Over the past few years, mental health has become an increasingly important point of discussion as social stigma is challenged. Although, conditions have become easier to diagnose, they remain too sensitive to talk about openly. For far too long, people have been feeling uncomfortable, scared, or in some cases ashamed to admit they or one of their loved ones are living with a mental issue, causing significant consequences to their health and wellbeing. Inspired by the cause of World Mental Health Day 2021, we are sharing some simple yet powerful tips to improve personal happiness and wellbeing.
20th World Mental Health Day: Mental Health Equality for all
First honoured in 1992, World Mental Health Day is quickly approaching its 20th anniversary. The purpose of this day was, and still is, to raise awareness of mental health issues and improve mental health services around the world. The theme of World Mental Health Day 2021 is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’. Mental health equality is a key contemporary issue as mental illness impacts people of all incomes, but access to mental health services is far from equitable.
3 Simple but powerful tips to improve personal happiness and wellbeing
1. Start a conversation – Create awareness
Nowadays, promoting an idea or getting a message out is as simple as clicking a button. With the help of online platforms, we can share our thoughts and feelings around the world, reaching, educating, and why not influencing an incredible volume of people we have never even met. With power like this, why not use it to raise awareness about mental health, and further break the social stigma, and spread the message to a broader audience? Let World Mental Health Day 2021 be the stepping stone and the beginning of a conversation about mental health and how it should be equal for all. It does not have to be complicated. Simple actions such as sharing a story, creating a dialogue, or posting information about mental health, would suffice and can help create awareness for someone struggling.
2. Volunteering – The art of giving
Have you noticed that the older we get, the more rewarding it is to give than to receive? Studies show that the act of giving can reduce stress and improve mental well-being. Sometimes people fail to realise, although not intentionally, that time spent with others is the greatest gift, especially when it comes to mental health. According to Age UK, over a million people over the age of 75 go approximately a month without seeing a friend, neighbour or family member. And all that, just in the “normal” days where the excuse behind that was lack of time. Hectic as your everyday life can be, make a difference by visiting your grandparents, your parents, your elderly friend or neighbour. A friendly pat on the shoulder, a warm hello will be of much importance to them. Give back all the love and caring they gave you as a child. On a community level, engage in your local community activities or signup for a “befriending” scheme offered by various organisations, and rest assured that your presence there will be more than welcomed and valued.
3. Join a community - Voice your feelings
One of the biggest obstacles to overcoming personal hardship and mental stressors is the fear or unwillingness to share the battles out of fear of being stigmatised or alienated. As much as modern technology has given us powerful tools of conversation, communication and connectivity through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the less likely it is to touch sensitive areas like mental health, and all aspects around it. More specifically, while most people are happy to share their thoughts and feelings about a topic, they seem to struggle and be reluctant to voice their feelings when that topic has to do with their mental health or the mental health of their loved ones.
But this does not have to be the case.
Grasp the best you can get of this tremendously worldwide communication channel and voice your feelings, become an active member and be as helpful as you can be: to yourself or others. Be part of this global effort to promote awareness for equal mental health from your walk of life, you as a person.
Join an established community, organisation or forum that focus on facilitating personal conversation and providing a safe space, a haven, where people can be themselves, express their thoughts, fears and feelings and find support. But most importantly, realise that they are not the only ones facing similar challenges and there is nothing to be ashamed of. After all, there is no shame when it comes to health.
Be kind to oneself is the first step to be kind to others
All in all, these tips fit well under one fundamental word: ‘kindness’. We believe that at the core of all these actions is the pursuit of kindness and the mission to share it with others. But above all, we must remember first to be kind to ourselves and focus on appreciating the present moment rather than worrying about the future. Discover more ways to be kind to yourself in our blog, where we unpack practical tips on how you can show yourself, and others small acts of kindness and love.