When the brain sends signals to the body triggering hunger, people immediately begin to think about their next meal. When a person begins to develop a fever, cough, or sickness, he or she usually seeks advice from a medical professional about what to do next. Although these actions seem simple, people must make the effort to do them in order to survive. Eat healthy, get exercise and listen to your body; these are the simple steps to maintain physical health.
But what about with mental health? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness approximately 1 in 5 youth struggle with some kind of mental illness throughout their lives. Our brains don’t send us signals of hunger or change our body temperature when our minds need attention, but that doesn’t mean we can’t follow an “eat healthy, get exercise and listen to your body” framework when it comes to our mind.
1. Keep a Positive Outlook
In the same way that we (sometimes) talk ourselves into eating a healthy snack instead of a sugary snack, it’s important to make a habit out of thinking positively. If, for instance, social media is getting you down, choose to surround yourself with positive people. Also, try not to compare yourself with others, because what you put into your brain matters just as much as what you put into your body.
2. Acknowledge Warning Signs
From a rising body temperature to a sore throat, our bodies are constantly sending signals that something might be wrong. Our brains also send these signals; they just may not be as blatant as a fever — negative thoughts, a sense of anxiety, or other mental triggers could be letting you know something isn’t right.
Instead of pushing away these feelings, try to find a healthy way to cope. Some examples are journaling, calling a friend, or reaching out for professional help. Each mind is different, and it’s all about acknowledging your emotions and finding what works for you.
3. Ask for Advice
When we can’t seem to get rid of that cough or stomach bug, we immediately turn to a doctor for medical attention. We ask for advice without feeling embarrassed, and you should approach your mental health in the same way. It’s known that when it comes to mental health, people often feel alone and afraid when asking for help. They begin to feel ashamed of their negative thoughts and often close themselves off from other people.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 60% of adults who struggle with mental illness received no mental health services last year. Although asking for help can often seem overwhelming, It’s important to realize that no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone. There’s strength in asking for assistance or guidance — whether it’s something as seemingly small as talking to a friend or a big step like reaching out to a medical professional.
In the end, it’s all about finding a balance. If you’re not physically well, it’s hard for you to think properly. If you’re not mentally well, it’s harder to work on maintaining physical health. When it comes to health, although many things are out of your control, it’s important to understand the pieces you can work on True health comes from investing in both your mind and your body every single day.
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