What’s Your Mental – ability?
When mental health is discussed we often create images of ‘insanity’, of people with less than normal functioning brains.
We may even go so far as to say they are psycho, not a full shilling, or sick in the head.
Such language has made mental health a stigma which most people don’t talk about or dissociate from.
I’m all right jack, it’s the rest of the world that needs to change, are the words of many.
But what about those that suffer? The ones that drift through life in silent desperation, those who don’t feel safe in their own skin? The truth is, we don’t know who is processing mental pain.
But we can we give them H.O.P.E – Hold on Pain Ends. We do this by listening closely and paying attention to our own emotional intelligence.
Mental Health Affects Everyone
We are all on the mental health continuum and just like physical health, this fluctuates throughout our lives. It’s all about frame of reference: for some, an anxious state can be triggered by the fear of open spaces. For others, a noise or smell can propel the feeling of a life or death situation. When we acknowledge that mental balance is about an individual’s frame of reference, we can understand that people meet the world differently. The great news is, just like muscle memory in the physical body, our minds can become stronger and more reliant.
It’s all down to how you meet the world…
It can be liberating to know that anxiety is your brains protection mechanism, it is there to serve you. A little bit of anxiety keeps us aware and teaches us to adapt to certain situations. The problem lies when stressful situations continue and we feel challenged by life most of the time. Here anxiety becomes a disorder, the brain is unable to shut off its protection recall. If repeated stressful situations become our territory, we become wired with anxiety.
What goes up must come down. Anxiety is exhausting and therefore depression has a function, to give the body time to shut down and numb out. Its ok to have down time and feel less than happy. The problem lies when stimulants are used to keep the happiness ball in the air so to speak.
Coffee, alcohol, food, OCD, sex, work addiction and the need to have more things are all ways in which we heighten our anxiety to avoid the lows.
But you’ll be pleased to know that your frame of reference shifts when you begin to own your emotions. This happens when you move into the ‘observer state’. This is a state outside your usual operating system, and is usually obstructed by either the ‘projector’ or ‘reflector’ states of mind.
The projector likes to keep us moving forward, it plans our progress and sets our vision for the future. It is a great asset but, due to an endless number of possibilities, the projector often raises anxiety levels.
The opposing reflector state, lives in the past measuring and checking past actions against our current state of play, the down side is when it holds us back from doing things. When we become afraid of stepping out and growing, or fear getting things wrong, we can get bogged down with depression.
The observer, therefore, is our innate ability to be present, to be able to reflect or project at the right time without getting overwhelmed by the past or the future. This, inner compass is something we learn to trust, it guides us towards mental resilience.
Mental resilience promotes contentment. Contentment is the balanced state between happiness and sadness. We do not strive to reach contentment; it is always there when we accept things as they are!
A good sign of mental resilience is your capacity to allow others to simply be without being emotionally affected by their story. When we develop mental resilience, we align with our truest self and this is nurturing. Here, we do not require the need to be right, liked or accepted.
Instead, we give ourselves permission to simply be, the irony in all this, is that such a state of awareness breeds human connection. So, don’t be surprised if you stop striving to improve your life and you open new relationships you never thought possible.
Reducing the Stigma
To reduce the stigma around mental health we might view another person’s MENTABILITY. This is the measurement of a person’s mental ability to cope with any given situation? When we see mental health from this perspective we might ask the questions; How do I manage my own mental health? How do I respond in challenging situations? What would it take to improve my emotional connection to others?
Mental health is everyone’s concern, but ‘mentabilty’ allows us to see that there are as many variations as there are people on the planet
When we allow others to have their full expression of not only who they are but HOW they are, we lessen the stigma surrounding mental health. This, in turn, improves our own mental resilience whilst reducing the impact of social anxiety which is at the root of all our problems.
So… what’s your mentability?