Mental health applies to everyone. The World Health Organization defines mental health as
“a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the new stresses of life… and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”
This doesn’t mean life is perfect, but that we are capable of pushing past our challenges. I also want to acknowledge mental illness because I believe the “mental health” label implies there is no illness. Both are important to acknowledge. I do not believe that as a society, we’ve built enough empathy surrounding the mental illness crisis outside of the social media realm and we should continue to talk more about it to reduce stigma.
Your mental health is by far the most important aspect of your life. Everything we do is processed by our brain and over the years scientists have discovered that mental illness has a biological basis. In light of Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to share some affirmations, positive statements to help combat negative self-talk. I want to note that affirmations imply positive thinking, but positive thinking is not an outright solution for individuals with mental illness, although they help.
1)I am not my feelings- you have feelings, you think about your feelings, but they are temporary. Allow yourself to feel them but don't take them as your ultimate truth.
2) I don't have to hide this- sometimes we suppress our feelings because we’ve been conditioned to keep going. But you are allowed to tell others, especially your loved ones. Hiding things also suggests that you are ashamed and it’s vital to remember that it doesn’t have any good purpose in our lives, it is only hurtful to us.
3) Do it scared- Sometimes we stop ourselves from doing what we love because of fear. Are we afraid because we don’t want to fail? Who said we had to do anything perfectly? I once heard someone say “do it scared, do it shaking, but do it” I didn’t like the look of that, but it was the most helpful advice because no one can look down on courage.
4) Today is a new day- this is a cliche but has helped me so much in forgiving myself. We can choose to try again every single day and have the possibility of a new outcome.
5) Even if it’s a bad day you can still do good- No matter how you feel, how things are going in life, you have the opportunity to do good for others!
6) My life is a gift- We have so much technology and we have so much knowledge, but we don't know everything. Isn’t that a humbling thought? We don’t know anything for sure, but we know we are here. We know that we sleep (and we don't know why except for the fact that we get tired, but there are only theories), then we wake up and some do and some don't. But you did, and that's got to be exciting.
Then you wake up thinking, "wow I get to live life with (______) or I get to see (______) accomplish this) and I got to meet (______), amazing people who are also with me on earth. And now think about how others also think that of you. Because it is true.