• Annie V. Henry

Your Mental Health is a Long-term Game | Holistic Healing Newsletter 8/2/2020

Updated: Oct 17, 2020

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Let’s talk about mental health, shall we?

Stress, anxiety, depression—the list goes on. At some point in each of our lives, we are likely going to face challenges related to our mental health. For some, mental health plays a much more frequent and persistent role in their lives. For others, it may be a concern that is situational and fluctuating. Thankfully, mental health is becoming a much more talked about topic—much awareness and action has evolved in recent years to address mental health in our society.

However, I do have one qualm with the discourse around mental health and how it is addressed—there is too often a “let’s find a quick fix” mentality when it comes to treating the most common mental health challenges. Sometimes, too much emphasis is placed on ridding ourselves of symptoms related to mental health, rather than managing life with our mental health concerns.

Today I’m going to explore this concept. In doing so I’ll likely end up generalizing some very complex and nuanced topics—or missing something all together. So I encourage you to add to the conversation and reach out if you’re feeling talkative. 

Short-term solutions for long-term problems...

You’ll often find me saying that our society and medical system (in general) can be flawed in its approach to long-term health issues—both mental and physical. All too often patients are presented with short-term solutions for long-term problems. “Band-Aids” are offered in place of a long-term, sustainable plan for healing. From personal experience, I’ve concluded that these short-term solutions often fail when applied to long-term problems—or at the very least are limited in their effectiveness. Would you agree?

Although things like meditation, exercise, therapy, and medication can help people cope with things like depression and anxiety—they are not cures. They are coping mechanisms—tools that if used consistently and diligently can help us manage and mitigate the impact anxiety plays on our day-to-day lives and overall wellbeing. To find effectiveness when treating anxiety and depression, I’d argue that we must approach it as a long-term project—not something that can be “solved” and then ignored. I say this out of personal experience managing anxiety.

Like any serious physical health issue, mental health takes patience and long-term dedication to improve and/or manage.

I myself have struggled with anxiety—to some extent—for most of my life. I found that it became a lot easier to accept and mitigate my anxiety once I started treating it like a long-term journey. I eventually realized my anxiety would likely be a challenge I'd encounter throughout my life—it wasn't something that would just go away. 

I found that my anxiety required consistent, daily care to manage. Be it exercise or flossing, just like the efforts I made each day to maintain my physical health, I began to implement certain practices into my daily routine to support my mental health. 

How do you approach your mental health?

Over these next two weeks, I challenge you to take note of how you interact with your mental health. Is mental health care an intentional and active part of your life? How do you view coping with stress, anxiety, depression, etc.—is it a short-term or long-term objective?

So to conclude this rambling train of thought, I’ll leave you with this…When it comes to supporting your mental health, view it as a long-term game. 

Embrace the coping mechanisms. Learn to meditate, connect yourself with a mental health professional, or explore the world of medicinal marijuana if that’s your cup of tea—find a set of coping mechanisms that work for you.

Approach those with the same diligence and seriousness you do with brushing your teeth (assuming that you’re on top of your dental hygiene game). Make mental health part of your long-term approach to personal health care.

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