Mental Health Awareness – Let’s Become Aware

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, May 15, 2024
By Carlos Escanilla, LMHC

So, it’s Mental Health Awareness Month. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I obviously am so grateful for the awareness that has been created around Mental Health. However, for many it still falls under a taboo of sorts. This leaves people with the curiosity of their own mental health. However, they don’t know where to begin.

man depressed

It may sound painfully obvious, but step one is becoming more aware of your mental health. Awareness is the first step towards creating a happier and healthier life. So, if you want to begin, but don’t quite want to go see a therapist yet, here are some steps to guide you on this journey:

1. **Self-Reflection:** Start by taking the time to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Journaling can be a helpful tool for this. Ask yourself questions like, “How am I feeling today?” or “What triggered this emotion?” Self-reflection helps you become more aware of your mental state and patterns.

2. **Educate Yourself:** Knowledge is power when it comes to mental health. Take the time to educate yourself about common mental health issues, their symptoms, and treatment options. Understanding what you’re experiencing can help reduce stigma and empower you to seek help when needed.

3. **Practice Mindfulness:** Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine. Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply taking a moment to notice your surroundings can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings.

4. **Listen to Your Body:** Your body often gives you clues about your mental health. Pay attention to physical symptoms like changes in appetite, sleep patterns, or energy levels. These could be signs of underlying mental health issues that need to be addressed.

5. **Reach Out for Support:** Don’t hesitate to reach out for support when needed. Talk to friends, family members, or a trusted professional about what you’re experiencing. Opening about your feelings can help reduce feelings of isolation and provide you with the support you need.

6. **Set Boundaries:** Learn to set boundaries to protect your mental health. This may involve saying no to things that drain your energy or setting limits on how much time you spend on social media or work. Setting boundaries allows you to prioritize self-care and prevent burnout.

7. **Practice Self-Compassion:** Be kind to yourself, especially during difficult times. Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer to a friend facing a challenge. Remember that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes, and that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

8. **Seek Professional Help:** If you’re struggling to cope with your mental health on your own, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist or counselor can provide you with the support, guidance, and tools you need to improve your mental well-being.

9. **Stay Consistent:** Cultivating mental health awareness is an ongoing process. Stay consistent with your self-care practices, even when you’re feeling good. Regularly check in with yourself and adjust your routine as needed.

10. **Celebrate Your Progress:** Finally, celebrate your progress along the way. Recognize and celebrate the small victories, whether it’s practicing self-care, reaching out for support, or taking steps to prioritize your mental health. Remember that every step forward is a step in the right direction.

Becoming more aware of your mental health is a journey that requires patience, self-compassion, and dedication. By following these steps and prioritizing your mental well-being, you can create a healthier and happier life for yourself.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“When you allow your pain to come to the surface, it can be released. This is when true change begins”- Carlos Escanilla, LMHCheart

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