This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, a national campaign to help remove the stigma attached to mental illness. Recent findings from the Mental Health Foundation show that, around two thirds of the population are affected by mental health issues and most of those affected stay silent. With this, more than four in ten people say they have experience depression, and over a quarter have experienced panic attacks. The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year is ‘surviving or thriving’. A poignant message to help people understand that you don’t just have to ‘get by’ and let these feelings take over your life, with the right help and support you can thrive. With homage to the campaign, we have decided to dedicate this week’s blog post to the topic of emotional intelligence and self help techniques.
Everyone experiences, interprets and expresses their emotions in different ways, that is one of the main factors which makes us all different. Emotional intelligence is all about finding a way of understanding your emotions, to help you manage them and deal with them in day-to-day life. Being able to interpret your emotions can often help you think clearer, and make decisions that truly represent you and not the overload of emotions you are trying to deal with. Practicing emotional intelligence doesn’t just help you manage your own emotions, but can also help with being able to understand other people’s. Journaling and writing are excellent outlets for processing emotions and increases self-awareness. The familiarity of dealing with your thoughts and feelings not only helps you but increases your levels of empathy to help recognise what those around you are experiencing.
Mental Health Awareness Week urges people to not be afraid to express any mental health concerns they may have. However, talking about your feelings and opening up about how you feel isn’t something that many people find easy to do and it can often be that case that we simply don’t know how to communicate how we are feeling. Writing your thoughts and feelings down can be the start to opening up about your emotions. Once you have a way of understanding your emotions, naturally it will become easier to talk about them.
Communicating and expressing mood
The mental health charity Mind has a great idea for helping people who suffer from depression or anxiety to communicate and suggest using a colour coded emoji system in advance of meeting people. It could be as simple as sending a heart using a different colour to express your mood:
Blue = I love you but I need to be alone.
Amber = I can’t talk but I do need company.
Red = I’m feeling angry and irritable but it’s not because of you.
Black = I’m feeling vulnerable today.
What’s really positive about this system is that you can share these in advance with your closest friends and make them individual to your needs. You can even find a method of expressing them that suits your personality such as lapel badge or hair bands. It’s the message that’s important.
The campaign also highlights that talking to other people can help you realise you are not alone. With mentalhealth.org.uk statistics showing on average, one in six people every week experience a common mental health problem, it is likely that several people around you would have at some point experienced a similar thing.
Talk to your journal
If you don’t feel like talking here are some ways you could try using your journal to practice emotional intelligence and help you get a better understanding of your emotional wellbeing:
Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, many groups and organisations will be hosting events across the country to encourage people to talk about their mental health and well-being. You can get involved on social media and share the activities you have got involved in during the week using the hashtags #MHAW17 and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
Mental Health Foundation: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
Mental Health Awareness Week: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
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