These simple yet effective tricks can do wonders for managing mental health issues
Mental health issues can have far reaching impacts on your life. In our previous posts, we discussed some of the most common mental health problems as well as some other bizarre ones that you might not have known about previously. Before you dive into the content below, we suggest you take a look at these posts to fully grasp why these issues must be taken seriously and understand the importance of the self-help suggestions we are about to make.
The right blend of medication and psychotherapy is widely considered an ideal solution for treating mental health issues. However, this must not undermine the fact that there is a lot you can do on your own to manage your mental health and deal with the atrocious symptoms that accompany mental health issues. While you may have heard about the significance of practices like meditation and exercise in this regard, there exist some extremely simple and practical tips that can go a long way when combating mental health issues.
Harness all 5 of your senses!
One of the many impediments of mental health illnesses is that they make you lose touch with reality and become less aware of your surroundings which is why reining in on your five senses can be imperative. This can help maintain mindfulness when things get rough and ground your existence in reality when the line between truth and fiction blurs.
When you feel the anxiety kicking in or sense losing consciousness, use the 5-4-3-2-1 tool by first identifying 5 things you can see around you and then four things you can hear in your surroundings. Thereafter, point out three things you can feel, two things you can smell and finally something you can taste without moving physically. This technique uses the five senses to pull one back into reality and therefore help them differentiate between what is true and not, a trait somewhat obsolete in people with some mental health illnesses.
Practice Radical Acceptance
Accept what you can’t change…
The above statement is not quite uncommon. You might have heard it many times before. However, once you understand its importance, there is nothing that can come in the way of your success. This is because once you accept reality, only then can you start looking for ways to manage it and make the best of it. This ultimately leads to success and fulfilment as opposed to trying to fight something you have no control over and losing all hope along the way.
Radical acceptance is particularly important if you are dealing with a mental health issue since these can oftentimes have a paralysing effect on your life. It helps inculcate an understanding that a profound acknowledgement of your strengths, weaknesses and circumstances will only propel you forward.
Be more aware
Self-awareness is extremely important but rather underrated. It helps us understand our emotions, where they are coming from and why we are experiencing them. This information is critical in helping to manage these emotions since once we know where they are coming from, we are in a better position to tackle them.
This tip can also be applied in conjunction with one of our other tips on radical acceptance. Don’t dismiss your emotions, rather be aware of them and embrace them before moving on to the managing phase with any techniques or tools in your arsenal. Remember, we humans are naturally wired as emotional beings and even though dealing with a mental illness can mess with the way we feel, accepting and living in these upsetting emotions for a brief moment is mandatory for recovering from them.
Brush up your breathing skills
Some mental health illnesses such as anxiety and panic attacks are characterised by an increase in breathing rate and an uncontrollable heartbeat. While in normal circumstances, this is an attempt by our body to prepare for a fight or flight reaction, a person with anxiety experiences these episodes regardless of whether or not the situation merits it.
Working on the breathing skills not only calms a person with an uncalled-for high breathing and heart rate but also helps put off the false alarms which our body is responding to. Whenever you experience panic rising, just take a deep breath through your nose, hold it in for three seconds, and then slowly let it go through your mouth. Practice this daily and during times of high anxiety and you will never feel more composed.
Stand tall in front of your urges
Our emotions guide our behaviour, that is a natural process. However, once they become erroneous, disorderly and do more harm than good, it is time to act against them. This is particularly relevant in case of a mental health illness whereby the emotions of a person are not only uncontrollable and misleading, but also detrimental to themselves and the people around them.
The solution lies in practising to act against the impulse these emotions generate. So if, for example, you are dictated by your emotions to cut everyone off and be secluded, go out and try to surround yourself with people you love. When fear pushes you to avoid something, try to face it and when anger overpowers you, strive to calm yourself down. This will ensure that you do not indulge in harmful behavioural patterns and are able to control your emotions in times of a mental breakdown.
I hope that you found the above tips helpful and refreshing in comparison to the common advice found on the internet regarding self-help remedies for mental health issues. Do you already practice any of these techniques? Did you find these tips simple and applicable? Please share your views in the comments section below and I will see you in my next post.