By: Antonio Stephens, Wellness Coach and Podcast Host
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. This year's theme, “Look around, Look within,” emphasizes the importance of our surroundings in shaping our mental health and encourages us to take a closer look at both our external and internal environments.
Our surroundings have a significant impact on our mental health, and this impact can be positive or negative. For instance, living and operating in a safe and stable environment can promote a sense of security and reduce stress, while an unstable or unsafe environment can lead to anxiety and fear. Similarly, being surrounded by supportive and nurturing relationships can promote feelings of happiness and contentment, while social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.
When we "look around," we are taking stock of the people, places, and things in our lives that can affect our mental health. This can include our living situations, work environments, relationships (including family), and the communities in which we live and serve. By paying attention to these factors and taking steps to address any negative influences, we can create a more supportive and positive external environment for ourselves so we can thrive and show up at our best.
But "looking within" is equally important in promoting mental health and well-being and is what I would classify as our spiritual wellness. This involves reflecting on and engaging with our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. By becoming more aware of our own mental and emotional states, we can identify any negative patterns or tendencies that may be holding us back and take steps to address them.
This can involve practices such as mindfulness meditation, therapy, yoga, or activities that allow us to enter a complete state of flow. By engaging in these practices, we can develop a greater sense of self-awareness and cultivate a more positive mindset and psychology, which can promote better mental health and well-being.
The theme of "Look Around, Look Within" reminds us that mental health is not solely an individual issue, but also involves our communities and social connections. By paying attention to both our external and internal environments and taking steps to promote positive influences, we can collectively shift and change our outcomes for a better world. This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s take the time to look around and look within, and commit to promoting mental health and well-being for all.
Thanks for reading and take good care of yourselves.
Speak again soon!