“Tuning In” to your mental health

Mental health is a state of our wellbeing and ability to cope with stressors in life. It affects how we think, feel and act, and is essential to our overall health and wellbeing.

Mental health exists on a continuum and changes over time in response to stressful situations or experiences that we encounter. We are all sitting at different points on the wellbeing continuum and can shift both up and down this continuum throughout our lives. Tuning into our body’s early warning signs can help us to become aware when our wellbeing may be shifting from “well” to “becoming unwell” and then to being “unwell”. By tuning in, we can take action wherever we may be sitting on the continuum in terms of prevention, intervention, or recovery and get back on track to feeling like our happier selves.

Everyone experiences negative feelings and moods from time to time; however, this does not necessarily mean we are experiencing a mental health issue. It’s normal to experience emotional reactions to stressful events or situations. However, not everyone is equipped with resilience strategies to pull themselves out of a downward spiral that can ultimately lead to mental health issues.

“Tuning In” and understanding our early warning signs that our stress may be harming us, rather than helping us, allows us to take action and prevent ourselves from heading down the continuum towards becoming unwell. This understanding begins with building self-awareness. Understanding our feelings and being emotionally aware is key in dealing with them effectively. When we are present with ourselves and our emotions, we can become emotionally agile, which helps us to alleviate stress. We can do this by regularly checking in with ourselves to see where we are currently sitting on the wellbeing continuum. If we find ourselves at the “becoming unwell” or “unwell” stages, then it’s important to seek out some additional support to help us better address our concerns and practical strategies towards recovery into the “well” stage.

Generally speaking, the symptoms of a mental health issue will be experienced for most days than not, for a period of two weeks or more. In the “unwell” stage, symptoms may include social withdrawal, mood changes, decreased interest or pleasure in most activities, feeling alone, worthless, sad, or irritable. The best way to know for sure is to seek professional support. By gaining understanding from a professional, we can take the next steps towards recovery and getting ourselves back on track.

If someone around us is presenting signs of a mental health struggle or are not travelling so well, it is important to have an R U OK? Conversation with them. “Tuning In” with others can build positive connections and help us to understand what others may be feeling. This allows us to intervene early and support them on their recovery to becoming well again.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many individuals have experienced increased levels of psychological distress, which has triggered many mental health conditions or exacerbated existing ones. So this Mental Health Month, we are encouraging you “Tune In” to your own mental health and with others.

The Centre for Corporate Health has a range of services available to celebrate Mental Health Month. If you would like to discuss any of these services with us, contact us on 02 8243 1500 or admin@cfch.com.au. For more information on how to create a mentally healthy workplace, visit our website.