The next time someone tells you that mental illness is all in your head tell them: “Well duh, where else is it going to be, my kidneys?”
We all know that mental health doesn’t exactly reside in our kidneys, our lungs or feet for that matter, but what exactly is it? What is this buzz word that everyone keeps talking about? Is it going to just go out of fashion in a couple of years time?
Mental health; just like physical health we all have it. Generally if we’re in good mental health we can cope with life. We are fully engaged with our family, community, friends and work, and we can normally make the most of our potential. We all have times when we feel stressed, down, anxious and overwhelmed and that’s normal. Sometimes these feelings might develop into a more serious problem and this could happen to any one of us. Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time; they affect one in four of us every year. But it’s not all doom and gloom! Just as we know how to take care of our physical health through diet, exercise and drinking water, there are many things we can do to take care of our mental health too.
In a fast-paced consumer driven society, it can be hard to take time out for ourselves and look after our mental health. It is, however, essential for our wellbeing and it can help us become more resilient to the life stresses thrown our way. Trying relaxation and mindfulness activities can really help reduce stress levels and improve mental wellbeing. Becoming more conscious of our surroundings, the food we’re eating and the world around us is a good starting point. Doing something we enjoy and looking after our physical body can also be beneficial for our mental health.
One activity that ticks all these boxes is massage. The quiet of massage can help us be present in the moment, it can help us understand what true relaxation is and it’s something most people enjoy! A key part of massage is touch; it’s this basic contact with others which can fulfil both a physical and emotional need. Most people feel more balanced, grounded and energised after a massage. They sleep better, their minds are quieter and they feel lighter. Massage can help physical and mental health at the same time by helping reduce feelings of anxiety and panic. Massage lowers blood pressure, releases muscle tension in the chest, neck and head and helps combat the shallow breathing that can result when we’re worried or stressed.
So next time you feel stressed, down, anxious or overwhelmed, don’t panic. These feelings are perfectly normal and the best thing is that you can do something about them! Take some time out for yourself, try and relax, do something you enjoy and try and get a massage!