What Is Mental Health And How To Find Right Resources And Information
On a gloomy November evening, I found myself contemplating all the ways we tend to distinguish different aspects of our wellness. At the time, with the constant reminders about the impending end to the year that was 2016, there was a noticeable spike in the number of individuals staking their claim to “being a better me” for the upcoming new year.
This typically means New Year’s resolutions about taking better care of your physical health. Promises to hit the gym every day, drink five green smoothies each morning, and drink more water than you’ve ever consumed before in your whole life. I’m not sure about you, but those intentions don’t sound very sustainable to me.
In all the talks of resolutions and new habits, it’s rarely (if ever) discussed how mental health and emotional wellness play into it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” One main takeaway that jumps out at me from this definition, is the recognition that not only is health not limited to just being absent of the sniffles during allergy season, but also that mental health plays a significant role (on the same playing field as physical health) in overall well-being. Just as consuming a large amount of junk food on a regular basis can leave you feeling groggy and uncomfortable, the same goes for not being proactive about your mental health and emotional wellness.
What Is Mental Health?
Widespread stigma and misunderstanding still exist around mental health and emotional wellness. Despite that, the number of resources now available to explore what they mean has exploded recently. With the advent of the seemingly all-knowing search engine that begins with the letter “G”, all levels of knowledge are just a few taps and click away. So, with all this information out there, I’m sure you can agree that misleading statistics and quasi-facts abound.
The sources of great mental health information can come in any number of formats. We all learn, process, and retain information differently. Thankfully, there is no shortage of options as it relates to finding information sources that you can connect with. From official organization websites to personal blogs, YouTube channels, and apps, you can cast a wide net. For some of us, just looking at that list of categories can be overwhelming, and that’s totally fine. The following tips will help you to refine the way you pursue information. They will also help you to stay focused on what is truly important.
- – Consider Your Preferred Method To Access Information
You could be like me, and prefer to delve deep into a physical book or an in-depth online article. Or you could be like my boyfriend, who learns best from visual sources, especially YouTube videos.
Personally, I enjoy perusing the American Psychological Association (APA) website. I also enjoy reading blogs like PsychologyToday.com and PsychCentral.com for updates on the latest mental health research.
- – Pinpoint Sources From Your Chosen Category & Dive In!
Maybe you decided that you function best with gathering information from visual sources, like YouTube videos. If so, go ahead and find at least ten channels that provide mental health, and/or emotional wellness. Don’t worry about getting pulled into the black hole of video-viewing that this platform is known for. Then, set a timer on your phone for three minutes to determine if the content seems legit but also feels relatable to you.
Why three minutes? It gives you the opportunity to really process the information being shared, without spending a long time doing it. three minutes is all you may need to determine whether a content creator can provide you with the information that you need. Your mental health information arsenal begins there. Feel free to spread this out over the span of a week. Then jot down any notes of what you find interesting about each video that you ‘test’ out.
- – Dig Deeper Into Those Sources
So, you decided to check out a few books from the library, or e-books from your favorite platform, now what? Well, the next best step is to choose only about two or three of the sources that you pinpointed in the previous step. Once you do that, give yourself time and space to dive even deeper into each. There is no time-crunch, as learning is ongoing, so this could take days, weeks, or months
Not only will you be arming yourself with knowledge about an industry that you may not have paid much attention to before, but you will be giving your mind an always-needed exercise. Feel free to keep taking notes on points that stand out to you throughout your deep-dive. You can always refer back to these going forward when you want a personal refresher. Better yet, share some information with a loved one to pay it forward.
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