We’ve talked about stress before. We all know that stress is a natural and inevitable part of our lives, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant to deal with. Happily, most of us are able to handle it, to put it in its proper place and even use it to our advantage. There is often no moment quite as creative as the few minutes before a deadline after all!
But there are times when, for all of us, for whatever reason, we are not able to capture that positive aspect of our body’s natural reaction to situations that raise our heartbeats and ramp up our levels of anxiety. And as the advent of World Mental Health Day on October 10th reminds us, there are some of us who can be seriously knocked out of their regular equilibrium.
Starting the conversation
Long term high levels of stress have been shown to be thoroughly unhealthy physically as well as mentally. But just as there are some people who thrive on that extra adrenalin-charged lifestyle, there are others for whom the exact opposite is true.
The staggering statistic is that up to 25% of young adults will have experienced some degree of mental illness by the time they have made their way through their late teens and early twenties. If one in every four of us is suffering in this way, surely it is something we should be talking about?
World Mental Health Day is intended to spark that conversation into life and to open up what has historically been a secret stigma that people have had to live and cope with in isolation – a situation which is only likely to exacerbate the problem.
A helping hand
We have previously talked about ways that we can all help to manage our stress levels in day to day life, and you can learn more about de-stressing at The Circle, a resource that is ideal for teaching you how to put our disruptive thoughts and negative influences in their place.
The simple truth is, that however many people there may be suffering amongst us with some form of mental illness – and it takes many forms – the more we can talk about it, recognise it as a normal, if unfortunate, part of life and treat its sufferers with compassion and understanding, the more we can all do to help.
Being overly stressed may be an immediate cause of mental instability, but it can just as easily be a symptom of a more deep-rooted malaise. That is why World Mental Health day on October 10th is so important. Bringing mental health issues out into the open and getting people sensitive to the way they are so common and actually talking about mental health as a matter of ordinary conversation is the first step in making our social world a happier and more healthy environment.
The most potent antidote
Of course, we must each take care of ourselves in terms of not getting over stressed or confronting our anxieties. But if we are supported by friends, family and colleagues as part of that process we will all be stronger.
Sharing anxieties, talking through stressful situations and being ready to share and support each other’s difficulties is perhaps the most powerful antidote to stress and to mental illness that we can call on. When we treat each other with compassion and a little understanding we are all made stronger.
World Mental health Day is an initiative by the Mental Health Foundation.