How to Treat Mental Illness Naturally
Leandra Slabbert always seems to be spot on with the timing of her guest posts. My Dad has just been in the mental ward of a local hospital to treat his dementia caused by Lewy Body Disease. When I visited him this week I bumped into a friend of mine I haven’t seen in years. I was surprised to find she had been admitted for depression and alcohol abuse. She said that after a year of sobriety she had just relapsed. I asked her what she thought had caused the relapse and the first thing she said was, “boredom in her job”. This ties in perfectly to Leandra’s first way of improving mental well-being.
The Ultimate Guide to Improving Mental Wellness
Guest Post – Leandra Slabbert
Our health is our greatest asset. While we often strive to achieve an optimum physical health, we should not forget that our mental health and wellness is just as important. Our mental condition largely determines our overall happiness and satisfaction with life and ourselves. If we fail to give attention to this side of our health, we could find ourselves in a dark place, and potentially facing a mental health issue, such as depression or anxiety. The number of people diagnosed with depression, since 1987, has increased by 450%, and it’s thought to be attributed to the stresses of modern life. Now, more than ever before, we are called to make positive lifestyle changes, if we’re serious about not becoming a statistic.
Poor mental health can affect our lives, negatively. Depression, for example, can make us feel sad, and low, even when there is nothing to necessarily feel sad about. It can affect the way we do things, the actions we take, and even the relationships we have with others. However, there are means and ways of overcoming mental health illnesses; whether it be through seeking professional help, or through actively making lifestyle changes.
Ive drawn up a list of ways to improve your mental well-being and life in general! Here’s to trading in negativity for only positive, happy vibes!
1. Identify your Stress
Write down what you are stressed or anxious about, so that it doesn’t fester in your mind. For example; if you’re stressed about finding a job because you’re inexperienced, write that down, and then research solutions for inexperienced job seekers. Finding solutions to your problems is not always as difficult as it may seem (I’m sure Google has most of the answers!)
2. Surround Yourself with Positive Influences
Fill your life with positive influences; people who are supportive, happy and talk about good things. One should also not forget that the media can often infiltrate our minds with negative stories and skew our views of life-try and stay as far away from these sensationalised stories, and rather follow light-hearted, positive news sources.
3. Invest in Yourself
Take up a short course in a subject you’ve always had an interest in; try out a new hobby, join a yoga class, update your professional profile and CV, perhaps even find yourself a new and exciting job, while you’re at it and ensure you know your legal rights as an employee. There’s no right or wrong thing to try, so long as it’s something new, exciting to you and leaves you feeling accomplished! You may identify a hidden talent or a passion that you didn’t know you had.
4. Limit your Social Media Time
One should understand that the information that people post on their social media platforms, is often exaggerated, and their lives are made to look a lot better, than it may be in reality, people only post the good things. This can often drive one to compare their lives and themselves, to those that they see on social media. More often than not, it leaves one feeling inadequate, and perhaps confused. Limit your social media time to avoid distorted information, and rather be grateful, happy and content with what you’re doing and accomplishing right now.
5. Don’t Overthink
Overthinking can send us into a dark place, most of the time. Our thoughts can become irrational when we overthink scenarios. When you find yourself thinking too deeply, and are creating unrealistic scenarios in your mind, dive into an activity that clears your headspace. Take a run, or meet a friend to chat.
6. Spend Time in Nature
Nature helps us to break away from the pressures of the world and brings an element of calmness over us.
Take a nature walk, run along the beach, or take a stroll through beautiful botanical gardens.
7. Eat Clean
Eat clean. This means avoiding fast foods and foods high in saturated fat, because not only do they contribute to obesity and diabetes, they contribute to higher risks of mental health issues. Opt for fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables and foods high in fibre.
8. Exercise Regularly
It goes without saying; regular exercise is good for your health. However, it’s even better for your mind, as it allows one to let off some steam and work towards a positive goal. Also, when you exert yourself, the body releases endorphins that create a positive feeling in the body, leaving you feeling happier and less stressed!
9. Get Some Sleep
A good 8 hours of sleep every night can make a world of difference to your life. A lack of sufficient sleep can contribute to anxiety and other mental health issues; meaning that sleep really is vital!
10. Seek Help from a Professional
There are plenty of fantastic places and people to turn to, who are experienced and educated in the world of mental health. Get in contact with a professional, if you feel you may need further assistance.
We should never take our health and wellness for granted, and especially not our mental health. It’s vital that we protect it, and give it special attention, to ensure we live a life filled with more ups, than downs!
About the Author:
Leandra Slabbert is a South African who enjoys travelling and writing. She has recently started copywriting and hopes to expand and explore her knowledge of a diverse range of topics. See more of her work here: Medium
Thanks, Leandra. These tips were as spot on as your timing. If I had written this article every one of these excellent points would have been in my post too. I’d just like to add 4 more ways that have helped me when I’ve not been feeling my best:
1. Free Writing
I developed the habit of doing “Morning Pages” when I did Julia Cameron’s Artists Way about 20 years ago. I still find free writing a very good way of getting out whatever is weighing on my mind and am often able to turn around depressive thoughts simply by keeping on writing.
2. Emotional Freedom Technique
EFT or Tapping is a marvellous way of releasing unwanted emotions – instantly. It’s a simple technique involving tapping pressure points. You can learn it in one session with a qualified practitioner. I recommend Lana Ackermann. She is brilliant and has helped me work through many of my most difficult challenges.
3. The Work (Byron Katie)
The other technique that has helped me enormously is The Work by Byron Katie. I read Byron Katie’s first book Loving What Is and was also lucky enough to attend a live workshop with her. Her work involves questioning your stressful thoughts and turning them around and it leaves you feeling A M A Z I N G (as does EFT). You can find plenty of examples of Katie’s empowering work on her website, The Work.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I find when I’m focused on helping others, I’m at my happiest. If you find you’re really down in the dumps try volunteering or making or baking special goodies to give away to a children’s home, hospital, animal shelter or old aged home. You may be surprised at how wonderful it makes you feel.
Moms, would love to hear from you… what’s helped you most when you’ve been in the depths of depression and despair?
Are you bored with your current job or situation? I may have the perfect solution for you – turn your hidden passion into a thriving online business.