Mental health has been in the news a lot recently, and there seems to be a real drive to highlight this huge issue that could, perhaps, happen to you, your family, or anyone you know. And it’s about time, too. After all, when you sprain an ankle or break a leg, you get a lot of sympathy. But if your brain is straining with too much worry or anxious thoughts, the typical reaction you hear is to just ‘get on with it.’
The simple truth about mental health is that one day you could be fine and dandy, and the next you could be on the verge of depression – or worse. And it really could happen to anyone, no matter how healthy your mind and outlook on life is right now. Given that without good mental health you will struggle to flourish in life and enjoy it the way you should, it’s important to be aware of the factors that could cause you problems.
With this in mind, I thought I would take a look at some of those factors with you today. Each of them is a negative experience that occurs regularly in society – more often than you might think, in fact – without much warning, and could have a severe impact on your state of mind. Let’s take a closer look.
It’s amazing that so many people understand that your genes could cause you illness or susceptibility to particular injuries, yet so few people are willing to acknowledge biology’s impact on the mental health struggles of other individuals. Your genetic makeup could contribute to a huge range of mental health issues, from minor changes in personality to the development of psychosis – none of which is your fault. If you have people in your family that have struggled with psychological problems, it’s imperative you remember that it could be genetic and that you may suffer from similar issues in the future.
Lack of sleep
You might think you are powering forward in your career, and that mental health issues will never impact you. But if you are working long days and nights, and getting up super early to be first in the office, don’t be surprised if you start facing problems. Many people in high-pressure jobs suffer from burnout, much of which is due to lack of sleep – experts suggest everyone needs between 7-9 hours of shuteye every night, as well as a regular sleeping pattern. In short, you can’t burn the candle both ways and expect to get away with it. And you might just wake up one morning and feel unable to cope in more ways than one.
As humans, we thrive on the relationships we develop in our lives – they are integral to our well-being. Just like we need healthy food and a healthy lifestyle, we also need healthy relationships. But what happens when a relationship turns sour? Whether it’s a partner, parent, or best friend, the impact can change the way you think about everything. It can happen at any time, too. We all have friends, or family members who we believe have met the perfect partner, but a year, ten years, or even 20-30 years down the line, that relationship could end. When it does, it can often feel like something is completely missing from your life, and there are plenty of negative impacts it can cause. Depression, self-esteem issues, feelings of betrayal – all of them can lead to an individual developing severe mental health challenges. It’s also important to remember that some of the relationships we have with people are destructive anyway, whether it’s an abusive partner or a friend that holds too much power over you. If this issue sounds familiar, I would urge you to confide in a trusted friend, seek out help from a professional counsellor and get in touch with the local authorities to get the support
Accidents and injuries
One minute you could be a professional athlete, on top of the world and gunning for glory; the next you could suffer from a terrible injury, which stops your career in its tracks. The same is true of any job, too. No one has any idea what the future holds for them, and anything from a car crash to a brain injury from a slip, trip or fall could cause you mental health challenges for the rest of your life. It’s vital that you are aware that your world could come crumbling down around you in a split second, and that you prepare the necessary protection for you and your family. Finding out how to make a compensation claim for a work injury can help you reactively, of course, but you should also be thinking proactively, about things like life and disability insurance, emergency funds, and wills and legal protections as much as possible. Be prepared for any eventuality, and you will be in a much better place than if you rely on good luck – which will always run out at some point. And don’t forget, poor physical health can often have a huge impact on your self-esteem, causing unhappiness and depression. You have to know where to turn in the event you find yourself less physically capable than you were before.
Loss and bereavement
Everyone will encounter death, of course – and it’s up to each of us to face up to that particular challenge in our own way. But what happens when you start losing the people you love? It can have an enormous impact on your mental health, and the feelings of loss could affect you for many years to come. There will be a huge period of adjustment to get through, and you will struggle to cope – whether you know it or not. It’s important to get professional help as soon as possible, as although the feelings you are experiencing are normal, they can often lead to more serious issues than you might think.
Money makes the world go around, as they say. If you don’t have any, it can be almost impossible to live a stress-free life. That said, having a lot of money is pretty stressful, too. What happens if the stock market crashes and all your investments go belly up? Will you be able to keep up the interest payments on our home in the event of a massive hike in the Bank of England rates? Do you have the protection in place to see yourself right if you were to get robbed or burgled? No matter how much money you think you have, there is always the possibility that it could go up in smoke. With this in mind, never let money be the be-all and end-all of your life. There are many more things in life that will help your mental health a lot more than coin and capital.
Loss of control
Ultimately, all these issues boil down to one particular thing: loss of control. When you lose control of your life, mental health concerns are often the symptom – and the cause. Whether it’s being unable to cope at work or suffering from an abusive partner, that lack of control can spiral into a worrying and vicious circle.
It is vital that you are able to recognise the signs and listen to those that care for you if you suggest that you might have a problem. Mental health is one of those things that can creep up on you without your knowledge, and before you know it, you could be in a serious position.
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