Effective Ways To Deal With Mental Illness

Mental Illness

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in every 8 people, or 970 million people worldwide, lived with a mental disorder, anxiety, or depressive disorder in 2019. I’m sure you can imagine how much higher that number is following the trauma and isolation that occurred in 2020.

In fact, Studies show this number will continue to increase over time due to a number of factors, namely isolation, social disadvantages, and long-term stress, among others. I’m pretty sure most of us have been going through at least one, if not all, of these factors over the last three years.

Fortunately, symptoms of mental illness can be treated and minimized. You don’t need to suffer in silence. There are things you can do starting today. This article will show you seven easy-to-follow yet effective ways of dealing with mental illness.

But First, What Is Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses are health conditions that involve drastic changes in how we think, feel, and behave (or a combination of any of these). Mental illnesses are often linked to changes in behavior, like isolation or changes in mood, and can range from mild to more severe. An example being intrusive thoughts, such as suicidal ideation.

Symptoms of mental illness can vary depending on the disorder, severity, and many other factors. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of mental illness include:

  • Excessive anger or hostility
  • Excessive worries, fear, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Feeling down or sad
  • Major changes in eating habits (eating less or more than usual)
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and activities

There are even instances when symptoms of mental illness appear as physical problems, like back pain, stomach pain, headaches, and other unexplained pains and aches.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, there are people who can help. Reach out to your doctor for treatment options. If you need immediate assistance, dial 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

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7 Effective Ways To Deal With Mental Illness

A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet has more benefits than just helping your body be healthy. It also helps to manage your mental health. A well-balanced diet that includes nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, helps the brain properly regulate chemicals that significantly impact our thoughts and feelings. All of these positively contribute to mental health.

In addition, avoid alcohol and drugs as they negatively impact mental health issues. Though they may offer temporary relief from mental health symptoms, they also amplify depressive and anxiety symptoms and interfere with the effectiveness of medications.

Regular Exercise

Much like a proper diet, exercise has excellent benefits and is an effective tool for managing mental illness. This is because participating in regular physical activity, even something as simple as walking, helps increase the production of serotonin and oxytocin, otherwise known as “happy chemicals.”

Stay Connected

When a person struggles with mental illness, isolating is often tempting. You may not want to burden others with your struggles, so you distance yourself instead, but isolating yourself will only exacerbate your symptoms.

Ensure you stay connected with friends and family, and make the effort to leave the home whenever possible. A robust support system will provide you with the assistance you need to help get you through the more difficult times.

Rest And Recharge

Sleep is essential to maintain health, and a lack of it significantly impacts your mental health. The problem is mental illness often disrupts sleep patterns which exacerbate symptoms. Practice proper sleep hygiene by ensuring sleep in a calm, cool, and quiet environment, and avoid electronics 30 minutes before bedtime.

Create A Wellness Toolbox

A wellness toolbox consists of an arsenal of tools that will be at your disposal during difficult times. It includes items and activities that comfort you in a time of need.

A toolbox includes things like a friend you can call any time of day, an emotional support pet, a place to go for a walk to clear your health, and even a cup of chamomile tea in your favorite mug.

In addition, you should include stress management tools that will prevent you from getting to a breaking point. Some of the best stress management tools include yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing. These exercises reduce anxiety and depression and improve mental health.

Positive Self-talk And Affirmations

Our minds are powerful tools that can make us break how we feel about ourselves and our lives as a whole. Negative self-talk is common and will pull you further into mental health issues.

On the flip side, positive self-talk and affirmations improve mental health and change how you view the world. Look in a mirror and tell yourself you are strong, loved, and worthy.

If you aren’t ready for that challenge, even focusing on the positive when you lay down to bed and listing off the things you are grateful for will significantly impact your mental health.

Get Outside

Have you ever gotten into the winter slump? This is because, during the winter, we are unable to participate in outdoor activities the way we can throughout the other seasons. Nature, sunshine, and the vitamin D that comes from being outside have a calming effect on the mind and can actually improve depressive symptoms.

Take a walk in a park, try some gardening, or even just sit outside without any distractions, and you will enjoy the many benefits of the great outdoors.

Conclusion: Your Mental Health Matters

For those that deal with mental illness, it can be truly debilitating. Luckily there are steps you can take to ensure you are caring for your mental health in the most effective way possible.

  • Learn the symptoms of mental illness to help you recognize it within yourself and those around you.
  • Eat a balanced diet to improve your brain health.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Stay connected with people around you, and reach out for support.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Create and utilize your wellness toolbox.
  • Practice positive self-talk and affirmations daily.
  • Get outside and enjoy the world around you.

Remember that while these are excellent tools to help with mental illness, consulting a healthcare professional when you are struggling is essential and can help you get on the road to happiness.

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