As today is the final day of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 let’s finish on a positive note.
Mental wealth is a term that covers both mental health and wellbeing. All too often when we talk about mental health, we associate it with negative stigmas.
What do you think of when you hear the term mental health?
Depression, anxiety, mental illness, suicide…
None of these terms are incorrect and we all have our own perceptions of mental health, but we all have mental health.
The opposite seems to happen when we talk about wellbeing. What springs to mind when you think of the word wellbeing?
Fitness, health, wellness, robustness…
We often relate wellbeing to physical health and imagine images of meditation, healthy eating and exercise.
So mental wealth is about having compassion for ourselves, identifying our strengths and learning how to manage the positive and negatives experiences we have and how they can affect us. Mental wealth includes emotional, psychological and social wellbeing, affecting our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Having previously been diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depressing following a traumatic event I have had many negative mental health experiences. I was emotionally exhausted, psychologically not functioning well at all, my social skills became non existent and my thoughts, feelings and behaviours completely changed. I found my life spiralling out of my control and hit rock bottom.
I reached out for help and found there was plenty of it out there from family, friends and professionals. This support gave me the foundations to begin really rebuilding my mental wealth. Nature has been a huge part in improving my mental and wellbeing and I wouldn’t be where I am today without appreciating it.
As I began to first manage my mental health my overall wellbeing began to improve. It started with just taking in nature on short walks from home, giving me time to process things and tune into the environment around me. It built up, slowly getting out walking the higher fells with family and friends and finding myself much calmer and less stressed about the little things in life.
I then rediscovered wild swimming and wild camping again for the first time since my childhood. These really helped me to feel in control of my mental health and wellbeing as I could put my worries to one side for 10 minutes in the cold water or a whole weekend under the stars, feeling lighter of those worries when I return home. I also met amazing people through doing these activities who are passionate about nature and enjoy being immersed in it.
The benefits of nature to our mental wealth are now being recognised at a much more fundamental level and nature is being prescribed by professionals to help our mental wellbeing, find out more in my ecotherapy blog.