13th May13th 2021
Face Up to Mental Health

We have had good reason to worry about our mental health in the last year. But let's make sure we understand what we are saying. There is a danger that the term "mental health" becomes overused, in a way that "stressed" has been overused. When something is used too often without a clear focus, its meaning is diluted and its real impact lost. When it loses its focus, we can't deal with it. Instead, let's notice more about how we feel and how it affects us, so that we neither generalise nor dramatise what is happening to us. Let's speak about mental health as we would speak about a physical injury. If you, for example, sprained your ankle, you wouldn't say "my physical health is suffering". You would draw attention to where it hurts, and take the weight off your foot immediately. In the same way that we could all sustain a sprained ankle at any time, we can also feel anxiety and stress. Focus on what might be behind these feelings, whether events ot thoughts, and then take the weight off by reframing those thoughts or creating a strategy to recover. (With thanks to Michael Dziedzic and Averie Woodard for their photos on Unsplash).