INTRO TO WOMEN’S MENTAL HEALTH
What is Mental Health?
We hear about mental health all the time now, but WHAT exactly does MENTAL HEALTH mean?
Mental Health: Includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts how we think, feel, and act. It also helps us determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions.
MENTAL HEALTH AND THE GENDER GAP
One of the greatest challenges we, as a people, are faced with these days is the fight against mental illness. It is not a surprise to us all that mental health is a hot topic and one that is finally being addressed more openly. However, what may come as a surprise to many is the gender gap in mental illness. Women are almost two times as likely as men to struggle with disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and eating disorders. On average, 1 in 5 women experiences some form of mental illness in their lifetime. Women are also more likely than men to attempt suicide, whereas men are more successful in their attempts
THE *WARNING SIGNS*
It is very important to recognize warning signs that either you or someone you know could be struggling with their mental health. Some symptoms to look for include, but are not limited to:
PERSISTENT SADNESS OR HOPELESSNES
DRAMATIC CHANGES IN SLEEP AND/OR EATING HABITS
DRAMATIC CHANGES IN WEIGHT
DECREASED ENERGY OR CHRONIC FATIGUE
EXCESSIVE FEAR OR WORRY
HALLUCINATIONS AND/OR DELUSIONS
MAJOR SHIFTS IN MOOD
SOCIAL ISOLATION / WITHDRAWAL
MENTION OF SUICIDAL IDEATION
PHYSIOLOGICAL DISTRESS / PROBLEMS WITH NO KNOWN CAUSE
WAYS TO BOOST MENTAL HEALTH
When it comes to improving our overall mental health, the first thing to assess is the potential need to seek out professional help, be it from a licensed professional counselor, a psychologist, and/or a psychiatrist. Aside from utilizing the help of a professional, it is important to focus on making positive daily changes or additions to one’s life. Ways to boost mental health include:
Start Slowly! But do some fun exercises every day for at least 30 minutes.
Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day and jot down things that you are grateful for.
TALKING WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW AND TRUST
Spend some additional time with HEALTHY people that are encouraging, supportive, and trustworthy.
For most women, it is recommended that they get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night.
GOOD EATING HABITS
There are countless data that link a healthy and balanced diet (rich in fruits, vegetables, high-quality fats, nuts, and other proteins) to positive mental health.
FIND A HOBBY
Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression.
TAKE TECHNOLOGY BREAKS
Social comparison, feelings of missing out, and cyberbullying all stem from the content we see online. These negative impacts lead to more depression and anxiety. Take a break – and see what happens!!
TAKE DOWN TIME & RELAX
Overwhelmed, on the verge of burnout at the office, stressed, worried, the list goes on…TAKE SOME TIME TO R-E-L-A-X!!
LAUGH & SMILE MORE
Research shows that laughing has so many benefits for mental health. So find some Three-Stooges episodes, or watch Nacho Libre (LOL) and laugh, and laugh, and laugh!! You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after a good laugh!!
SPEND TIME IN PRAYER OR MEDITATION
Researchers from Baylor University found that people who pray to a loving and protective God are less likely to experience anxiety-related disorders — worry, fear, self-consciousness, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive behavior
FORGIVENESS FOR OTHERS AND YOURSELF
Research has shown that forgiveness is linked to mental health outcomes such as reduced anxiety, depression and major psychiatric disorders, as well as with fewer physical health symptoms and lower mortality rates.
Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
Becoming more present (mindful) of your own emotions and mental state on a daily basis is critical to your personal growth and in being able to manage your mental health. Self-awareness is the place to start. We constantly have outside influences that are fighting to shape our views of self, which is why it is so important to monitor what we fill our minds with and how much time we give to those outside influences. There’s only one you – so take care of yourself daily, from the inside out. Oh, and one last thing: YOU…YES YOU… MATTER