Today’s post is about mental health, wellness and how to maintain a balanced life. In as much as metal illness is so prevalent, it is still something of a taboo to have and talk about due to the stigma and judgement associated with it. I never knew how predominant it was until I started working in healthcare over a decade ago. It’s so interested and sometimes so confusing why something that a lot of people suffer from is judged so harshly and opinions are so polarized. Sometimes the harshest critics against this issue and against mental health advocates are people who have no knowledge of it or people who have firsthand experience with mental illness either from experiencing it or having close loved ones go through it. Sometimes I wonder if the biggest issue is the mental illness and stress or the neglect and avoidance to understand it, evaluate it and take care of it, which leads to worsening symptoms and sometimes fatal results. Is it pride, is it the fear of being judged that makes it harder to manage and treat? Is it the secrecy, shame or guilt that overwhelms them? What do you think you can do and improve on to make their experience better and management of their disease easier?
It’s so heartbreaking seeing so many people who are hurting so bad that they decide to hurt others or hurt themselves. Do you know that hurt people are the ones who hurt people and can be self-destructive? I know that someday everyone will die but our instinct is always to live because life is a precious gift that is meant to be enjoyed, cherished and lived with purpose. We were all created for a purpose and despite the different lanes and paths to that, it is all connected to the purpose of having relationship and communion with God, ourselves and with others. Life is all about relationships, being a light in someone’s life, putting a smile on their face and making their life so much richer, fuller, blessed and beautiful. So, when someone is hurting so much especially to the point of wanting to hurt themselves and others, my first instinct is now compassion and not only to protect others around them, but also to protect them from themselves. Learn to be more loving and compassionate instead of being quick to say how selfish someone is because of how they cope with their illness.
My post today is to say that we as a community and a culture must do better. We must have a better understanding of this disease. It’s so much easier to say what we may never do until we walk in the shoes of some people. Nobody is born choosing to kill themselves and many who have attempted suicide may never have thought they will ever do something life the moment their disease got worse and their mind betrayed them. We as a community must further educate ourselves on signs and symptoms of mental health and how we can communicate and support our loved ones who we see living with it. It’s bad enough when we fall physically ill and feel our body get weak, it can be hard to deal with because to a certain level we feel our body is betraying us by no longer functioning to its optimal capacity, but it’s even worse when a person’s mind and spirit betrays them because of mental illness which magnifies the worsts feelings, habits and behaviors and distorts a person’s reality by changing their beliefs, their emotions and experiences so they are unable to function at their optimal level.
Here are some tips that can help you maintain more control over your mind and if you have moments of uncertainty and mental illness, it can still help guide you and give you stability so you’re able to still maintain a healthy and happy balance in life physically, mentally and spiritually.
- Find your identity by knowing who you are and whose you are. To know yourself, you must know your maker. Just the way an inventor or designer creates an owner’s manual for you to understand how to set up the product and for you to understand its function because they created it, that’s the same we need to go to God to understand who we are, how we function and what our purpose is. The best way to do this is by praying to God, meditating, listening, learning and understanding God, His principles, His character, His commandments, His words and promise to us.
- Understand the purpose you were created for, the value you bring to your community and what God has called you to do, which is always in line with his will for you. This is made clear through his word and through his spirit in you. You can see this in things your passionate about, the joy you derive from helping people and pur fulfilled you are when you are aligned with your purpose and serving your specific audience. Even when you go through tough times, your purpose and your people who depend on you empowers you to push through.
- Be aware of who you are and be intentional about what you believe, feel and experience. Be proactive in staying focused on God, your health and purpose so your mind, body and soul is in alignment. Visualization, affirmations and journaling is a great way to maintain this focus and stay grounded.
- Make sure you pay attention to what messages and information you’re downloading to you mind and spirit consciously and subconsciously. If you’re not intentional about filtering negativity and toxins out of your mind, body and spirt, it gets downloaded, you start to build up fears, lies, doubts and filth within you until it becomes this huge mess that takes over your life.
- Daily or weekly detox your mind, body and spirit of those things that escaped through the filter especially when you were busy, tired or too relaxed to catch it. Detoxing can be from cleaning out your environment and digital space to cleaning out your physical body and mind. You must declutter and flush out any behavior, habit, beliefs, emotions and relationships that are in contradiction of who God says you are and what God says you should do. A great way to dig in and detox your mindset is by praying, listening to Gods words, listening to inspirational books, podcasts, music, teachings, shows or stories to support and strengthen your core beliefs.
- Be honest about your thoughts, feelings, mindset and values so you know what your strengths are and your weakness and you’re in a better position to face it head one, work on it and overcome your illness and strengthen your weakness. Talking to God, journaling and speaking to a professional therapist is a great way to face yourself and deal with your reflection you see in the mirror.
- Learn to listen to yourself. When we physically have pain, it’s a sign that we need to pay attention to that body part and take care of it, closely watch it to make sure it heals and returns to its optimal function. This is also what happens mentally and spiritually. When we have negative experiences and emotions like sadness, psychological pain, feelings of stress, confusions, exhausted or overwhelmed, it is a gift and a blessing because it’s an indicator like a warning light that tell us that we need to pay attention, fix a problem, heal a wound, reset and realign ourselves to get back to optimal function. This is the critical time when you should pause, reflect and evaluate your mind, body and spirit, make sure your connected and focused on God, your authentic self, your purpose and your people and make sure you’re in alignment with your beliefs, your values and your have the right intentions. When you refocus and realign, I promise you that warning sign to your misalignment resolves. So, like a car who needs routine maintenance to function at its best for a long time, you also need to be proactive and have constant selfcare checks to maintain ourselves and avoid any form of mental, physical or spiritual breakdown like a car.
- Learn to offload your burden and concerns to God and share your journey with close and trustworthy family members, friends and healthcare providers who understands what you’re going through, who is compassionate, share your values and is equipped to help you. Learn to cast all your cares on God in total surrender and trust and be thankful that he has taken care of it all. When you live your life and choose to focus and live your life from a place of love, compassion, grace, forgiveness, gratitude and joy, your life is so much richer, happier and meaningful. It also when you have faith and stay in alignment, you only attract good things and if a difficult situation comes by you already know you are strong and skilled enough to handle it and you know it’s only for a season and for a reason and not because you’re in a state of fear, pain and negativity.