Every month has been made into a commemoration of some kind. May has quite a few national and international holidays ranging from National Brain Tumor Awareness Month to Celiac Awareness Month to Haitian Heritage Month to National Moving Month in the United States and National Smile Month in the United Kingdom. For a larger and more comprehensive list, please go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May
I have chosen to share about National Mental Health Awareness Month.
In recent times, attitudes towards mental health issues appear to be changing. Negative attitudes and stigma associated with mental health have reduced and there has been growing acceptance towards mental health issues and support for people with them.
Despite this shift in attitude, the idea of a mental health awareness campaign is not a recent one. In the late 1940’s, the first National Mental Health Awareness Week was launched in the United States. During the 1960’s, this annual, weekly campaign was upgraded to a monthly one with May the designated month. During this month, National Health America, the main organization which sponsors this event, run a number of activities which are often based on a theme.
Mental illnesses can take many forms, just as physical illnesses do. Mental illnesses are still feared and misunderstood by many people, but the fear will disappear as people learn more about them. If you, or someone you know, has a mental illness, there is good news: all mental illnesses can be treated.
Did you know?:
-About 1 in 5 American adults will have a mental health condition in any given year?
-But only 41 percent of them will receive services?
-About 10 percent of the American adult population will have a mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar?
-And 18 percent have an anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder?
Follow this link to see when you or someone you know should receive help. Remember, help isn’t something to be ashamed of!:
One of the breakthroughs in modern psychology and neuroscience has been showing that meditation reduces depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, addictions, and many other impairments to mental health. Plus, it feels good. Fraser Collins says: “It is estimated that we have around 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day and that around 70% – 90% of the thoughts we have are negative – thus creating huge levels of stress and anxiety. So the challenge is how we reduce these thoughts?”
The answer is meditation and mindfulness. If you are unfamiliar with how to meditate, please take a moment to read the cutoff below.
If you’d like company, there is a group in SL that is there for support. Visit the Landmark below for more resources and great people.
Make yourselves comfortable, whether by sitting, standing, or lying down. Close your eyes. Take a slow, deep breath in. When you exhale, give a big roar like a lion or a big sigh. Great! One more time…
Just relax, let go of your day. Realize that all the stresses you’ve experienced are over, they can not harm you. Release them into the earth around you.
This time when we breathe, we’ll take three OM’s…to do this, inhale and on your exhale make a sound by opening your throat that sounds like “ooommmmmm”. Repeat this three times.
Now, lets go to the space in our hearts. The space between the words in our thoughts, the space between the sounds, between the emotions. Find the space. Take a few minutes to breathe in that space.
When you find that space, let it envelope you.
Go to the space behind your eyes, where your third eye chakra lives. Use the black space there as a kind of screen to see with. Now, imagine that you open your eyes and you find yourself in a clearing surrounded by big oak trees. The clearing is covered in grass, and there are little fireflies flitting about. You can hear water nearby. As you look around, you see a path between two of the trees. You follow the path, feeling completely comfortable and completely safe. The path brings you to an beach on the other side of the forest. The beach has calm waves flowing up and down with the tide, and the sand is warm against your bare feet. You slowly wade into the water. It’s warm, and you can feel it cradling you. Sinking in to your waist, you let the water carry you, hold you up, and embrace you.
Let any emotions here be felt. Witness them, as though they aren’t yours. Where are they coming from? Who is feeling them? Witness them, and let them go. Be the witness. When you’re ready, find the space between everything again. Keep coming back to that space and start to follow your breathe. Let your attention stay on your breath for as long as you can. Any thoughts that arise are not important – let them come and go. It is good to become aware of them, but don’t hold on to them or follow the story – just witness them, and let them go, bringing your attention back to your breath.