Mental illness can be very isolating and it's easy to withdraw from others. However if we want to overcome the symptoms that come with it, we'll need a strong support network. So when we're feeling like staying in a dark room for several hours each day, we need to call a friend, or spend time with someone who brings out the best in us.
2. Thou shall avoid comparison
Comparison is really easy to do, especially when we're not feeling good about ourselves. It's easy to imagine what we would like with a better, wealthier, nicer, prettier______ (fill in the blank). However the more we compare, the more we lose sight on all the good that is already within us and around us. Social Media can also be a platform for comparison frenzy. If we find ourselves comparing ourselves to every picture we see, than we may need to put the electronic device down- our precious self-esteem will thank us later.
3. Thou shall absorb more positivity
It's easy to get into the rabbit hole trap of negativity. Negative thoughts run rampant in the mind of those with poor mental health but the only way to think more positive is to surround ourselves with more positive. Which means what we watch, listen to and whom we gather with matters and influences us more than we can imagine- so watch, listen, socialize, positively.
4. Thou shall nourish one's body
Depression makes it extremely challenging to give your body the right nutrients. Depression can make people eat too much or not eat anything at all. It's important to nourish your body and fuel it with the vitamins (like Vitamin C + D), a lot of water (stay hydrated and avoid sugary drinks), and balanced meals (if it comes from the Earth, eat it). Also keep it movin'. Your body wants to be active. In fact, some studies suggest that working out enhances people's mental health more than psychotropic drugs and therapy combined.
5. Thou shall create and maintain healthy boundaries
Something that gets in the way of mental health is having poor boundaries. This often looks like helping everyone, over-working, over-productivity, saying "yes" when you really want to say "no," and allowing others to take advantage. It is a difficult task if we had poor boundaries for quite some time but the more we create the boundary, the more space we have to nurture yourself.
6. Thou shall keep the truth of who you are
When we're feeling depressed it's hard to think positively about ourselves and when it's hard to think positively, truth often times goes missing. Negative thoughts repeat creating mantras of "not good enough" and the wonderful things that make us, special become something terrible, disgusting or shameful. So when positivity seems out of reach and our mind fills with untruths we must bring back logic and remind ourselves what's good about us. We may have to do some deep soul searching or reach out to someone who loves us to remind us...again...again...and again how great we really are. In other words, it's important to do whatever it takes to stay grounded in who we really are.
7. Thou shall spend time in nature
Nature is one of our greatest gifts and the best part about it is it's free! Being out in the sun, feeling cool breeze, sitting on a luscious bed of grass, gazing at the stars, letting drops of rain fall down your face, or allowing an awesome sunrise or the grandeur of a mountain take your breath away helps you to get outside of the chaos within to the natural beauty all around you. Also, studies show that the more time people spend in nature, the happier they are.
8. Thou shall practice more gratitude
Studies show that living a more gratitude-filled life increases happiness. It may be helpful to start a gratitude journal or to begin and end the day in thanksgiving. Creating space to recount what we are most grateful for, no matter how big or small, can lead us to more appreciation for what we have instead of what we lack. It also shapes our perspective in other aspects of our lives so that we can experience all the good that is happening within and around us.
9. Thou shall discover the root cause
Often times when we're feeling depressed, anxious, angry etc. we're not taking the time to explore the 'why.' When we're feeling intensely we're just stuck in the feeling. This most likely is due to the fact that it's hard to unearth the why. It's usually buried in uncharted territories in our heart. In order to discover the why it would take having to really see what went wrong and who has impacted us, which can be very painful. However, when you know the 'why' you can discover better solutions and your specific pathway towards healing. We really can't heal from a wound we don't know about. This is where therapy comes in. Therapy helps you discover the root cause and with more awareness, you can find ways to live a mentally healthy life.
10. Thou shall ask for help
Whether it's asking for help from your therapist, parent, friend, pastor, neighbor, or God, asking for help from someone you trust can offer you a release from the heaviness of your burdens. Asking for help, also acknowledges that you can't do it alone and why should you? The weight of heavy emotions is not easy to live with and the more support you receive, the more empowered you feel to take on the challenges and overcome the struggle.
I hope these 10 commandments are helpful to you! Please note that these 10 mental health commandments are not written to replace the real "10 Commandments" or to diminish the value of God's holy law. Use these 10 "commandments" as a resource and know they're named "Mental Health 10 Commandments" simply because it's a catchy title AND they really are vital to holistic mental health.
With this being said, share your favorite commandment on the comments below or which commandment you can begin practicing more!
Through personal story, mental health awareness, and practical tools for every day authentic living, this blog seeks to capture the hearts and minds of anyone who's most in need.
Be brave, be beautiful, be compassionate, be love- authentically be.