It's Important To Not Be "Okay" 100% Of The Time

Not Being 'OK' 100% Of The Time Isn't Weak, It's Healthy

It's all bound to emerge some time or another.

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I've cried about three times in the past couple of days. All for different reasons, but necessary, all the same. And, what's even crazier to me – each time has been in front of other people. I'm the type of person that loves to suppress intense emotions to the extent that I didn't even know they were there, to begin with. This unhealthy habit is toxically praised as a sign of strength, particularly with protecting a warped portrayal of masculinity.

But, to be perfectly honest, this sort of pressure to keep things under wraps has bled over these gendered lines as an expectation for everyone.

The truth of the matter is that crying, showing, or telling emotion, whatever it is will never be indicative of weakness. In fact, vulnerability is so telling, not to mention really quite helpful when we show it to the right, understanding people. Usually, if we choose to confront our emotions, it's privately and later dried, wiped away, and masked as if nothing had happened. But the longer we perpetuate this, the longer we allow for this to happen, the less okay it seems to not be okay.

For the longest time, I thought there were very few things that made me emotional. I always kiddingly attributed it to being a detached air sign to my friends in tune with astrology, but I've come to realize so much of it was for self-preservation or rejecting a feminine stereotype. I never wanted to be labeled as weak or more susceptible to my feelings, but ultimately I was supporting societal pressures that I had hoped to someday help dismantle.

And, once I realized this, I just sort of let go and let people think whatever the hell they want. If I was compelled to purge my emotions in some way, I was going to. It certainly made me feel better.

The other, more deeply-rooted issue behind this suppression was my lack of enthusiasm in coming to terms with the things that made me want to cry in the first place. No, they aren't fun to think about, and I certainly must pace myself if I do so. But, in a way, they're inevitable.

If you let things sit and fester, they're only going to be much, much worse of a mess for you to clean up later on.

Before I started really committing to this practice in therapy, I interpreted personal issues as something that threatened my whole self-perception. I wasn't attentive nor aware of what was even happening in my heart, and so there was no way to separate being "too busy" to sit myself down from being too afraid.

I can certainly say that if someone wants to peg me as "an emotional woman," it won't be something to get upset over. I'm the healthiest I've ever been mentally, and I still have a ways to go. But, at least now I know exactly how to get there.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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