I see more and more people getting active and eating well all in the pursuit of getting healthy. Social media is currently bursting with positive, motivating quotes and amazing transformations. This is awesome, however is that what health is about?
Let’s look at the definition of health “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organisation, 1948). A pretty clear definition where health is a holistic representation. When looking at this definition, mental health attracts my attention. I personally feel like this aspect of health tends to be over looked. I mean you are more likely to see tips about losing weight or eating correctly, instead of stress management techniques or dealing with mental illnesses. Growing up, my mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and my dad suffered from depression like tendencies. Some of my closest friends and clients suffer from depression or another mental illnesses. Found some stats that are certainly an eye opener:
The World Health Organisation estimates that by the year 2020, depression will be the second most common cause of ill health and premature death worldwide.
One in six New Zealanders will experience serious depression, at some time in their life.
Women have higher rates of depression than men (one in five women, compared with one in eight men, will have depression over their lifetime).
After my father died, I refused to grieve my loss, resulting in depression like symptoms. The amount of stress this mental episode created was 10 times more powerful than anything I had ever suffered before. I was too ashamed to mention it to my friends or family. I continued to hide my emotions until they were bursting out of me. I felt ashamed and embarrassed to seek help. To counter this, I used social media as false advertisement into my happiness with status like “I am so blessed/ fortunate to have….” (The crap you see all the time on Facebook).
I decided to look into mindful techniques, such as meditation (Headspace app, it’s awesome) and stress relieving methods (colouring books and breathing techniques). To my surprise they worked, I felt better but I still needed something more drastic. I eventually grew a pair and booked counsellor sessions, possibly the best decision I have ever made. Within the last 12 months my health has improved, my ability to handle stress is better and my communication with others is a lot easier.
No one’s life is perfect, we all have some sort of problems throughout our lifetime. It doesn’t matter how big or small, they all count. Refusing or ignoring to accept this reality can cause major health implications, resulting in extremely severe consequences. I will happily tell my client to miss a few sessions with me and go to a counsellor if something is bothering them, I think other trainers should employ this attitude also. Happiness and health go hand in hand, it is about time we focus on what really matters to improve the quality of our own lives.
I strongly suggest that you watch this video: http://www.ted.com/playlists/299/the_importance_of_self_care