Mental health plays a very significant role in our overall wellness and we cannot stress its importance enough. We all have mental health. And, it is different for every individual. It can neither be compared nor categorized.
What might trigger and affect one person may not have a similar impact on the other person. Hence, we say, mental health is individual.
Why do we need mental health conversations?
The need to normalize the conversations about mental illness is real and relevant. We have to work together to spread and raise this awareness. We have to let people know that “It’s okay to feel a certain way”.
As we work towards normalizing the conversations around mental health, the language that we use becomes a serious concern. If we continue the conversations that increase the stigma around mental illness then it's of no use.
Language plays a vital role in the negative connotation of the word “mental” that has been going for ages. Sadly, this is how we are conditioned all of our life. The word “mental” has such a negative meaning that we subconsciously relate it to something wrong or unacceptable.
This is what needs to change - not only for the present times but for our future generations too. But, how can you and I contribute towards this change? How can you and I take a step to approach someone going through a mental illness?
Whether you want to help someone else during their mental health journey or you're trying to take yourself out of the mental health issues, there are two ways to do it: The Reactive approach and the Proactive approach.
What is the Reactive approach?
The word 'reactive' means the reaction to a situation or incident.
In relation to mental health conversations, the reactive approach is when you wait for the worst to happen. When you wait for things to go beyond repair when you wait for the person (other or self) to hit rock bottom when you think you should wait because things are “under control” as of now. When you think in any of these ways, you are taking the reactive approach towards mental health.
The reactive approach to mental health has mostly been the norm, purely because of the stigma around mental illness and its conversations. And, the only solution to this is taking a proactive approach towards the issue.
What is the Proactive approach?
The word "proactive" means to reach before the problems become impossible to solve.
In relation to mental health conversations, the proactive approach is when you intervene at an earlier stage during the mental illness of the person. When you ‘catch’ the person before hitting rock bottoms, when you see that the person is suffering and you let them know that they have you or you allow yourself to open up and speak with someone you know. This is how you take a proactive approach towards mental health.
A proactive approach to mental health is a relatively new concept. As we have more and more people opening up about their personal stories around mental health, as we have more business models around mental wellness, as the awareness is increasing, the proactive approach is gaining all the attention and practice it deserves.
Here is how one can take a holistic approach towards our mental health:
1. Don’t ignore but accept it
The first step is to acknowledge your emotions and feelings. Accepting that you need help at the beginning of the journey to recovery.
2. Allow having conversations around mental health
The most basic, the most important yet the most ignored step of them all. We usually take someone’s or our mental illness issues casually and hold them inside for so long. This is the reason for it all.
So, people coming forward and spreading awareness about it is the need of the hour. It's the first step towards the ultimate goal of normalizing and prioritizing mental health.
3. Remember, prevention is better than cure
You might feel like ignoring the feelings and asking yourself to calm down. But, the road down the hill only gets muddier, one that's filled with pebbles at every step. Therefore, it is important to choose prevention. It's necessary to not allow the symptoms to grow stronger and to not let them lead to something terrible. Thus, it becomes exponential to have a proactive approach.
4. Seek professional help
Alright, I don’t know if you need to hear this or not, but, it's okay to have mental illness and it's okay to seek help. We don’t sit back and think about visiting a doctor when we have any issues with our physical health. The first thought is to visit a doctor. Well, it ought to be the same with mental health as well. Like you don’t wait for a magical cure with your physical health, you must not wait when your mental health needs professional guidance too.
5. Go for routine check-ups
We all have routine health check-ups, don’t we? Well, again, when physical health is a concern to get it checked at regular intervals of time, then why not our mental health? Having regular therapy sessions or appointments with the psychologist or psychiatrist is the best way to take hold of our mental wellness proactively.
Adopting a proactive approach towards mental health and mental illnesses isn’t limited to an individual’s efforts for self or one single person. If you are an employer, a proactive approach for the well-being of your employees must be a part of your workplace wellness model.
Especially with more people working remotely, mental wellness has become a serious concern, as it should. Not to mention, this will not only make them happy and mindful but will also boost their productivity level.
If you're serious about taking a proactive approach to your mental health, I’d like to invite you to download our 360Wellness application on your iOS and Android devices. The application comes with an inbuilt, revolutionary 360Wellness tracker. It doesn’t only work on your mental wellness but allows you to track your overall wellness.