World Mental Health Day 2018

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    It’s World Mental Health Day 2018. Many people, organisations and governments mark today with different events, activities and social media posts to draw attention to how important our mental health is. The UK government has just announced a minister for suicide prevention to tackle the stigma around and prevent suicide.

    Our mental health is important. How we see and interact with the world around us, how we think, feel and behave is important not only for our well being but the well being of people around us also. When we feel uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, anger, stress, guilt and so on we tend to immediately act on a way that tries to get out of it. Some will lash out, some will withdraw, some will drink, some will eat and so on. However sometimes the very thing we do to get out of feeling emotional distress can be the very thing that exacerbates it. For example, alcohol is a depressant. It lowers our mood.

    When we feel something, we feel it for a reason. For instance, anxiety is our way of saying to ourselves I need to be careful, I need to be alert. Stress is our way of saying this is important it needs my attention, I need to focus. Anger is our way of saying this is not acceptable I don’t like this it has to change. Sometimes though our feelings are not always an accurate reflection of our reality.

    When we bottle up or try to avoid how we feel it becomes more intense. We can then cause ourselves more distress trying to get rid of the unpleasant feeling or thought.

    Take anxiety for instance. Think of your car alarm. When it goes off it’s telling you the car is in some kind of danger. It might not be a nice sound but it’s doing exactly what it’s meant to – alert you. Imagine having a car alarm you couldn’t switch off, or was so sensitive it went off because a cat crossed the road. Constant, intense anxiety can be like that sometimes.

    Talking to someone can help reduce the level of distress. It can help normalise how we feel. It can also help us feel more connected to others. Talking to a mental health professional like a counsellor can help you to understand why you feel, think and behave the way you do. You can learn to understand what lies behind your feelings, learn to regulate how you feel and develop healthier ways of managing.

    If you are struggling talk to someone today. Always remember, recognising you need support is a very healthy sign.

    This article was written by sentientcounselling

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