Mental Health is as important as physical wellness. But what can we do when the base of our childhood is compromised by unfit mental health and filled with traumas? What to do when your parents see mental health as an excuse? And can we deal with our emotions all by ourselves?
Born This Way
We are all born with the capacity to feel various emotions. As a child, not getting my way meant feeling upset or being told to put away my toys resulted in defiant response. Can a situation or person “bring out the worst in me”? I doubt it is “the worst” – it’s already in me. Our soul is the psychological seat of our emotions. There is simply going past or around it – we have to go through it.
A Never-Ending Story of Suffering Mental Health
“Suck it up.” “Get over it.” In short, this was my parents’ approach to my emotional responses to disappointments. I suffered from childhood emotional neglect. Having been raised by narcissistic parents, I felt responsible for their moods.
As a result, I need to keep others happy for them to like me. Also, I feel that if those that I love are in a bad mood, I have to be the one to make everything right again.
Teaching Emotional Regulation
Emotional self-regulation is an individual responsibility. Teaching this to children is to let them know that all emotions are normal. The only time you possibly point out an abnormal response is when a child shows the opposite emotion to what is normal, for example, laughing at the news of a death. In that case, asking the child why that response seems appropriate to them is very useful. Then explain the standard response, and ask why they feel incapable of that response.
What Will They Think?
Often, you berate yourself for feeling a certain way and think that others will view you negatively. This is primarily due to societal and sub-cultural conditioning. We have been taught how and when to manifest positive and negative emotions.
Toxic Suppression Leads To Degrading Mental Health
An especially abhorrent subculture is toxic positivity. This school of thought seeks to suppress and demonize negative emotion. The problem is that while you may press it down now, the sympathetic nervous system in the body merely stores it for later. Your trauma will resurface over again until it is acknowledged. This is the body’s way of helping us process all negative emotions.
Trigger-Happy or Trigger-Sad?
It is essential to mental health self-care that we acknowledge our triggers, the feelings they produce, and why these feelings are produced. This does not require a professional. No one knows you like you.
We all have triggers. Keep a running list of the triggers and the situation that gave rise. Also, try to pin down why that situation evoked that emotion and not another. This may help you understand yourself better and help a mental health professional get to the problem faster if you choose to go this route.
Get Your Punching Bag!
We also need suitable outlets for intense emotions like anger and euphoria – practical, literally priceless, and do-it-yourself. While displays of violence are discouraged, we can all do something privately to release tension in our bodies.
The punching bag in the garage is the popular choice for dispelling anger. Shoveling a hole or chopping a tree could also help – make sure you don’t literally dig yourself into a hole or chop a branch directly above your head. Getting into the car and slamming the horn or hooter in the privacy of your garage may also assist.
Other benevolent ways of alleviating negative emotions include taking up a hobby to focus your energy on something productive. When triggered, you can turn to this hobby.
Don’t Talk. Just Feel Your Emotions!
Whatever you do, never talk yourself out of what you are feeling! Identify the triggers. Label the emotion/s. Find a way to release the emotion, whether positive or negative. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Yes, seek professional help if symptoms of anxiety or depression, or any other mental health disorder trigger regularly or worsen. But if you can manage them through the tips shared, that’s good too.
What are the other ways you keep your mental health in check? Let us know in the comments.