Hey there, how are ya? (All answers are accepted!)
What are you thinking and feeling about your mental health at this moment?
What’s your immediate reaction to me asking you this question?
If someone asked me that question out of the blue, I’d think, “Good!” and then pause for a beat to check in with myself, going more deeply into what mental health means to me…
If I asked you to describe “mental health” what would you say?
When I think about it, a vision of a color wheel/circle pops into my mind, representing the various areas of my life—relationships, work, play, physical health, emotions, safety/security (physical and financial), participating in/giving back to society… and feeling equanimous in these areas. Of course, adding the critical recognition that life is full of change, we experience a range of emotions and work with our feelings and thoughts, tapping into our resilience skills, and perhaps connecting with others, to create the path back to greater clarity, calm and focus when needed.
In recognition of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I should share something more substantial than my thinking… In searching for a description, I discovered,
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” (World Health Organization. Promoting mental health: concepts, emerging evidence, practice (Summary Report) Geneva: World Health Organization; 2004.)
I dug a little deeper, discovered, and prefer this description,
“Mental health is a dynamic state of internal equilibrium which enables individuals to use their abilities in harmony with universal values of society. Basic cognitive and social skills; ability to recognize, express and modulate one’s own emotions, as well as empathize with others; flexibility and ability to cope with adverse life events and function in social roles; and harmonious relationship between body and mind represent important components of mental health which contribute, to varying degrees, to the state of internal equilibrium.” (From World Psychiatry)
Let’s reconsider my question.
I’d venture to say that we all experience times of disequilibrium and the need for support in regaining our sense of harmony.
What is the variety of easily accessible methods you use to regain your equilibrium? My list includes the following:
- guided visualizations
- reaching out to a caring, supportive friend who will listen deeply*
- taking a walk by myself
- making time to sit in the sun with a cup of coffee
- making art
- tangling/stepping into the Zentangle experience
* Whether for myself or with others, I am clear about helping, fixing, and serving. I take my cue from Rachel Remen. “So, fundamentally, helping, fixing, and serving are ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak; when you fix, you see life as broken; and when you serve, you see life as whole.” (See the full piece here)
And so, I offer up a few of my tangled tiles, created as a part of the 21-day Zentangle journey through May as Mental Health Awareness Month. I hope they inspire you to take good care of yourself, find what serves you, and reach out to me if I can be of service to you in crafting a life of equanimity. Take good care.