Aside from maintenance medications and psychotherapy, people experiencing mental health problems can also take practical steps in their daily life to make themselves feel better.
Regular physical activity, yoga, meditation and tai chi are mind and body treatments that can improve mood, anxiety and other symptoms of mental illness. Moreover, physical activity can help reduce weight gain, fatigue, and other side effects of many medications for the treatment of mental health conditions.
Establish a support network. Seek support from friends and family members. Find a self-help or support group to talk to other people who are experiencing the same type of problems and can listen and offer valuable advice.
Seek professional counseling. Psychotherapy can benefit both the individual with mental illness and their family members. A mental health professional can suggest ways to cope and better understand your loved one’s illness.
Practice “radical acceptance”. Instead of wasting valuable time and energy “getting rid” of the mental illness or pretending it doesn’t exist, accept yourself and your condition. Then take the necessary steps to take care of yourself.
Practice deep breathing to calm anxiety and relax. Breathe in for 5 seconds. Hold the breath for 3 seconds. Breathe out for 7 seconds. This is the concept of “5 3 7” breathing.
Do “opposite-to-emotion thinking”. Act in the opposite way your emotions tell you to act. For example, if you’re feeling upset and have the urge to isolate, go out and be around people.
Use “The 5 Senses” technique. As its name implies, this technique employs your five senses and your physical space to ground you through a crisis. For example, if a traumatic flashback comes, stop and look around. See the movement of a clock’s hands. Feel the chair beneath you. Listen to the sounds of nature. Smell the aroma of your coffee. Chew a piece of gum.
If you feel overwhelmed and need help or just want to talk to someone about your mental health problems, call the 24/7 NCMH Hotline at (0917) 899-8727 and (02) 8-989-8727.
References: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/January-2019/Self-Help-Techniques-for-Coping-with-Mental-Illness. Accessed 10 September 2020 https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Complementary-Health-Approaches. Accessed 10 September 2020 https://www.mhanational.org/recognizing-warning-signs. Accessed 10 September 2020 https://www.facebook.com/ncmhcrisishotline/photos/a.192355685634245/189754269227720/. Accessed 10 September 2020
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