It is easy to feel overwhelmed with everything going on in the world. An incredible 4.6 Billion of us are now connected to the web, information is overflowing so it can be difficult to know where to look and what to focus on. It’s not surprising many of us are dealing with increased levels of anxiety. Add to that the everyday stressors of maintaining a job and social circle and all the pressure seems to be adding up to problems with mental health. Luckily we are becoming more accepting and understanding of mental health in schools, in the workplace and among our peers but there’s always time to improve our understanding!
1 in 4 Britons now identify as having some form of mental health issue. The most commonly experienced mental health disorder is mixed depression and anxiety. It’s something everyone experiences at some point. With depression it can be feeling down and not being able to leave your bed. With anxiety it could just be classified as excitement where you feel butterflies in your stomach before making a presentation or going out on a first date. But it gets overwhelming when it over takes the mind with worry and can impact on our relationships and overall lifestyle. It can even make those who suffer with it question whether people care about them, it can build up in the mind and create a fear of losing people which then gets in the way of otherwise very healthy connections. This is why as a community it’s good to be aware and support those around us who may experience these symptoms.
The first step is to recognise anxiety when you see it, this also enables people close to you to understand what they are going through. For example the first time someone with anxiety has a panic attack they may not know what is happening and it can be very scary. Having the skill set to aid with someone dealing with this kind of anxiety can help to build even stronger relationships and boosts understanding about how we function in general. A panic attack generally lasts for about 20 minutes and consists of intense fear, tightness in the chest and difficulty breathing. During a panic attack it’s good to try to do grounding exercises such as stamping a foot against the floor and trying to maintain calm breathing, remembering to remind the person suffering from the panic attack that it will pass.
Often anxiety manifests as a general worry which with consistent breathing practices such as meditation, exercise and yoga can be balanced out. Another sign of anxiety is needing a lot of reassurance from those around you. It can be very supportive to people with this tendency to remember to remind them of how much you appreciate them. We can do this by highlighting the qualities we like about each other and letting people we care about know when we’re thinking about them.
Letting others know we are proud of their achievements is another very helpful contribution we can make. Being happy with what we have achieved in life can be difficult to see when we are inside of it, it can take the perspective of someone outside to realise how much we have grown. letting them know we are proud of their achievements. Being happy with what we have achieved in life can be difficult to see when we are inside of it, it can take the perspective of someone outside to realise how much we have grown. It is important to remember when dealing with mental health that there can be a lot that we need to process and growth can be a painful and uncomfortable experience.
Although we want to do our best to help others, knowing how to set boundaries is another very important part of maintaining good mental health, especially when you tend to put people’s needs before your own. People-pleasing can seem like a selfless act of kindness but not wanting to disappoint others does not need to come before our own well-being. This is why it is important to find ways to express your needs in a positive manner and to feel okay saying no when you need time to yourself.
When we can all be understanding of each other’s journey’s we can progress in a more positive way together which uplifts the whole community. This is why trying to release judgements about others is so important, we can never truly know what anyone else is going through so treating everyone we come into contact with with compassion is very valuable. Ultimately we all want our collective to succeed and it means being there for others even in the smallest way. It can be a useful strategy to try to keep our focus on what we can directly change in our local community, when we see we’re making a positive impact that can uplift those close to us too, you never know how much good you can do with a small action.