Whether or not you struggle with a mental illness, there are many things a person can do to bolster their base mental health. In particular, there are 4 areas to pay attention to Physical, Emotional, Social and Spiritual. A deficit in any of these areas can leave you vulnerable to a wide variety of negative mental health symptoms. Below the 4 areas are described along with some ways of taking care of these needs.
PHYSICAL: If we are taking care of our physical bodies, we are less prone to mental health challenges. Exercising and eating well are known as great mood stabilizers. On the other hand, pain and sickness can negatively impact our mental health. Therefore, it is important to rest if you are feeling ill and seek help for any pain that you are experiencing.
SOCIAL: Human beings are social creatures. Men and women have gathered in tribes and families for many generations. This was not only for basic survival purposes, but because we thrive when we feel we have someone else we can lean on. Make sure you are taking time to talk to positive people in your life.
SPIRITUAL: This can be achieved through joining a religious community and practicing those beliefs; but that is not the only way. The “spiritual” side of ourselves needs to feel connected to a greater cause or that we are giving back to humanity as a whole. This is the need for a greater or deeper purpose than just taking care of our own selves.
EMOTIONAL: Make sure to schedule in some time for yourself to do some “self-care.” This could be in the form of a walk in the woods, writing in a journal or taking a bubble bath. Any activity that you enjoy and/or feel passionate about will do. For those that have already been diagnosed with a mental health condition, going to therapy on a regular basis and continuing to take your prescribed medication are paramount.
For a great analogy on how this applies to our mental health, imagine a stool with 4 legs. It is sturdy. When you sit on it you do not have to worry about falling over. However, if it only has 3 or 2 legs it becomes wobbly and we have to do a lot more work to keep from falling over. Take care of ALL of you and you will be able to weather the ups and downs of life a whole lot better!