May Is Mental Health Awareness Month, But We Need To Do More Than Just Be Aware

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month, But We Need To Do More Than Just Be Aware

There is a stigma surrounding mental health and the illnesses and although we may be aware, we need to do something more.
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May doesn't just bring flowers from April flowers, it is the start of warm weather, the final passage into summer, and the last stretch of the school year. May is also Mental Health Awareness Month. With the end of the semester brings stress. So much stress that it causes people severe anxiety, from test to the thought of not getting the grade they want in their classes.

Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Lots of college students struggle with maintaining their mental health. And for good reason. Most traditional college students are full-time students, while also balancing a job, being involved in different extracurricular clubs, trying to stay healthy keep off any extra weight you've gained, and also trying to have a social life. It can be too much sometimes. Especially when it feels everything needs to happen all at once. Life can get overwhelming.

See also: I Am A Highly Functioning Human Being, But I Still Struggle With Anxiety

Even those who aren't in college struggle with their mental health. Millenials, especially women, are struggling. For women, this is caused by violent and abusive relationships and social media. It's hard not to compare the beautiful woman in the Instagram photo or celebrity with her handsome husband. We all have our insecurities and wish we could be this or that. We need to recognize that people go through things in their life that are hard. So being aware that everything is not okay is just the beginning.

Awareness is trying is understanding that something is off but trying to help them in whatever way they can.

You can't stop there. Some bad days where your mental health isn't doing so hot can stem from just having a stressful day. It can also be genetics or just personality traits. So instead of putting someone down for being a bit moody, try to understand where they are coming from.

There is a stigma surrounding mental health and the illnesses and although we may be aware, we need to do something more. You can try to understand what mental illness is by educating yourself, have an open conversation about what is going on, and know that the illness doesn't define them. It makes up who they are and who they are is perfect. The stigma that society creates causes a self-stigma that causes the person to doubt themselves and feel like they aren't enough.

Let them know that they are certainly enough. That no matter how they feel, there will always be someone there.

May is not the only month where we should be more aware of our own mental health. It should be a year-round awareness that we check every day. It's okay to take a "mental health day". Everyone needs one. Stop stigmatizing our well-being as a negative. But know that it is essential to how we live life.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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Meditation Is Not A Perfect Practice, But It's Still Worth Your Time

You'll thank me later.

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I began doing yoga a few years ago, and I instantly loved it. The combination of stretching, mental relaxation, and emotional release is amazing. It creates a sense of zen and peace in my life that I can use during the stress that comes from school, work, and everyday life. But the one part of yoga that I am not in love with is the meditation aspect.

I absolutely dread meditation. I do not know what it is, but I can never quite seem to get my mind to quiet down. No matter how hard I try, there is always a million thoughts running through my brain. "Did I finish that homework assignment?" "Am I breathing too loud? Can other people hear me?" I become so focused on other things happening around me that I just can't seem to calm down and relax.

But meditation is not about just clearing your mind and going completely blank. It is about focusing on a single thought, object, or intention and just allowing those emotions and feelings to overcome you. Focusing on one intention in your life allows you to become focused and re-centered. Meditation is not a set in stone practice, it is adaptable based on each person's needs.

There are seven general types of meditation: loving-kindness meditation, body scanning meditation, mindfulness meditation, breath awareness meditation, kundalini yoga, Zen meditation, and transcendentalism meditation. Each of these general types can be adapted to fit ones specific needs in that time. All seven of these meditations offer stress release options to help with daily stressors and inconveniences.

There is no perfect way to meditate. Meditation can also be as simple as just closing your eyes and simply breathing for a few seconds while focusing on one important thing in your life to help you remain grounded. There is no one set meditation type that works for all people. Some people enjoy all of the forms or even several of them, while others such as myself strictly enjoy the body scanning meditation.

The body scanning meditation focuses on scanning the body for areas of tension and to encourage the release of tension in that part of the body. Once the release occurs, the whole body can begin to relax even more. It usually starts by focusing on the toes and relaxing then moving up the legs, the torso the arms to the fingertips, and all the way through to the tip of the head.

My ideal meditation type is not for everyone. Playing around with the different types of meditations is the best way to find an ideal type of meditation that fits what the body needs. Unlike with most things, practice doesn't make perfect. Practicing the art of meditation just helps to refine the overall calm and zen that is felt.

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