Do You Have a Mental Health First Aid Kit?

What do you do when you suffer a blow to your mental health, an injury? What would that be? Would you know what to do? Do you have a mental health first aid kit?  Mental Injury vs Mental Illness? When you hear the term mental injury, what’s the first thing you think of? If you said post-traumatic stress, you’re not alone. But that’s not the only kind of mental injury. Neuroscience is still in its infancy so it isn’t easy to define mental injury or mental illness. In fact, it is likely that most of what we call Mental Illness is actually a complex, chronic mental injury. This is an area where we need more studies done. Causes of Mental Injuries According to Psychology Today, there are seven common mental injuries. We encounter these injuries most often and are equal to scratches and scrapes. Like minor wounds we may suffer from these things once, many times, or as a chronic or ongoing injury. Rejection—whether it’s from friends, spouses, or employers Failure—from failing a test, to failing to complete a self-imposed task, to failing an assigned task, or failing a friend. Loneliness—that feeling as thought current relationships aren’t fulfilling our needs […]

You Have the Right to Feel Good About Yourself

 According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, self-esteem is a confidence and satisfaction with oneself.” A positive self-esteem is vital to good mental health. We all have a story we tell ourselves. This story goes to the core of who we believe ourselves to be. Is your self-esteem positive? Or do you look in the mirror and think, “God, I’m fat” or “I’m so stupid?” You have the right to feel good about yourself. And you can improve or change your self-esteem with a few changes in habits.   The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself. Mark Twain Negative Self-talk You’ve learned some negative self-talk. Sometimes a difficult time or situation makes us feel bad about ourselves. Being bullied, losing a job, a death, a crisis in a relationship, physical illness, and yes, mental illness can influence our self-esteem. We start a negative pattern. Repeating a negative phrase or thought over and over, you end up believing the statement is true. What if it’s not true? What do you wish were true? Whether at your parents’ knees, or from your sibling, your frienemy, the television, or magazines, what was learned can be unlearned. Change Your Story If you want to […]

Big Brain-Little Brain: The Mental Health Connection

Did you know about the mental health connection between your big brain and little brain? Each of us has a big brain, contained in our skulls, and a little brain contained in the guts. (I’ll bet you thought I was going to say something else.) The reason the gut is called the second brain is because of the enteric nervous system (ENS). The enteric nervous system is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract. Your ENS brain cannot add two and two or compose a poem. But the ENS can and does communicate with the big brain. It communicates through the nervous systems, through hormones, and through the immune system. More than 100 trillion organisms, collectively called the microbiome, exist in our bodies. (source.) The right microbes keep our gut healthy, turn off stress hormones, and help turn the food we eat into energy. The presence, strength, and number of these organisms signals our gut which in turn signals our brain. Too few of certain microbes may result in depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric diseases. A few studies show interesting connections. Patients with digestive issues (chronic constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, etc.) treated with psychologically based […]