As we work to lift the mental health stigma, we’re missing the boat. The conversation should be: What can we do to promote a mentally healthy environment for ourselves and others every day?
Mental health is a spectrum; don’t delude yourself, we’re all on it. It ranges from “normal” emotions to “abnormal” emotions…from happy and perky at one end to suicidal thoughts at the other. And most of us aren’t hovering around happy and perky.
We don’t realize how much our daily emotional and mental health affects us. How we feel affects every single thing in our worlds. Just take a snapshot of any scenario from yesterday. What happened? What were your feelings around the event? How did you react? How did you feel physically based on what you thought and did in response? If it was a negative exchange at work, for example, maybe you got a knot in your stomach and couldn’t concentrate on your project for 45 minutes after the encounter.
What can we do to encourage health at the emotional level on a daily basis? Ideally, we would start young—teach kids in schools how to handle stress in a productive way. Notice I didn’t say eradicate stress. We’re living in a fast-paced world and there’s no lookin’ back. There’s gonna be stress and best if we learn to deal with it in a healthy way. We would teach them to understand what they are feeling, why they are feeling it and how to handle the circumstances. This presupposes that those teaching the students have mastered this art themselves.
I advocate teaching mindfulness and meditation to learn how to “quiet the noise” at a young age. For those of us who don’t learn when we’re young, read on..
All workplaces should have meditation rooms, quiet spaces or at least policies in place where employees are encouraged to take quiet time (QUIET time, not ruminate-on-your-problems time) every day. ALL corporate wellness programs need to have a heavy bent toward mental and emotional health, not just pounding the gym and scarfing down pears.
Of course this is not a quick one-two punch to popping the mental health balloon. But it sure is a good start. Ultimately, the individual has to find balance. However, as families, as communities, as a culture, we can do more to understand, to embrace, to encourage…across the board!Back to Blog