According to Mental Health America, 19.86% of the adults in the U.S. are experiencing some sort of mental illness in 2022. This equals to about 50 million Americans. Even more alarming, 4.91% are experiencing a severe mental illness.
Much of this has been brought on, at least partially, by the recent pandemic, but it has been following a troublesome trend. According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of anxiety and depression has increased by 25% worldwide since 2000.
What can we do?
In 1939, the UK put out a poster that read “Keep Calm and Carry On” It was made in response to the growing threat of the German attack at the onset of WW II. It can be a good metaphor for what we can do to help ourselves not become one of these statistics.
While you don’t want to just keep a “stiff upper lip”, there are some simple things you can do to reduce your stress and anxiety.
This is what we’ll explore today.
Factors that affect your mental health
There are several issues that can contribute to mental health problems. For most people, it’s very likely there’s a combination of factors that lead to these issues.
Some of these factors include loneliness, concerns about infection from the virus, grief, and financial worries. Since the onset of the pandemic, this impact has been especially severe for health care workers, as well as our young people.
World events, like a pandemic, are beyond your control, but you can decide how to react to them. You can let them overwhelm you, or you can find ways to make yourself more resilient.
By learning how to develop coping skills and how to maintain a positive attitude, you can prepare yourself to thrive during tough times.
The following are suggestions you can use to keep calm and carry on.
The following are things you can do to care of your mental health. This can give you the strength you need to prevent and manage stress.
1. Exercise regularly.
One of the best things you can do to lift your spirts is
. It also boosts your immune system, helping you fight the virus. Finding activities that you enjoy will motivate you to stay consistent. Another thing you can do is Invite a friend or family member to join you as an accountability partner.
2. Eat healthily.
If you want to stay calm and carry on then eat a healthy, balanced diet. Not only does it give you energy, but it also stabilizes your blood sugar, which can help with stress. Another focus area could be eating more protein when you’re dealing with chronic stress. Smart choices include lentils, eggs, nuts, fish, and lean meats.
3. Sleep well.
Sleep is essential to good overall health. Even minor sleep deprivation can have a major impact on your mental health. If you find that disturbing thoughts are disrupting your dreams, try repeating positive affirmations or listing things that you’re grateful for.
4. Simplify your life.
Today we are busier than ever. This can lead to a day of going from work to your child’s soccer game and then grabbing a quick bite to eat at the local pizza place (see number 2 above). It’s difficult to fall asleep when you’ve been rushing around. Learn to say no. Shorten your to do list and evaluate your goals to see if they’re realistic for you.
Moderate Your Media Intake
Do you think the British people could keep calm and carry on during WW II if they checked their news feed every 5 minutes? I’m sure you agree they wouldn’t have.
While it’s important to stay informed, you don’t want to spend your day fixated on the latest political scandal or how the war is going in Ukraine. Set ground rules for technology that works for you.
Here’s some tips for you to use:
- Set time limits.
Give yourself a time allotment or limit yourself to times of the day to interact with media. Then make yourself stick to your commitment.
When you’re online, be a good neighbor. Speak kindly to others. Don’t say things you wouldn’t tell another person to their face.
Finally, resist the temptation to compare yourself with others, especially in an idealized online world.
2. Talk it over.
News shouldn’t be consumed in a vacuum. Reach out to someone you trust for their perspective. This can help you see unpleasant news from a different perspective. It can also help you process your emotions.
Together you might find avenues where you can take constructive action, like volunteering.
3. Find positive sources.
During the height of the pandemic shutdown, John Krasinski helped us keep calm and carry on with his episodes of Some Good News. While John’s not making any more of these episodes, you can still watch something similar today, Browse around for uplifting stories. Read about medical breakthroughs and people who are giving back to their communities. Then share this news with your family and friends.
4. Disconnect daily.
Unless you are a news reporter, you do not need to be connected to the internet 24 hours a day. Designate times each day to shut off your devices. That might include at mealtimes and a couple of hours before going to bed.
Overcoming Emotional Pollution
We often get our emotional clues from society. Negative feelings and related behavior can spread rapidly from one individual to another, making it difficult to keep calm and carry on.
Here are some ways you can prevent someone else’s stress and anxiety from greatly affecting you.
1. Be aware of other people’s feelings.
Work on developing your EQ. Just knowing how you can be affected by other’s feelings is empowering. Develop strategies to help you handle negative situations. This will help you to create a more positive impact in your spere of influence.
2. Choose who you spend time with.
Be selective about who you spend time together with in your personal time. This is especially important when you’re feeling down about yourself. Choose to spend time with family and friends who build others up and demonstrate emotional intelligence. Study their example.
3. Offer support to others.
You don’t have to be a therapist to give others support. Even if you are having issues, you can still be there for others who are struggling. This type of support is what helped Britons keep calm and carry on during WW II. If someone is struggling, ask them to join you in a fun activity. You might even volunteer to help them with household chores or run errands.
4. Consider counseling.
Sometimes people avoid seeing professional therapists, but they can be extremely helpful if you are struggling with your emotions. A therapist can help you to change your habits to ones that help you feel happier. They can also help you clarify what’s troubling you. If you think you would like help, ask your doctor for a referral. You can also contact reliable organizations like the American Psychological Association.
Use these tips to keep calm and carry on:
Without a doubt, the challenges we have faced for the past few years because of the pandemic have been substantial. But challenges aren’t, by themselves, negative. In fact, facing challenges gives you opportunities to learn and grow.
Stop paying attention to things that are out of your control. Focus on the things you can control and keep pursuing the life of your dreams.
You can keep calm and carry on!
Want to learn how to develop a calm, focused mind? The Secrets of the Black Belt Mindset: Turning Simple Habits Into Extraordinary Success can help you learn how to keep calm and carry on no matter the circumstances, just like a black belt does. Pick up your copy on Amazon.