Over a quarter of adults in the country, some 26.2 percent, suffer from some form of mental illness. The categories of such vary, but the realities of having a disorder can be challenging, especially for individuals who lack therapeutic resources and actionable measures with which to effectively manage disorder. Nevertheless, to live in a way that doesn’t harm yourself nor those around you, it’s extremely important to at least have some tools to build on and develop more stability in day-to-day activities. Here are some tools for coping with mental illness, listed in no particular order.
Know your triggers:
There are a number of things which drive individuals to anger, depression or anxiety. It can happen over and over again until those things which most set you off are identified and avoided, if possible. I say if possible because there is not always a way to manage the external influences which evoke reactions within us; however, for things, people, or places that are known to be and have been perpetually problematic, it’s a good rule not to engage in those activities or with those people. Likewise, for family members assisting someone with a mental disability, take precautions for them and keep them from circumstances which may do them harm.
Communicate with someone you trust:
Simply talking over problems is such a great help. Yet, it’s important to do so with someone whom you know won’t judge you nor interrupt your thoughts with suggestions or reasons why what you’re feeling is “wrong.” This person in whom you confide should be a friend, family, or medical health professional, invested in your wellbeing and more than comfortable with hearing you out. You will be surprised with how much better you feel after being able to share your concerns, issues, or problems with someone else.
Keep a journal:
Nevertheless, there are instances in which no one is around or you may not feel like sharing. That’s ok, too. Journaling allows you to exercise those same communication skills and even provides the benefit of being able to look back and analyze and/or compare various moments. It can also be useful for when you do chat with your confidant at a future time, to provide them with insight about your experiences.
Join a support group:
Also, it doesn’t hurt to be a part of a group of people which share your problems or those similar to yours. Knowing that you are not alone, that what you deal with isn’t anomaly or something which you must manage alone is a great relief and can have a large impact on the way you manage yourself going forward.
Invest time in something constructive:
Another way to really takes one’s mind off of concerns is to do something constructive which requires focus and engagement. Studies have found that things activities like puzzles, video games, or even adult coloring books are helpful in managing behavior related to mental illness. Also, reading or crafts are highly encouraged. Plus, you’ve made something beautiful or learned something in the meantime. It’s a win-win. Keeping a few options at your disposal as not to grow weary of one particular thing to the point where it lacks enjoyment is recommended.
Spending time alone, meditating is a great tool for coping. Not only will the practice enable you to relax and ease your thoughts, repeated enough, you will be able to do it even in the midst of the most stressful situations, to further manage reactions and responses. Even those who don’t suffer from a disability enjoy meditation because it makes things so much more peaceful.
These are just a few examples of things everyone can do to better cope with the issues which life throws our way. Living with mental illness isn’t easy. However, there are things we can do to improve our experiences and quality of life overall.
Follow Jerry Daskoski on Twitter