This past month was Mental Health Awareness Month in Canada, and it has made us think about how we view mental health. When we hear health and safety, we immediately associate the role to physical health; our coordinator ensures the small to large scale equipment is checked for the physical safety of our field staff. But what about emotional safety and mental health?
We know that statistically, society has created an environment where we do not speak openly about our mental health. Unfortunately, this stress is internalized and manifests in physical health. Being stressed releases cortisol and adrenaline through the body. High cortisol levels lead to high blood pressure and an increased heart rate – none of which are healthy physical symptoms!
There are few ways at the individual level in which we can improve mental health. A good practice is meditation. So often, our brains are constantly thinking without ever giving itself a rest. Meditation allows the body observe its thoughts, rather than acting on them. Emotions, like anger, can come and go within seconds! Some good meditation resources are Waking up, Headspace, Insight timer, and Chopra.
Another good practice is validation and acceptance. If you're in a bad mood and not sure why, just think of all the events that happened in the past day or week.
"Of course I'm feeling this way, I just experienced XYZ..."
If we can't validate our emotions, we have to accept them.
“I accept that I'm going to feel this way and I'll make space for this emotion”.
As well, Psychology Today can find you a therapist in minutes. Remember, you do not have to be an active distress to find a therapist. Sometimes it's beneficial just to have someone to talk to and navigate life skills and values.
This mental health month and always, let's prioritize our mental health just as much as we do our physical health. There is nothing stronger than making room for our emotions.