As someone who suffers from severe anxiety and depression, I cannot stress enough the importance of taking care of your mental health. It’s just as important for your overall health as a drug detox or STD testing. There’s a reason it’s called a mental health check—you need to check on the state of your psyche just as much as any physical part of your body. And the brain is, after all, part of your body. Mental health is not just mental – it affects every part of you. Taking care of your mind, your emotions, and your inner well-being is just as important as maintaining your physiological health. Your mind shapes who you are, what you do, and how you care for yourself and the world around you.
What Happens If I Don’t?
Stress, which is unfortunately a part of everyday life, can put a massive strain on your emotional and mental well-being. However, if you remember to give yourself a chance to recuperate and truly care for your mind and emotions, you will be able to handle the stress of daily life and live to the fullest. Though stress is inescapable, caring for your mental state will allow you to properly process and accommodate stress both in your mind and in your actual body.
Allowing your mental health to suffer and deteriorate can be detrimental to your well-being. If you do not allow yourself a moment to relax, or to simply assess your emotions and mental capabilities occasionally, your declining mental health will affect you. Take it from someone who knows – if you do not allow yourself the time to care for your mind, you will see consequences.
If you do not take the time to care for your mental health, here are just a few things that might happen:
- You will have less control over your body and emotions
- You will have less focus
- Your energy levels will plummet
- You will have increased muscle tension, headaches, etc.
- Your emotions will be more volatile and fluctuate more often
- You will feel lethargic
All of this is just the beginning of what could happen if you do not take the time to properly care for yourself.
Lose Control Over Cognitive Functions, Feelings, Etc.
This sounds drastic, but it is the truth. Stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental strains or illnesses can have long term effects on your mind if you do not allow yourself the time to care for them. While you might not completely lose the ability to speak or hear, it can affect some functions you were unaware you really needed. Extended strain on your mind can cause irritability, anxiety, and moodiness.
Mental health strain will tire you out physically and emotionally, making it harder to rein in emotions and feelings. Furthermore, taking care of your mental state improves memory, cognitive function, happiness, and even other more basic functions of the mind, such as balance and reactions. However, conversely, this means the opposite is true when you do not care for your mental health. Your brain becomes “tired” and stressed, and as such has less capacity to perform its usual functions at full firing power.
It’s Not Just Mental
Strained mental health can have physical effects too. As I said, stress on the brain puts extra pressure on your cognitive abilities, and as such your physical well-being may suffer too. Anxiety puts your brain on high-alert, and so you might feel tense or constantly uncomfortable, which puts physical strain on your muscles and joints. Tension can also cause some pretty severe headaches, depending on exactly how stressed or tense you are.
If not properly cared for, your mental well-being (or lack thereof) can also make you feel tired or lethargic – perhaps your limbs feel heavy, or it seems like far too much effort to even get out of bed. If you do not allow yourself the time to care for your mind, then your brain will make time and give itself a chance to catch up to the strain. During this time, you will feel far less productive, energetic, and you will probably feel irritable. Studies have shown your mental well-being and your physical state are inextricably connected, so caring for one means caring for the other – and the opposite is true, too.
Taking care of your mental health can often result in an entire new perspective on life. It’s like going from having bad eyesight to attaining better than 20/20 vision with Lasik eye surgery or a lens implant—but the effects are noticeable in how your mind perceives the world. Mental health affects how you see the world as much as your physical vision.
Everyone Is Different
Caring for your mental health is a little different for every individual. It usually involves some kind of break or relaxation, though what that looks like is different for every individual. Many professionals recommend taking the time to do something you enjoy that you know relaxes you – some people enjoy reading, others enjoy taking a nap on their comfortable mattress, or going to the beach. Some people choose to escape reality for a little while with some television or movies.
Sometimes, mental health can also be improved by making changes to your physical health, too. Whether it’s taking zinc supplements, or getting off of pharmaceuticals and switching to natural alternatives like Kratom, or even motivating yourself to get outdoors to reset your serotonin and dopamine levels (and while you’re at it, getting outfitted in awesome outdoor gear for more inspiration), making changes to your physiological habits can do wonders for your mind and emotional well-being.
Whatever the case, giving yourself the time and space to give your mind a chance to take a breather is incredibly important to not just your mental well-being, but to your overall health, too. Find out what makes your stress disappear for a while, whether it be as simple as removing yourself from the stressful situation or finding a place to relax and unwind.
In a world as fast paced as ours, it can be hard to find the time to let yourself just exist for a while. We are all only human, and stress is unavoidable. However, taking the time to let yourself relax and take care of your mind is exactly what will allow you to conquer that stress and live your life to the fullest.