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Lessons Learnt From My Mental Health Struggles

I am Stan Popovich, the author of A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear, and I struggled with fear and anxiety for over 20 years. During these times, my anxieties and fears were so powerful that I had trouble getting through the week and there were times I felt like giving up. I learned numerous lessons from my struggles, which I will share in this article.


To get through these trying times, the first thing I did was admit that I had a problem. I then took the steps to find a mental health counsellor who could help me with my situation. I also made the effort to learn as much as I could in dealing with various anxiety disorders and depression by reading a lot of books and doing a lot of personal research.


I knew that the answers I was looking for were out there and all I had to do was try to find them. Over time, I learned how to deal with fear and anxiety which helped me in the long run.


It was very tough — however, I did not lose hope.


With time, I became better able to conquer my fears and anxieties, and I applied the techniques I learned from professionals and my own research when I encountered such situations. I tried to find out which techniques worked for me. I would then write down this information in a small notebook. When I encountered a similar situation, I could better face my fears by reading these notes. This prevented me from repeating the same mistakes I had made in the past.


Instead of looking at my struggles as a problem, I tried to look at each situation as a learning experience.


For example, I remember when I first learned to ice skate. Initially, I fell all the time, but I kept getting back up even though it was very difficult. Over time, I did not fall as much and eventually I was able to skate without falling.


How I Got Through Each Week Dealing with My Fears and Anxieties

Whenever I struggled, I made it a habit to take things one day at a time. I tried to not dwell on my fearful thoughts which were telling me that I was not going to make it.


I also realised that you just can’t predict the future. A person may be 99% correct in predicting the future, but all it takes is that 1% to make a difference. There are factors and circumstances that you can’t predict or anticipate that can make a difference in your current situation.


What I Learned About Happiness When it Comes to Mental Health

Happiness is not from seeking one joy to the next, and research indicates that happiness involves times of considerable discomfort. Our intrinsic genes, environmental interactions, achievements, and social connections all influence how happy we may feel. Therefore, taking small steps to create pleasurable situations, undertaking various tasks or challenges, and setting and meeting goals can all increase life satisfaction. The key is to pursue activities which make you happy.


How I Maintained a Positive Outlook

I found it can be very challenging to remain optimistic when dealing with depression, fear, and anxiety. Depression is often associated with overwhelming feelings of loneliness, despair, and hopelessness.


Here are a few tips I used in my personal life when I struggled with my mental health:


1. Socialise With Others

It can be tempting to confine yourself to solitude when you are struggling with depression. Unfortunately, this can simply exacerbate the negative feelings that you are experiencing. Reaching out can go a long way toward supporting you during your more difficult stages. Experiencing depression can certainly make socialising feel exhausting, but there are many benefits to engaging in social activities when you are struggling with depression.

2. Exercise Regularly

Physical activity helps to produce hormones, such as β-endorphins, in the body that are great at lifting the mood and fighting feelings of depression. Though improving your health can certainly help with depression, it doesn’t require substantial exercise and exertion to provide ample benefits. If you don’t exercise regularly, it can be particularly beneficial to simply invest some time in walking around the block. Sunlight, for example, provides many positive benefits to your mental health. It has been shown to boost levels of serotonin, which can substantially improve mood and feelings of well-being.


3. Reduce or Avoid Drinking

Alcohol can affect your brain chemistry, increasing the risk of depression. Many people turn to substance abuse as an alternative to facing the extreme negative emotions associated with depression. Though they may provide a numbing effect, they are certainly not helping with the symptoms of depression. If you drink regularly, reducing the amount you drink, or even quitting altogether, can substantially help you handle the struggles of depression.


4. Implement a Routine

Those who struggle with depression often find that their sleeping patterns deteriorate and become unhealthy. Sticking to a routine can help to prevent you from falling into these habits. In addition, a routine will help to ensure that you eat regularly and obtain the nutrition that you need to stay healthy and manage your mental health issues.


5. Seek Help For Your Mental Health

It is important to seek help when handling mental health issues. Regularly visiting a therapist can go a long way toward providing you with the tools and mental strategies that you need to find happiness while living with mental health issues.


6. Practice Meditation

Meditation has been shown to provide a multitude of mental health benefits. When you incorporate meditation into your routine, you can often manage stress more effectively and ensure a more positive mood. In addition, meditative practices can help you to focus on gratitude and positive feelings to minimise your negative emotions.

In summary, the key is not to give up, and to seek help from professionals. You are not alone when it comes to your mental health challenges. There are many support groups in your area where you can get assistance and where you can meet others who can relate to your circumstances. Your situation is not hopeless and by making the right decisions, you will eventually be able to get your life back on track.

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