Today Is World Mental Health Day

October 10, 2018

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World Mental Health Day started more than 25 years ago, and it's still so important to talk about mental health as often as possible. This year's WMHD theme is Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World . Everything moves so quickly in 2018: taking time to slow down in the middle of the whirlwind keeps us healthy. Here's a few things I've added to my mental healthcare over the years:

Checking in with myself:  I'm the only one who knows how I really feel. If I don't take the time to pay attention to my emotions, sometimes they affect my actions in negative ways. The emotions themselves aren't positive or negative - even anger - it's the actions that can cause trouble for me and hurt others. 

Communicate how I'm feeling: I used to tell people who care about me that I was doing fine even when I wasn't. I thought I was protecting them, and it blew my mind when someone pointed out that I was actually lying to the people I love most. So if I check in and I'm not doing well, I have a support system I know I can trust. When we share our stories with each other, our relationships get so much healthier and more honest. 

Breathing exercises help: When I'm feeling anxious or overwhelmed, there's something I can do no matter where I am to ground myself. I roll my shoulders back, take a deep breath for the count of 4, hold it for a count of 7, then release it while counting to 8. This specific technique relaxes your nervous system and can even help you sleep. It's been a game changer for me - read more here. 

Everything is temporary: Almost everyone who spends time with me has heard me say this mantra. Even the most painful emotion you experience will pass. So will the happiest times of your life. If you remember that everything is temporary, you experience the joyful moments more fully and have faith that the bad times won't last. 

There are lots of professional resources out there if you're going through something that you can't handle alone, and there is NO shame in asking for help. We're all in this together. Thanks for reading!

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If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression and thinking of suicide, know that someone is always there. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-8255.

Additional resources at ImListening.org.

 

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