When we hear about mental health affecting our lives, many people assume we’re discussing illnesses like depression or anxiety. But mental health reaches so much further than these surprisingly common diagnoses. Mental health and emotional well-being are closely linked— and how you’re doing with both affects every area of your life. From work to your home to your relationships of all varieties, mental health matters. Let’s take a look at some ways your emotional well-being affects different relationships and what you can do about it in California.
Mental health isn’t just about relationships— it’s also about you. No one wants to go through life stressed and miserable or suffering from panic attacks. But poor mental health can have severe consequences, such as broken down relationships, estrangement, job loss, and more. Taking steps to improve your mental and emotional well-being is a sign to those close to you that you really do care about how your illnesses are affecting you and those around you. Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to improve your mental health—and, in turn, your health and relationships.
Different Ways Mental Health Can Affect Common Relationships
You have a variety of relationships throughout your life, not just romantic ones. Your relationships include all of the following:
- Relationships with Your Partner(s)
- Relationships with Your Family
- Relationships with Your Children
- Relationships with Your Friends
- Relationships with Your Coworkers
- Relationships with Your Classmates
- Relationships with Superiors
While many of these relationships occur at different stages in your life, they all tie directly into your mental well-being. Let’s take a look at some of the things that change with your mental health.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, you may have trouble expressing yourself or articulating accurately. You may have anxiety regarding conversations and meetings, or you may find yourself apathetic when speaking with others. These all can increase the chance of miscommunication, which can affect your work, your partnership, and more.
Mental, emotional, and physical health are all linked. If your physical health is floundering, it can lead you to socialize less or lash out at friends and family. Trouble with sleep or concentration can affect the quality of your work. And if you’re miserable, you’re probably not great company or feeling intimate for your significant other(s).
Mental health issues can lead to headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, fatigue, muscle tension and spasms, and injuries caused by self-harm, such as bitten fingers or cuts along your body. You may find you have trouble sleeping or that you sleep too much. Concentrating could be hard for you. Stress and trauma have also been known to trigger autoimmune disorders like psoriasis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and more.
Everyone will have disagreements at some point in their life— there’s no avoiding them. However, poor mental health can lead to even more, causing tension and resentment. This can lead to a breakdown of romantic relationships or estrangement from extended family or children.
For certain mental illnesses, people have a tendency to project their vulnerabilities and concerns on others. Have you ever heard a parent berating their child about their diet and weight loss? Or a coworker micro-managing others? These can be because the parent has body dysmorphia or an eating disorder; perhaps the coworker has anxiety revolving around work or issues with focus. These projections can cost you relationships and even lead to mental illness in others.
How You Can Improve Your Mental Well-Being
Check In On Your Physical Health
Just like your mental health can impact your physical health, the reverse is also true. If you’re suffering from a medical issue that affects things like hormone levels or your autonomic nervous system, you may experience mental health issues. It’s always worth a trip to your doctor if you are newly experiencing depressive episodes and panic attacks to make sure everything is in balance. Thyroid issues and dysautonomia can impact both your physical and mental health, so they and illnesses like them are worth ruling out.
Additionally, activities that require physical exercise and getting out into the sun or spending time in nature can improve your physical and mental health. Heavy fatigue or insomnia could be signs of physical issues like sleep apnea. Our body’s varying systems are all interconnected; what affects one will likely affect all.
Self-Care and Self-Improvement
Setting aside time for yourself is vital to good mental health. This can be anything from scheduling time to read a book or going out to get your nails done. Perhaps you want to treat yourself to a spa day or go watch your favorite team compete. Whatever helps you relax or feel happy. Even gaming can qualify, if you aren’t tilting.
But Self-care can also include intentional steps to better yourself. You could take a class on mental health or for a skill you’ve always wanted to try. Check out some of the latest mental well-being apps on your smarthphone, or check out some books on areas where you feel like your struggling. Journaling can be a great activity for self-care, and it can help you target areas of stress in your life.
Mindfulness and Meditation
While this can tie directly into self-improvement, mindfullness and medication deserve their own section. Unlike the above activities, this requires setting aside tiem to do….nothing. Well, nothing physically. Meditation is about setting aside time for peace, quiet, and introspection. Religious people will often pray in place of meditation, speaking with the higher power in their lives about their issues. Others will speak to themselves. Whatever works best to help you process your thoughts and feelings.
Meditation is away to drift away from the stress of life and focus on yourself and your thoughts. It’s a good way to process major and minor events, reflect on your current feelings, and more.
Working with a licensed counselor or therapist is a great step in improving your mental well-being. These highly trained profiessionals have a welath of information and coping methods available to help you workthrough the root causes of your stress or to recognize what acts as a trigger for depression and anxiety. Counseling is also a great way to address relationships, including how mental health affects them. Couples therapy in California can show your partner(s) that you recognize something is off and want their help to understand what’s happening in your relationship. You can also look into family counseling, especially if you want to improve your relationship with your children. Individual therapy is a great place to address past traumas or daily stress— even just daily life. Counseling doesn’t exist strictly for people already struggling; it can also be a tool for daily wellness.
Set Boundaries— and Keep Them
Boundaries are a must in any romantic relationship. But they shouldn’t be limited to them. Healthy boundaries help eliminate stress and conserve your emotional energy. You will ensure your independence, autonomy, and self-esteem. Boundaries can range from learning to say ‘no’ to extra tasks at work to setting a firm line about appropriate discussions with your parents. Another benefit of counseling is your therapist can help you set healthy boundaries in various areas of your life, so you can improve your daily existence.
Better Health, Better You, Better Life
Mental wellness has a massive impact on all aspects of your life. It’s more than worth taking the steps to ensure you remain mentally well and emotionally capable. You may be surprised—- even if you aren’t struggling now, improving your overall well-being can have incredible effects on your daily life. Take a deep breath, stop to smell the roses, and learn how to appreciate and improve your mental health.