Updated: Nov 9, 2022
Mental health and illness in the modern era
Today, more than ever, our mental health, well-being and resilience has been put to the ultimate test. With the ongoing economic impact of the current global pandemic; individuals, families, governments, businesses and the wider community have faced some very tough decisions along the road. We have yet to fully understand the long-term impact of this situation on our health, well-being and consciousness as a collective.
Any significant change can elicit feelings of anticipation, concern and worries about the future, and attending to our own psychological well-being has never been more important.
Mental health concerns affect just about all of us at one point in time or another in our lives, however, studies indicate that 1 in 5 Aussies aged 16-85 will experience mental illness in any given year. The most common illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance abuse disorder.
Access to treatment is essential, and primary mental health care services are central in addressing signs of mental illness. With appropriate treatment, approximately 75% of people improve notably, and experience both immediate and long-term positive outcomes.
Illness prevention and managing the day-to-day stressors
Research and clinical practice show us that one of the most effective tools we have for managing everyday stressors and preventative care, is the regular application of breathing exercises and the practice of mindfulness and meditation.
Whilst these practices have been around for centuries, scientific discoveries have brought them to the forefront of our attention with studies indicating the effectiveness of mindfulness-based practices for attenuating the nervous system, reducing stress, and building resilience.
Managing your emotional health
The whole point of engaging in any kind of mindfulness practice, is to pay close attention to your emotional health and how your own mind works.
Most of the drama in our lives is caused by the stress of mismanaged and repressed emotions. If not managed effectively, we tend to project our repressed emotions and beliefs onto others, which can elicit defensiveness, blame, hurt and disappointment.
What’s going to have the single most important impact in your life and health is to learn to manage your emotions appropriately;
to witness their presence from a neutral space, not judging or suppressing them, and allowing them into healthy expression.
Perhaps as you begin to practice paying attention in this way, you will gain some insight as to why you might have been ‘triggered’ in the first place.
Learning to attend to your own emotions and fulfil your needs (ie. hold the space for yourself), is a way to build self-respect, compassion, authenticity, and self-love.
Other's negative reactions towards you don't define your self-worth; they are perhaps more of a reflection of their own inner struggles.
The total acceptance of WHO YOU ARE, is the key to moving beyond the story that you THINK is you, and opening your heart to give and receive LOVE, and emotional freedom.
You are not your disease. You are not your thoughts. You are not your grief, or whatever other label the ego wants to give it.
The next time you feel stressed, overwhelmed, consider the following:
1) Check in with your emotions and practice acknowledging them without judgement.
2) Pay attention to ‘the story’ you’re telling yourself and how it influences your feelings.
3) Try to identify your underlying unmet need that deserves your care and attention.
4) Fulfil your need by holding the space for yourself and doing the things that make your life meaningful and fulfilling.
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