Mental Health Basics

Mental Health Basics

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    A , Psychology, answered
    For the following exercise, think of a mistake that haunts you. The following series of questions will help you use this mistake to gain increased clarity about your true life path.
    1. Ask yourself, "If this mistake is in alignment with my highest vision of my life and its possibilities, what is the meaning of the mistake?"
    2. Ask yourself, "If the events of my life are meant to be my personal guru, what message is my guru giving me about the direction I should take at this point in my life?" Imagine you went to the holiest guru in the world and asked her, "What is the meaning of my life?" Imagine that her answer was "Wait and see. Your life will speak to you." Then imagine that the mistake you identified before beginning this exercise occurred. What would it mean? Remember that the purpose could be to reconnect you with bigger and better goals or help you build important skills that are essential to the contribution you need to make to the world.
    3. Ask yourself, "What lessons am I learning from this failure or mistake? What skills am I learning from these events?"
    4. Based on your responses to these questions, write out a summary statement of your own guiding vision. What are you working toward? Who are you meant to be?
    5. If you find yourself getting stuck and dwelling on your mistake, you may want to reflect on the general attitude you are taking toward yourself. One way to change your attitude is to change the questions you ask yourself. To find the meaning in the mistake you will have to stop asking yourself questions like "Who is to blame?" "What did I do to deserve this?" and "What's wrong with me?" To try to overcome any tendency to self-punish, ask yourself the following questions:
    • Am I okay?
    • What do I need?
    • How can I comfort myself?
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Worry helps with problem-solving, and the stress reaction, also known as the fight-or-flight response, traditionally is what helped us deal with ife-threatening problems, like saber-tooth tigers. The problems with stress typically happen when we go to extremes of the anxiety scale. Some anxiety is good because it helps keep you on your toes, but too much anxiety can be destructive and no anxiety at all can mean that no decisions ever get made.
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    A Advanced Practice Nursing, answered on behalf of
    What constitutes self-disclosure? It's about sharing personal (and maybe even intimate) details about yourself like your health and relationship status, your finances, religious and political beliefs, etc. It's very important to evaluate the appropriate time and place for self-disclosure. While it may feel very "freeing" to discuss these things with the goal of bringing you closer to others, it depends who those others are and in what context you are sharing these details.
    Here is where the dark side comes in. When you meet someone new, or especially, are in your work environment, ask yourself if perhaps what you want to share could possibly be misinterpreted or used against you in the future. Is it "too much information" at that time or place?
    Social networking sites promote self-disclosure, and make it seem almost effortless to share every small detail of your life and personality. This is the potential dark side. Once something is posted on the Internet, it is there for eternity. Do you really want your future employer to know what your alcoholic beverage of choice is and how often you drink it? This freedom to self-disclose seems to carry over into daily life. Have you ever had a complete stranger on a bus tell you about their "messy" divorce and recent surgery?
    Before you "open the floodgates" about you, ask yourself. Is it too soon or too much? Who is your audience? Self-disclose a little bit at a time; test your own comfort level and the reactions you receive.
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    A , Preventive Medicine, answered
    We live in a world where individuals feel entitled and expect certain things. If these expectations are not met the person may feel like a victim. How many times do you hear, "Why did this happen to me? I don't deserve this? I did everything I was supposed to, this shouldn't happen to me?" Victimization is truly living an insufficient life. A victim mentality can not only ruin your life but the life of those who love you. Take responsibility for your life. You are the product of all of the decisions you made and the ones you chose not to make. Why are you exempt from bad things happening to you? Again, life is a classroom, not a prison. Individuals who live a life as a victim are in prison, yet the key to freedom is already in the door. I have discovered that most victims don't want to open that door because they don't want to take responsibility for their own lives. Be the hero of your life, not the victim.
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    While researchers are working internationally to develop culturally-specific anti-stigma programs, there are steps to take to combat stigma in your community:
    • Recognize that most mental illnesses are disorders of the brain.
    • Be respectful of people with mental illness.
    • Don’t use disrespectful terms in referring to people with a mental illness, such as retarded, crazy, or lunatic.
    • Refer to a person, not just their illness, such as "a person who has schizophrenia" instead of "a schizophrenic."
    • Emphasize a person’s abilities and strengths rather than his disability or limitations.
    • Help dispel myths about mental illness.
    • Promote greater awareness of mental illness.
    • Encourage people to seek help for mental health problems.
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    Combat is an intensely personal experience. It may seem to you that people who have not been through it cannot possibly understand or truly relate to it, and you may be right. In your wartime service, you may have seen and done and felt things you don’t wish to relive or share with anyone. It’s understandable that talking about combat with loved ones and friends can be uncomfortable in the extreme.

    When deployed, your buddies are the only ones you talk with, and there are good reasons for that. But at home your family and friends consider themselves your “buddies,” and they naturally expect that you will talk to them about what you experienced. While you may believe that you are protecting yourself (and your loved ones) by avoiding the subject of combat, they may feel in turn that you are rejecting them or you don’t trust them anymore. It’s important to see the situation from their perspective as well.

    For the returning vet, some avoidance of the topic of combat experience is normal. But if it gets to the point where you are con­stantly avoiding everything that reminds you of your war zone experiences, it can create major problems in your adjustment back to civilian life. You may avoid seeing other people altogether, for fear that they will ask you about the war. Ultimately this will isolate you from others, and you will not receive the social support you need at this time from your family and friends. Don’t shut them out, but let them know, gently, that it is not the right time for you to speak about your experiences just yet. Take your time and pace yourself in opening up, in the way that feels most comfortable to you
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    A Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answered on behalf of
    People who practice mindful awareness, or mindfulness, may reap significant health benefits. Research has shown that mindfulness helps reduce stress, anxiety, depression and long-term (chronic) physical pain. It also helps improve attention, concentration, self-awareness and positive emotions. Some studies suggest meditation can help lower blood pressure and boost immune system function.

    Mindfulness is a tool that people may not have considered using, but which can positively impact the brains and improve one's happiness and general sense of well-being.
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    A , Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    From the Wise Witness (our true self), we can forge a new relationship with the
    mirror by simply not looking too closely. That means doing what we need to do, like brushing our teeth or hair, and then moving on. It means looking in the mirror briefly and not scrutinizing, evaluating, judging, or imagining what other people are seeing.

    If you can step back and become aware of that which is looking you align with the Wise Witness and connect with its compassion for the contracted part of you that's unhappy with what it's seeing. Once you become aware of your negative relationship with the image in the mirror and the suffering created by the harsh, rejecting, perhaps even violent way you've been scrutinizing it, you can choose to stop any negative self-talk and develop a kinder relationship with the image. Negative thoughts such as "I don't like it"; "I want to change it"; and "That's awful!" aren't us, they're our conditioning. The more we realize that the mirror brings out the Critic (judgmental voices), the more we can work to develop a different relationship with the image by being very gentle with it.

    The Wise Witness knows that this two-dimensional representation of the body isn't you. Only when you look deeply into the eyes of the reflection do you get a taste of what you really are -- radiant spaciousness, beyond name and form.

    When we're away from mirrors, it's easier to become more aligned with what is looking out from our eyes (our true self) than with what our eyes see. When we align with the Wise Witness, we experience ourselves looking rather than as objects being looked at. When we believe we're objects, it allows the Critic to rush in and judge us. If you want to stop
    suffering over how your body looks, avoiding long looks in the mirror can really help.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    One of the best ways to prevent psychosis with schizophrenia is to follow your doctor's treatment recommendations. Antipsychotic medications often reduce psychotic symptoms quickly. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations and delusions, often go away within a few days of starting antipsychotic medications.

    But medications affect each individual in a different way. If your medication isn't working and you continue to have symptoms of psychosis, let your doctor know. Perhaps you need a different dose of medication or need to change medications altogether. Unfortunately, if you stop taking your medication, your psychotic symptoms might return. Never stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first.

    Another way to prevent psychotic symptoms is to stay active in individual and group therapy. In therapy sessions, a counselor can teach you ways to avoid relapse. You may be able to identify certain stresses or triggers that might lead to a psychotic break.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    The meaning behind failure and mistakes can be that you need to wake up from your competitive trance. If you are spending precious life energy trying to win competitions that are not in line with who you are and who you want to be, then failure and mistakes can be a gift that causes you to reevaluate your competitiveness. This can take the form of "keeping up with the Joneses" but it also can be much more subtle and pervasive.

    Every environment you find yourself in will have some form of competitiveness at work. What people are competing for may differ wildly, but the underlying competition is present. A friend of mine, who once went from working in a prestigious law firm to working as a waitress in one week, remarked at how all of a sudden the rules had changed from vying to put in the most billable hours to vying to wear the shortest skirt. Competition was a major factor in both environments, but the golden ring was different.

    If you are in an environment that was meant to be a steppingstone, or was an experiment to find out how you would like it, it can be difficult to ever leave. You may get caught up in the competition and forget to constantly monitor the environment to make sure it is in line with your highest vision for yourself. If you get caught up in such a position, mistakes and failures may be just what you need -- they may get you going on a vision quest to figure out what you really want.