Mental health is an extremely important facet of yourself to manage properly. Mental health is often only thought of through the lens of illness, but everyone is susceptible to periods of poor mental health – especially in stressful times such as these. Having a strong support network is necessary to preserve your health and well-being through these times – but where should you look?
Friends and Family
Naturally, loved ones are the first to whom we turn in times of trouble. Often, we are sharing difficult times with our loved ones – whether family financial stresses as a result of the cost-of-living crisis or trauma relating to the passing of a beloved family member. Sharing our feelings with one another can help us to process our emotions together, and emerge stronger as a unit.
For uniquely personal struggles, whether clinical depression, PTSD or work-related anxiety, seeking friends to open up is nothing short of necessary. In a world where mental health is becoming increasingly destigmatised, it is thankfully becoming much more common that people open up to their friends about their struggles.
Long-term emotional support can also come from the most surprising of places – in the form of family pets. Indeed, many of us find real solace and comfort in the presence of a beloved furry friend, as evidenced by the results from a recent survey by National Accident Helpline.
The survey found that 87% of the UK’s pet owners unashamedly turn to their pets for comfort and relief from stress, and that only 2% of pet owners claimed their pet had no hand in improving their mental health at all. Indeed, the unique ability pets have to act as emotional support has been enshrined in Emotional Support Animals Registry.
While seeking help and support from loved ones of any stripe is vital to managing your condition, it is also extremely important for you to find proper support from mental health experts. Without the right approach to treatment, certain conditions can worsen, with real health impacts as a result.
Speaking to a GP should be the first step for this, but it is also possible to self-refer for therapy via the NHS’ IAPT programme. Private options are also available, with therapy sessions a great way to unpack uncomfortable thoughts and emotions in a productive manner.
Lastly, solace can be found in the form of proactivity, in a number of ways. Starting a hobby is a common and useful way to preoccupy the mind, providing something on which to focus away from stress or negative thinking. However, there is a form of activity that can be doubly effective in improving your mental state: exercise.
Exercise naturally produces endorphins, which help you better regulate your mood overtime – on top of the initial ‘happy’ rush you get after exercise. This, coupled with the institution of a regular exercise regime, can make for a structured approach to mental health that returns autonomy to your life.
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