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Talking mental health and positivity

Mental health has become a topic of discussion very close to my heart as a lot of people I know have gone through the struggle of maintaining good mental health - I myself have felt the effects of being anxious, depressed and generally really crappy; it's such a horrible thing to go through but the truth is, SO many people go through it. Why is it so important? Physical health gets all the attention - if you have physical problems, they are much easier to identify and deal with. Where mental health is concerned, we often don't take our minds seriously and often brush aside certain thoughts and emotions because...well, I don't really know why. However, it's this act that can often lead to our mental health affecting our physical health, thus showing how important it is to look after our minds just as we would do with our bodies. The two go hand in hand and health in general is the most important thing we have so it is vital that we try our hardest to look after ourselves. No-one should feel ashamed about having certain thoughts or feelings - it is the most natural thing after all, to think and to feel. It'd be worrying if we walked around like robots. It is still very much a taboo subject however and something that I want to address. I want to share some tips, advice and general love and positivity to anyone who needs it. First, I want to share advice on how to deal with specific instances of anxiety, panic attacks, feelings of flatness and the like - sometimes they just come out of nowhere and can happen at any time, anywhere. 1. Use your senses to ground you. These instances are often times where we focus on hypothetical situations or situations that have happened in the past or in the future, rarely the present. The important thing is that the present is what matters and you need to bring yourself back to the present and back to reality. Using your senses will help you do this. SEE what's around you - open your eyes, turn the light on, look at what's happening around you. Notice everything. LISTEN to your surroundings and yourself. SMELL. ​TASTE. TOUCH is vital. Feel everything around you and feel yourself too. If you need to, you can hold on to something, an object perhaps. Move about, don't stand still. It's all about really feeling the moment, bringing yourself back down to earth, back to the present which can be considered a safe space. Breathing is also really important as during these times we are often short of breath our find ourselves breathing too rapidly so that we become sick and dizzy. Breathe slowly and deeply - rest a hand on your stomach if you need to. Do this for as long as it takes whether that be minutes or an hour. 2. Positive coping statements. Positive coping statements are pretty self-explanatory, they are statements that help you cope with what is happening right now and how to get through it. Some examples of positive coping statements include: I can do this. This will pass. I'm okay. I don't need to rush, I can take it slow. I am safe right now. I have survived this before, I can survive this now. Thoughts are just thoughts. I can get through this and become stronger. You should repeat these as often as you like. Say them out loud as you don't want to confine anything to your mind. Saying them out loud will really help to bring you back to reality. Where the long-term is concerned, I've come up with a few ways to help maintain a positive attitude towards life and to keep in mind through the good and the bad. 1. Frequent reflection / meditation. When I say reflection, I don't mean overthinking things so that you end up in a bad mood - I have a tendancy to do this! I mean reflecting on all the good things you have and what you can take from your experiences so far. What have you learnt? What can you apply to the future? What are you grateful for? What happy memories do you have? What has changed? Find an outlet through which you can be calm and in a way, distracted from what hurts and distresses you. This could be a sport, drawing, writing, resting or being with a certain friend. Remember to have a balance between finding time for yourself and other people. Both have lots of benefits but you don't want to restrict yourself to one or the other. 2. Avoid too much social media. Social media is a bizarre thing - we spend so much of our time gazing into the lives of others. We have our own lives to be worrying about! Avoid using social media in the mornings and before going to bed as this is the beginning and end to your day - you want to have these moments to yourself as it is YOUR day you will be living. Social media sets up social comparison, which is incredibly detrimental to the self and can make you critique your own life. People are often very selective when it comes to posting on social media, so just remember that no-one is perfect and what you see can be very deceiving. Learn to be content with yourself and what you have. That's never going to change after all. 3. Talk to someone. This is so, so important. Talking to someone is incredibly cathartic and on the whole, very comforting. Many people choose to keep things to themselves because they feel ashamed and feel as if the other person will not be able to relate to them, but it's not always about being able to relate, it's about someone being there as a comfort and a listening ear, reassuring you that it's ok to feel how you're feeling. You are your own worst enemy, you can talk yourself into anything, so having a second opinion is very useful and a reality check. Bottling stuff up may seem to work in the short-term but after a while you will need to unscrew the lid and things will come bursting out - when they do, it's not going to be pretty. Even if you just tell one person, that's better than no-one. This could be a close friend, family member, an acquaintance, someone you don't know, an agony aunt...anyone. 4. Everything is temporary. Good things come and go, as do bad things and you should take this as a comforting thought. You have got through this before and you are still standing so why can't you get through this? Even if it may feel as though this time is worse than all the other times, I promise you that you will come out stronger than before. I hope this managed to help you in some way. LOVE YOURSELF AND LOVE OTHERS. We all need it.

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