MENTAL HEALTH MOT
Mental Health – MOT in 4 Steps
So, it is Mental Health Awareness week an ideal time to address mental health maintenance. Or what I describe as a mental health M.O.T. A way of checking in with yourself to make sure that you are mentally efficient. Coming from a competitive environment a healthy mental state is crucial but often not focused on.
Although awareness has grown over the years about mental health there is still huge stigma attached to admitting you have or are dealing with a mental health problem yet according to www.mind.org 1 in 4 of us will suffer a mental health problem EACH year.
The point is its ok. It is nothing to be ashamed about. If we injure our backs usually we would visit a Chiropractor. Muscle injury a physio, a Doctor for general health ailments. So why do we not take this approach with mental health? Just like our bodies are physically susceptible to ailments and conditions our mental health is as well.
The term mental health covers a vast variety of conditions and of course all cannot be treated with a one stop shop approach. How do we know our mental health is actual suffering? Surely, it’s just a bit of stress I have been working extra-long hours recently? Or I am just really tired at the moment that’s why my mood feels low.
It’s this approach and inability to not being able to recognise the signs that may lead to larger repercussions and effects on mental health further down the line. So, before it gets to that recognise the signs and manage them:
1.How is my breathing? – Our breath is so important (something we focus hugely on in the workshops) It is the only autonomic system that we cannot control. Yet it gives a huge indication as to what is going on with us internally. When we are nervous/stressed we tend to breath faster. Tense – we hold our breath. Not only our breath but our body can often physicalise emotional problems so don’t ignore what your body is physically telling you and pay attention. Night sweats, headaches, back ache are all examples of how emotional problems can manifest physically.
2.How is my sleep at the moment? Lack of sleep is a massive contributing factor to deteriorating mental health. Lack of sleep can be torturous (trust me I know, I have 3 children!) Disrupted sleep, restless sleep. It not only Affects our ability to concentrate but also has a negative impact on our outlook. Try and establish a night time routine and limit screen time before bed. Even if you can’t sleep start by just lying down in bed earlier.
3.How am I Feeling? – Sounds obvious but easily missed. What is your response to usual tasks? What is your general mood? If it feels it has been low for a while? Try and determine how long? What are the triggers?
4.How do I relate to people? Ok aside from the odd person that may be justly irritating! Are you finding yourself constantly irritated by others? Not wanting to engage as much? Wanting to isolate yourself from others? This is when we want to retreat and not participate as much as we usually would. Often, we force ourselves to be around people that end up elevating our irritations because we are not in the frame of mind to deal with them as we normally would. Create space and take the time you need to work through why you are feeling the way you are.
So much emphasis is placed on physical health, but mental health is just as important if not more so. Our bodies are actually just vessels for what the mind is using/telling us to do. It’s our mind that drives us forward. In boxing we say its 80% mental and only 20% physical simply because the power of the mind is what creates a champion. So, recognise whether you need to improve your mental health and take the necessary steps to do so.
Keep Going Champs.