Mental Health Month

SidhasanaEvery May is Mental Health Month. This year’s theme is “Risky Business,” and is about risky behaviors. Not going to lie, I strongly disagree with some of their alleged “risky behaviors.” If you visit their site, they consider marijuana use, sex, prescription drugs, internet addiction, compulsive buying and extreme exercise to be problems in our society.

Marijuana use in my opinion is not a risky behavior nor is extreme exercise. Yes, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. However, society is finally starting to realize the benefits of marijuana and hemp. Marijuana has healing properties and we can build things out of hemp. Overuse of marijuana can interfere with an individual’s life, but marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol or any other “drug” out there. Look up the statistics. The problem in the early years is that they had to call marijuana a “gateway drug” and use any anti-marketing tactic they could to keep people from it, because they didn’t understand it. Nor could they figure out how to regulate it, because it’s a plant. As far as I’m concerned it’s more organic than most of the “food” we buy from the grocery store.

Next up on their list is sex, prescription drugs and internet addiction. I will agree with these three. People just need to be smart when it comes to sex. Protect yourself and that’s all I’m going to say about that. Prescription drugs are a HUGE problem in our society, because they are so accessible and nearly everyone we know takes them. Look up how many prescription deaths there are every year versus marijuana deaths. Thousands die every year from prescription abuse and alcohol abuse while there are zero deaths linked to marijuana. Just saying. Pills don’t heal people, nutrition does.

Next up on the list is internet addiction and I think this is another HUGE problem in our society. We all spend way too much time online and the fact of the matter is that none of it is real. I’m guilty of this as well, but my excuse is that I run my fitness business online and on social media. So it’s tough, but we all need to unplug more and experience REAL things in life, like face to face interactions and nature. After that is compulsive buying and I think this is an issue in our society, because everyone is groomed to be a consumer from birth. Clever marketers convince us that we “need” material things and we are willing to get in massive amounts of debt to possess these things. However, with the recent economic bubbles bursting, I think most people are fighting this consumerism mentality of buying stuff we truly don’t need, with the minimalist movements out there. Your worth and wealth is not measured by how much stuff you have. Plain and simple. Spend your money on experiences.

Last on their list is extreme exercise. This is just ridiculous. Yes, there is a thing called over-training and I do it from time to time, but I also take care of my body just as much as I exercise it. Recovery is essential and not over-training certain muscle groups is important. Most people sustain injuries due to overuse. However, if you are exercising a lot and staying injury free, then you’re doing great. The key is to listen to your body. So, let’s not criticize the people who “over exercise,” let’s talk about the folks who do nothing in society. People who “over exercise” aren’t going to pay millions in medical bills for health issues related to obesity.

The overall goal of MHM is to build public recognition about the importance of mental health and to also emphasize overall health and wellness. Just like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, MHM takes a “cutesy” or passive approach to something that is a big issue in our society, mental health. It’s an effort to inform people of ways the mind and body interact with each other. They got that part right, the mind and body do interact with one another, and studies show that marijuana does in fact help mental health issues and physical issues as well. Long story short, these organizations clearly haven’t done their research and/or they are just pushing political agendas.

With all of that being said, here are four REAL ways to make sure that you are taking good care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally:

  • Eating a healthy diet improves your ability to learn and gives your body the energy it needs to be successful throughout the day. Skipping a meal or eating a lot of processed or fried food can make you lethargic and less motivated.
  • Regular exercise has been proven to relieve stress, elevate your overall mood, increase energy levels and release endorphins. Endorphins cause an elevation in one’s happiness. Being healthy and in shape increases your self-confidence and appearance as well.
  • Relaxing and taking the time to let your mind and body wind down at the end of the day is very important. This is especially true before you go to sleep. Try reading, listening to calm music or watching a movie before bed. Or whatever it is that helps you forget about the day and your problems. Distract yourself from the things that cause stress and focus on something calm and relaxing.
  • Sleep is the way that the body restores itself and gets ready for a new day. When sleep deprived, coping with daily life problems will require more effort due to the lack of energy as well as fighting inconsistent moods throughout the day. Studies have shown that we need seven to nine hours of sleep, but there are always exceptions to the rule. I personally try to get exactly seven hours. If you feel yourself dozing off during the day, then take a nap if you have time. Your body is trying to tell you something and decrease your alcohol consumption, because it disrupts your sleep patterns.

Remember, life is what you make it and learn more about Mental Health Month here.

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