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Stressed? - Know how to take care of it

Self-help and taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally when you are struggling with a mental illness is important. And it’s a fundamental part of the recovery process. It is vital to our mental and over health and, ironically, it’s something we frequently neglect to practice.


Living with mental illness is not easy. It’s a consistent problem without a clear solution. While treatments like medication and psychotherapy are incredibly helpful, sometimes people experiencing mental health conditions need to do more day-in and day-out to feel good or even just okay.

Mental health

Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term ‘mental health’ is sometimes used to mean an absence of mental disorder.
It can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Mental health also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.



Common disorders
Anxiety disorders Anxiety disorders are the most common types of mental illness.
The individual has a severe fear or anxiety, which is linked to certain objects or situations. Most people with an anxiety disorder will try to avoid exposure to whatever triggers their anxiety.


Panic disorders – the person experiences sudden paralysing terror or a sense of imminent disaster.
Phobias these may include simple phobias (a disproportionate fear of objects), social phobias (fear of being subject to the judgment of others), and agro phobia (dread of situation where getting away or breaking free may be difficult).
Obsessive- compulsive disorder – the person has obsession and compulsion. In other words, constant stressful thoughts (obsession), and a powerful urge to perform repetitive acts, such as hand washing (compulsion).


Mood Disorders - These disorders are also called affective disorders, involve persistent feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy, or fluctuations from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. The most common mood disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, and cyclothymic disorder.
Psychotic Disorders: Psychotic disorders involve distorted awareness and thinking. Two of the most common symptoms of psychotic disorders are hallucinations – the experience of images or sound that are not real, such as hearing choices—and delusions, which are false fixed beliefs that the ill person accepts as true, despite evidence to the contrary.
Psychotic Disorders: Psychotic disorders involve distorted awareness and thinking. Two of the most common symptoms of psychotic disorders are hallucinations – the experience of images or sound that are not real, such as hearing choices—and delusions, which are false fixed beliefs that the ill person accepts as true, despite evidence to the contrary.


Impulse control and addiction disorders: People with impulse control disorders are unable to resist urges, or impulse, to perform acts that could be harmful to themselves or others. Pyromanias (starting fires), kleptomania (stealing), and compulsive gambling are examples of impulse control disorders. 

Alcohol and drug are common objects of addictions. Often, people with these disorders become so involved with the objects of their addiction that they begin to ignore responsibilities and relationships.
Personality Disorders: people with personality disorders have extreme and inflexible personality traits that are distressing to the person and/or cause a problem in work, school, or social relationships. 



In addition, the person’s patterns of thinking and bbehaviorsignificantly differ from the expectations of society and are so rigid that they interfere with the person’s normal functioning. An example includes antisocial personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.




Post-traumatic stress disorder: PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as asexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. 

People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and tend to be emotionally numb.




Why self-help is important to mental health?

Some common self-help suggestion people receive are to exercise, meditate and be more present, which are helpful and the world for many people. 

However, other proven methods aren’t mentioned as often. Many of them are quick and simple techniques that can easily be added to the daily routine.

Finding the right coping mechanism takes time and patience, but it can enormously impact how you feel. If you haven’t had success with techniques you’ve tried, or you’re looking to add a few more to your toolkit, here are seven coping mechanism recommended by mental health professionals worth trying out.

Radical Acceptance
Radical acceptance is “completely and totally accepting something from the depth of your soul, with your heart and your mind,” 
When u cannot change a situation, accept that situation.
For example – a tornado is coming your way. Obviously, you can’t do anything to stop the tornado; that’s not possible. But if you accept the fact that it’s coming, then you can act, prepare and keep yourself safe. If you sit around trying to will the tornado to stop or pretend that there is no tornado, you are going to be in real trouble when it comes.

The same applies to mental lines. You cannot change the fact that you have a mental illness, so any time you spend trying to “get rid of it” or pretend it doesn’t exist is only draining you of valuable energy. Accept yourself. Accept your condition. Then take the necessary steps to take care of yourself.


Deep Breathing

Breathing is an annoying cliché at this point, but that’s because the best way to calm anxiety really is to breathe deeply. When battling my own anxiety, I turned to the concept of “5 3 7” breathing:

  • Breathe in for 5 seconds
  • Hold the breath for 3 seconds
  • Breathe out for 7 seconds

This gentle repetition sends a message to the brain that everything is okay (or it will be soon). Before long, your heart will slow its pace and you will begin to relax—sometimes without even realizing it.
                                      
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Opposite-to-Emotion Thinking
Opposite-to-emotion thinking is how it sounds: You act in the opposite way your emotions tell you to act. Say you’re feeling upset and you have the urge to isolate. Opposite-to-emotion tells you to go out and be around people—the opposite action of isolation. When you feel anxious, combat that with something calming like meditation. When you feel manic, turn to something that stabilizes you. This technique is probably one of the hardest to put into play, but if you can manage it, the results are incredible.

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Mental Reframing
Mental reframing involves taking an emotion or stressor and thinking of it in a different way. Take, for example, getting stuck in traffic. Sure, you could think to yourself, “Wow, my life is horrible. I’m going to be late because of this traffic. Why does this always happen to me?”
Or you can reframe that thought, which might look something like, “This traffic is bad, but I’ll still get to where I’m going. There’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ll just listen to music or an audiobook to pass the time.” Perfecting this technique can literally change your perspective in tough situations. But as you might imagine, this skill takes time and practice.


Emotion Awareness

If you live in denial of your emotions, it will take far longer to take care of them, because once we recognize what we’re feeling, we can tackle it or whatever is causing it. So, if you’re feeling anxious, let yourself be anxious for a couple of minutes—then meditate. If you’re feeling angry, let yourself be angry—then listen to some calming music. Be in touch with your emotions. Accept that you are feeling a certain way, let yourself feel that way and then take action to diminish unhealthy feelings.
You can’t control that you have a mental illness, but you can control how you respond to your symptoms. This is not simple or easy (like everything else with mental illness), but learning, practicing and perfecting coping techniques can help you feel better emotionally, spiritually and physically. I’ve tried all the above techniques, and they have transformed the way I cope with my mental health struggles.


It takes strength and persistence to recover from mental illness—to keep fighting symptoms in the hopes of feeling better. Even if you feel weak or powerless against the battles you face every day, you are incredibly strong for living through them. Practical and simple methods can help you in your fight. Take these techniques into consideration, and there will be a clear change in the way you feel and live your life.


 Take Care of yourself: Self-care isn’t selfish

When you’re struggling with a mental illness, there will be times when everything feels like it’s too much to handle. There will be days, weeks, and months and maybe even years, where you struggle just to get out of bed and make it through the day. Days when putting one foot in front of the other feels real, real hard.
Being human can be messy and painful. It’s ok to go through a tough time.
As hard as it may be, it’s crucial that you take care of yourself during these times. Choose an activity from the list above or find something else what works for you, and incorporate it into your daily routine.
While it may be difficult to put yourself first, you are worthy of self-care and self-love. You are strong, brave and a fighter- and you deserve so much more out of life than what your mental illness tells you that you can have.


Conclusion

What differs for some people is how they choose to do this, based on what makes them feel good and cared for individually. 

It feels good to have others do things that make us feel comfortable, but in some situations of stress or sadness, it important for us to feel capable of doing things to care for ourselves as well.
For some “self-care” may be something as basic as getting enough sleep, or filling up a bottle of water before heading out to work in order to stay hydrated throughout the day. Simple, little things that keep our physical health taken care of can make a significant, positive impact or our mental health as well.
It’s important to understand that practicing self-care means taking care of your mental health in addition to your physical health. Taking care of your mental well-being may not always appear as cut and dry as attending to the physical needs of food, hydration, and hygiene. Sometimes practicing self-care for your emotional and mental wellbeing might mean making decisions that are not always easy, especially if you are a caregiver, parent, or guardian that is responsible for others.

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