as well as bigger changes in life;
- Learn how to accept life’s natural course and be okay with not having any control of certain aspects of it;
Three things are not much in quantity, but the weight of these three things specifically is far heavier than it meets the eye. Learning to let go is most likely one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, with the first step being…
Listening to Yourself
Everyday life and commitments produce so much white noise and static, that is very hard to hear your own inner voice, even when it’s screaming for help. We listen to other people’s advice, we read positivity and self-help books, and occasionally ask a friend for a helping hand. And even when things are objectively “okay”, we don’t seem to be fine at all.
Why is that? Well, let’s dissect.
Other people’s advice is almost entirely their subjective experience and reaction to something they’ve either been through or are merely commenting on; therefore, their words no matter how wise might just be shot in the dark in our own lives.
Self-help books might produce quotes that sometimes make us go “Whoa”; but it almost certainly shouldn’t be called “self-help” when it’s written by and for somebody else.
Friends are there for comfort and the occasional bottle of wine foolery; but sometimes, their opinions of us, as well as the situation we are in are not entirely objective…nor beneficial, for that matter. So…does all of this mean that no one can actually help us? Are we really all alone?
You can always lean in for help from your surrounding: friends, family, Dr. Phil, you name it. And although their words and familiar comfort can bring some peace to our stormy patches in life, they won’t entirely fix what needs fixing. You have to listen to yourself. It’s MUCH easier said than done. Some folks don’t even fully understand the meaning and weight of that statement.
Fears are amazing examples of this, so imagine you have a fear of insects. Most people will tell you “You just don’t like bugs” or “Maybe you’ve seen that scene from the Mummy too many times when you were a kid, it’s no big deal”.
That’s all surface-level commentary. No one can know the origin of your fear, personality trait, or anything else, other than you. Let the fear in, imagine the worst, and follow it down the rabbit hole until you reach its roots. How’s it looking? What do you see? No friend or even therapist can tell you what lies at the bottom of that rabbit hole. Only you can.
In other words, listen to your mind and body, give them what they desperately need from you. Taking the ladder might take your body to places like tiredness, not being able to get out of bed, or even heavy headaches and stomach problems. Poor mental health can pull some physical health stings in a blink of an eye when we’re not being careful.
Everyday Stress and The Cure For It
Both physically and mentally, we all fall victim to everyday stress, and so does our body, No matter how mundane our everyday activities are, it is our mind that keeps them going. And naturally, the body follows the mind, even when we are too busy to notice. In time, our thoughts however rotten escape our heads and become our reality in some way.
We often believe that keeping our jobs, school, or just everyday commitments in check and order will automatically keep our mental health in order too. In reality, the situation is the other way around completely.
When we get emotionally unstable, so do other aspects of our life because they all root back in our emotions. So when they’re not in check, the boat starts losing its balance. And the further into the sea we go, the less balanced the deck becomes. Very dangerous for our captain and crew, to say the very least. Stress is inevitable. Loss is inevitable, and so is a tragedy. So if we can’t escape these natural parts of life, how do we cure this mess?
By prepping our mental state.
The food we consume and the content we pay attention to contribute to our mental stability and well-being. Proper nutrition improves a person’s mental alertness, making them more prepared for whatever life has to throw at them. Good sleep, useful information, and nicely propositioned social life are beneficial too.
Most of us are looking at this from the wrong angle. It’s not about trusting life to not give us hardships. It’s about trusting our own ability to survive and defeat whatever life ends up throwing our way. And the best way to go about this is by taking care of ourselves. Mentally, physically and in every other way that we can think of. And even if you can’t provide that helping hand for yourself now, make sure you are at least working towards that goal.
You should be your own first priority, so start acting like it!
Taoism and Having Faith in Life
Possibly one of the worst things about poor mental health is the faith we end up losing when it comes to life itself. You don’t only lose faith in your friends, family, or yourself – but everything life has in store for you. And the deeper you try to control what cannot possibly be controlled, the less control you feel you have, resulting in zero faith and trust in life.
Life was never meant to be fully controlled by us. Its natural cycle and often unpredictable and chaotic nature are what needed acceptance.
“Accept the thing you cannot change,” they said. “Go with the flow”, they’ve added as well.
But how many of us have even tried to do so? This brings us to Taoism, and the wonders it can do to modern-day men and women.
What is Taoism?
With the word Tao meaning “The Way”, Taoists thrive on accepting and following life’s natural plan for us, despite the life that’s currently being marketed in modern society. Having faith in nature, and its chaotically beautiful order, Taoists have let go of this false image of control, and are, without resistance, allowing life to take them to where “they belong”.
“When I was younger, I would get pretty stressed and mad at things I’ve either failed to get or simply didn’t. I was so mad. I’d try and try, give my all but it still wasn’t enough sometimes. I did kind of lose hope in life because it just seemed like it was never really fair. One day, I failed to get into the college I really wanted to go to, despite a year of preparations for it. I was devastated and couldn’t stop crying. My grandma called me, and with little to no intention, she changed the way I view things…forever. She just said “you never know what that’s good for”, and my mind was opened to a whole new world so to say. Three years later, I thank and praise the day I failed to get into that college because my grandma was right…Better things were waiting on me, and I’ve never looked at failure the same way again”, said one of GRRRL’s amazing employees.
And that’s the core of this ancient Chinese philosophy as well. What is yours will find you, and what you are meant for will eventually be yours.
The Importance of Emotional Health
The damage we do to our bodies and overall well-being when we decide to overlook our mental health is not talked about enough. To put things into perspective, let’s compare and contrast mental health and emotional health;
“Part of mental health is how well your mind processes and understands information and experiences. In contrast, emotional health involves your ability to manage and express the emotions that arise from what you have learned and experienced.”
Sometimes, we are not even aware of how poorly we handle our own emotions until we are faced with situations that drag them out. Furthermore, the more toxic our growing-up environment was, the harder it is for us to rewire our brains and understand what we are doing wrong as adults. In all honesty, poor emotional health doesn’t only do harm to our brans and bodies, but it also prevents us from forming lifelong relationships with the people around us.
Talking to a mental health expert or booking that first therapy session is a step in the right direction, no matter how hard it may seem. The best way to fully adapt to that Taoistic approach to life, as well as allowing yourself to relax and actually enjoy life lies in you putting yourself first. Which many of us repeatedly fail to do.
At the end of the day, there is no recipe for how to handle uncertainty. We don’t know the answers, and we may never will; but that’s the thing with life, it was never meant to be understood. It was just meant to be lived. The sooner you realize that everything in nature is connected, the sooner you’ll give nature the weel, and your stress level will drop tremendously. However, don’t think that this is an open invitation to not work hard and chase your dreams; there’s never a good enough reason to do that.
And lastly, there really might not be a tomorrow…So, what’s stopping you from getting the help you need, to finally live the life you deserve?