In the U.S., around one-fifth of Americans experience mental illness, yet it has been reported that less than half of them receive treatment. Despite being so common throughout the country, mental illness is shrouded by stigma, judgment, and misconceptions that stop people from getting the proper help they need.
Since 1949, May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. For this year’s celebration, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched its #MoreThanEnough campaign. It creates the space for us to remember that mental illness does not define who we are.
According to the organization, it’s essential that we know how “no matter what, you are inherently worthy of more than enough life, love, and healing. Showing up just as you are, for yourself and the people around you is more than enough.”
Now, saying this phrase is much easier than actually incorporating it into our lives. So, how exactly do we get to the point where we genuinely believe we are more than enough? Licensed clinical social worker Hilary Jacobs Hendel discusses the importance of getting to the root of our illness and triggers when trying to achieve mental security.
“We are not born feeling inadequate. Life experiences and emotions create that sense within us in a variety of ways,” she says.
Hendel goes on to explain that when children are afraid or anxious, their minds are unable to separate their sense of self from their environment, so they project negative emotions onto themselves that manifest into shame and, potentially, mental illnesses.
Understanding these patterns and breaking these cycles is a crucial but difficult step toward improving our mental health. While therapy is one of the most efficient ways of achieving this, it’s not always accessible to some people. So, here are other ways to monitor our state of mind and honor our health.
Monitor your daily moods through a journal
One of the biggest indicators of a mental health decline is a shift in our mood. While mood swings can be expected, it’s important to keep track of how prolonged they are, their intensity, and how they affect our day-to-day lives. Keeping a journal to document our moods can be a great tool for monitoring mental states and working through emotions.
Create daily affirmations that work for you
We’re all familiar with this popular quote from “The Help”: “You is smart, you is kind, you is important.” While it may seem silly to repeat these short phrases every day, little by little, these affirmations remind us of our worthiness and our importance.
Keep up with your daily routines
Ensure you get consistent, quality sleep, eat well-balanced meals, and maintain personal hygiene. When our mental health starts declining, we tend to neglect our physical health. Keeping up with these basic tasks can build bridges that extend into caring for our mental health.
Build your support system and maintain your community
According to the Highland Springs Clinic, “Having a support system means that you have people to rely on when you need them the most. It means that there are people you can lean on whenever you are in a tough situation.” Isolation can be one of the most dangerous things when we are in a vulnerable mental situation. Whether they’re friends, family, or a therapy group, these communities can help remind you that you are not alone.
We are all more than enough and irrefutably deserve love, compassion, and a good life. Finding the help you need and implementing changes is such a task that requires so much strength and courage. Acknowledging our mental health and remembering that it does not change our value is a big part of the process. So, this month, find ways to honor your mental health and remember that you are more than enough.