Written by Pam Maroney occupational therapist
How often do you become impatient or even give up on your dreams and goals? Most of us have a threshold for when we determine it is time to give up and move on to something else.Did you know that just by being a woman this increases the risk of becoming mentally unwell? Females are almost twice as likely than males to experience anxiety and mood disorders. Doesn’t seem fair, does it!? As if women don’t already have enough to contend with!
A recent seminar exploring women’s mental health presented factors that contribute to this; most commonly was violence against women. Women are also more likely to experience financial disadvantage, trauma, gender-based discrimination and sexualisation, as well as pregnancy which can all increase the risk of mental health issues. Not to mention the additional psychological burden associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which research has shown led to reductions in energy, optimism, humour, creativity, concentration and ability to solve problems.
Despite all of this, many women do not see themselves as needing any type of mental health support.
“Improve your mental health
& live a meaningful life.”
What we should be doing is focusing on how we can prevent the risk of mental ill health in the first place. After all, you don’t eat healthy foods and exercise because you have a physical illness, you do this to avoid becoming physically unwell.
Here are 4 key ideas that can help prevent mental ill health:
1. Live purposefully
Having a purpose in life is usually something that is personally meaningful to you, something that you’re good at, and usually contributes to the greater good. It gives you a reason to get out of bed each morning; it makes you feel like you are making a difference in the world. To find out your sense of purpose, ask yourself:
What am I passionate about?
What am I good at?
What provides me with a sense of satisfaction or achievement?
How do I make other’s lives more enjoyable?
2. Know your self-worth through self-compassion
Self-worth is the internal sense of being good enough, worthy of love and belonging, that comes from self-acceptance. Which means always accepting yourself wholeheartedly despite your flaws, weaknesses, and limitations.
One way to improve your self-worth is through self-compassion. You can do this by:
normalising that difficult emotions are just part of being a human being
not believing harsh self-judgements or self-critical thoughts
talking to yourself kindly and giving yourself messages of support and understanding.