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The Journey from Mental Illness to Mental Fitness

Updated on June 16, 2017

To a question as to who is prone to be affected by mental illness, an expert jocularly but genuinely replied that anyone who has a brain can be affected by it. The problem is that those who have been affected by mental illness may come out with seemingly acceptable reasons for their irrational thoughts or behaviors. At the same time, these people experience inexplicable mental pain. They will do well to remember the words of Karen Salmansohn who said, "Often it's the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self."

This means that if they change the ways they think and practice a few rational behaviors consistently, they can get permanent relief from this issue. This also means that if you have also been affected by mental illness, you have to continuously work on yourself. You have to experience stuff in your mind and align your choices with what you care for in your life. Of course, this is easier said than done. But consistent practice will help. Let us look at some of the basic steps you must take to get relief from this issue.

1. Do not go online immediately on waking up

If you are in the habit of checking the short messages on your phone or the emails in your Inbox immediately on waking up in the mornings, please stop the habit forthwith. There cannot be a more unwise assumption than thinking that you will always have good news from these messages. Reading bad news in the mornings may not only distract your mind but may increase the vitality of the "uncertainty" bug that is already haunting you.

2. Understand that chasing certainty in life and waiting for motivation are wrong
In general, those who suffer from mental illness chase certainty, reassurance and even motivation. Unfortunately, there is no "certainty" in life. The only thing certain is death. Another point is that life is not linear. So, if you take the help of logic and assume that a certain thing will happen if you take a particular step or behave in a certain pattern, you may terribly be proved wrong. It is because the thing you logically assumed may not happen at all.

In this context, waiting for motivation may be a futile behavior. It will in fact increase your anxiety. There will be more uncertainty also. Since you will not be left with any energy, thanks to your anxiety, you will not be able to focus on things that are currently important.

In other words, you can eliminate uncertainty and get motivated only by taking action and not by waiting for them.

3. Welcome new experiences

Be ready for new experiences. Being a person who has been affected by mental illness, you may be more anxious than normal folks when you try to involve yourself in such new experiences. But remember that this is perfectly normal. On the contrary, if you avoid new experiences, you can never be mentally fit and your mental well-being will continue to remain below par. Remember the words of Dawn Stanyon who said, "It's okay to not be perfect. It's okay to make mistakes. It's okay to do something you hadn't done, because if we don't do those things, we never grow."

4. Do not focus on distant goals

Do not expect miracles to happen because you cannot achieve your distant goal instantly. Therefore, distill your distant goal and split it into several support activities so it will be easy for you to achieve your lofty goal more quickly.

5. Do not hesitate to seek help from others

Tell all your close friends and relatives that you have this issue. Tell them also that you are consistently trying to take the required steps and learn the right skills for surmounting the issue. Everyone will willingly help you in your efforts.

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    • dreamdamodar profile imageAUTHOR

      Raman Kuppuswamy 

      16 months ago from Chennai, India

      Thanks Lisa, for your appreciative words.

    • lisavanvorst profile image

      Lisa VanVorst 

      16 months ago from New Jersey

      This was an excellent and informative article. Many times those with mental illness keep it a secret. I call it "The Secret Demons". Mental illness is often overlooked by health insurance and family members also think it is just their family member acting crazy. Labels are put in place when there actually is a disease that may be causing these behaviors. Doctors are often quick to contribute behaviors and say "Oh your just under a lot of stress". I ask "Who isn't experiencing some sort of stress in their life at one point?". I hope that family members look for signs and doctors too and stop and think could this be something else? Sometimes medication in low dosages can help, sometimes just being there for those with mental illness and show support can help. Regardless I appreciate your article and hope others do as well.

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