We are fortunate to be living during a time where we people are becoming aware of the importance of emotional well-being. Yet its is safe to say that there is still some stigma surrounding the whole concept. Even now, people suffer in silence because of the fear of judgment and criticism.
Our mental health impacts our lives in more ways than we can imagine. From everyday tasks and social interactions to how we manage our personal lives and relationships, many aspects suffer a significant blow when we don’t feel our best. Therefore, we must overcome this barrier and encourage those around us to speak up and ask for help if need be. If you notice someone struggling, don’t be afraid to go up to them and have a chat. Even the tiniest bit of support can go a long way. That said, we’ll go over a few ways you can help those around you improve their mental health and emotional well-being.
Get a master’s in counseling
Mental health counseling and therapy are gaining more popularity with every passing year. So, if you too are passionate about helping people improve their emotional health, consider opting for a degree in counseling. As a counselor, you’ll be able to help people from all walks of life to navigate their psychological well-being.
The good news is that participating in a counseling program is easy in this tech-savvy age. Many educational institutes and platforms now offer a Masters of Arts in Counseling online for people with busy lives. With flexible schedules and hassle-free training, you can gain expertise and knowledge within the comfort of your home. This degree is necessary to become a counselor. It helps individuals master the skills needed to engage with clients, assess and manage risks, notice toxic patterns early on and help prevent them. Be sure to check your state’s requirements for licensure.
Spend time with them
There’s still a lot you can do by not being a mental health specialist. The first step to being aware of a loved one’s mental health is to spend quality time with them. You need to create a space where they feel safe and comfortable to express their concerns and struggles. If they feel at ease, they will be 100% honest and speak to you without any barriers.
When a person you love or care for chooses to open up to you about their ongoing problems, you have to listen with patience and calm. Instead of bombarding them with questions or problem-solving advice, let them speak their heart out. The simple act of lending a listening ear can be more beneficial than you think. It makes them feel heard and reassures them that they have someone to go to in difficult times.
Be empathetic towards them
Someone struggling with their mental well-being is likely to act out more than someone with stable mental health. Their behaviour may seem erratic, unpredictable, and out of character. An unaware person may get annoyed by their emotional instability. But as someone who wants to lend a helping hand, you must remind yourself there is a valid reason behind the sudden change in their behavior.
It isn’t easy to deal with their moodiness or negativity, but you must empathize. Know that they aren’t in the right headspace. Instead of taking things personally, put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what they’re going through. Reassure them and give them time and space to come around. When they seem calmer, try discussing healthier strategies they can use to grasp their emotions under challenging circumstances.
Encourage physical activity
Impaired mental health drains one of all energy and motivation. People often end up losing their sense of being. Perhaps the easiest thing for anyone going through a difficult time is lying in bed and forgetting the world exists. This habit will likely worsen the situation and cause more problems. Science has proven that mental health and physical health are often co-related.
Exercise is a proven way to combat depression and manage feelings of stress and anxiety. Scientifically speaking, when we work out, our body produces chemicals called endorphins, which interact with the brain and reduce the perception of pain. It energizes the body and boosts serotonin levels, which trigger feelings of happiness and positivity. Moreover, a sense of physical fitness and well-being nurtures self-esteem and self-confidence, both of which can contribute to a positive mental state.
Help them socialize
If you notice a loved one skipping out on plans repeatedly, spending more time alone, and avoiding interaction with others, realize they may be struggling emotionally. The hardest thing to do when one is in a constant battle with the mind is find the energy to carry out everyday mundane tasks. While it is crucial to give them space, slowly but surely encourage them to get out of the house more often.
Humans thrive off of connection. Instead of forcing them to hang out with large groups, start small. Plan activities and hangouts they are interested in and feel comfortable doing. It will keep them occupied, serve as a distraction, and prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Suggest professional help
No matter how much we study or inform ourselves, the truth is we can never fully understand the extent to which someone is suffering. If you feel like your loved one is in a situation beyond your knowledge, consider taking them to a professional. But don’t force them as this can be a touchy subject for some individuals.
Offer your support and ask them to consider the idea of opting for professional help. Give them time and space to think this through and only proceed with their consent. Drive them to a therapist if need be. Or offer to run other errands so they can make it to their sessions on time. Being compassionate is key to helping a loved one cope with their mental health challenges. It is essential to know every person recovers at their own pace and the most you can do is be there for them.
The above-mentioned ways are helpful, but there is no quick fix to improving someone’s mental health. Recovery doesn’t have a timeline, and expecting your loved one to bounce back within a day or two is unrealistic. Support, be it social or professional, is very important for an individual struggling emotionally. While your words cannot cure them, they can help. Knowing someone is looking out for them and there’s a person to reach out to if need be, makes them feel less alone in this battle. The supportive presence of those around can make all the difference.