TIME FOR CHANGE

If we choose to take a different approach and think about things in a different way, then maybe we can create a change.

This is Mental Health Awareness Week and the focus this year is on stress. Rather than focussing on stress itself though, we must focus on how we manage our response to it, how we can break it down and process it, how we can make it smaller and more manageable. We must look at how we think about stress in order to be able to deal with it in a better way.

     “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”                                                           – William James (1842 – 1910), Philosopher and Psychologist

Stress has been around for many years and takes many different forms. Our capacity to deal with certain levels of stress is different for everyone, based on so many factors including personality and past experiences. Everyone has a level that is manageable. However, it can very easily and quickly progress to a place of being unmanageable and overwhelming. It can create feelings of not being able to cope, wanting to hide away, or run away.

But our lives, and our physical and mental health and wellbeing, are precious. And we have to do what we can to combat stress, to protect ourselves from the harm it can cause, and the profound affect that it can have on us.

The very things we need to help combat these feelings are also the things that are usually the first to disappear when we are under a great deal of stress.

Healthy food and water are replaced with unhealthy snacks, too much coffee and alcohol. Physical exercise may completely disappear as you feel too tired or you aren’t in the mood. There is no quiet time for you to reflect upon and process what is happening and your sleep is compromised as you find it difficult to switch off and relax. And you can start to lose the connection with yourself and others as your behaviour or mood is altered and you would prefer to be on your own.

It is an unsustainable cycle that can quickly lead to mental health challenges or a mental health crisis.

How is stress affecting you in your day-to-day life? What steps are you taking to keep it manageable for you? Perhaps today is the day that you decide to drink some more water, make healthier food choices, read a book or write in a journal, or go for a walk or a run.

On Sunday I took part in a 5k run that was held locally. My children did the 2k. There were other younger ones too, with parents, friends and family members taking part in the 0.5k and 1k runs. It was all about taking part, being active and having fun. It was the connection with others and sense of community, cheering everyone on and offering support and encouragement.

It is very easy to feel alone and isolated in a world that is becoming increasingly connected but increasingly disconnected at the same time. But if we choose to take a different approach and think about things in a different way, then maybe we can create a change.

This Mental Health Awareness Week, I hope you will support my fundraising efforts in raising vital funds for Mind – The Mental Health Charity. All of your contributions help them to continue their vital work in supporting those experiencing a mental health challenge or a mental health crisis.

As always, thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

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