May is Mental Health Awareness Month: How to Learn from Your Anxiety

May 24 - Taylor Marshall

As many of you may know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If you’re anything like me, that means something to you. “Mental health” is a term that is used fairly frequently, but the meaning of the term can vary. If it’s important enough to have its own month, then we should at least take a little bit of a closer look.

Mental health has a different meaning for everyone and there’s no universal solution to combating a negative state of mental health. I’m going to be sharing the tactic I choose to control my mental health, in the hopes that it will help lead you to your own definition. To understand what mental health truly means, it’s important to understand that your mental health can be good or bad. Things can feel in your control or out of your control. Your choices can make you feel confident or they can make you feel apprehensive. But the choices are always yours to make.

Good Things Take Effort

For me, having a good state of mind includes more effort, whereas it doesn’t require much effort to have a bad state of mind. Neither good or bad mental health is a choice, necessarily, but a result of a multitude of choices. And the best news is this: The choices you make are always in your control.

The best way I can describe a state of poor mental health is a feeling of unrest. Uneasiness. Apprehension. Discontent. It’s the feeling you get when the things that are out of your control have just tipped the scale in comparison to the things that are within your control.

That brain fog when you can’t seem to get anything done because you just can’t nail down your focus? That feeling of dread on Sunday night for the work week ahead because you’re not sure if you can handle what the next five days will throw at you? It all points back to your mental health.

A state of poor mental health lacks confidence. Without confidence—the belief in our own simple ability to control our own lives, which is the center of our capability, and the way we tap into our potential—negative energy thrives. In this weak emotional state, uneasiness and apprehension quickly take the place of enthusiasm and hope, threatening our happiness, and consequently, our success.

Once your center is thrown off, you will immediately start to see this imbalance bleed into each of aspect of your life that you are supposed to be controlling, both in your personal and professional life. Decisions will be harder, work will be more challenging, and success will inch further away from you.

Are you in control of your life, or are your circumstances in control of your life? Does power lie in your hands, or have you placed that power in situational strife?

These questions bring me to the solution that I have arrived at, as of now. Seeing poor mental health and its repercussions in terms of power could be the game-winning strategy to the battle we face in our minds every time things feel hard.

You may wonder, what does this look like? Simply put, it’s you, with intention, making conscious, controlled decisions that enable you to flip each emotion caused by poor mental health to its exact opposite.

The tactic that I find to be the most helpful with anything I struggle with is flipping the context. In terms of mental health, this simply means changing your mindset to see “poor mental health” as not a weakness or a disorder, but as a power.

Manifest Change

It’s no secret that our bodies are incredible— anxiety and uneasiness are out body’s ways of expressing to us that it is time for something to change. It’s a call for editing. A sign that something isn’t flowing just right.

In response to this, remind yourself of all you’re capable of, instead of dwelling on what you’re not. Remind yourself of your successes. Of all the things you’ve conquered up to this point. Picture yourself winning your next personal battle and how it will feel. Repeat to yourself over and over that you have the power to move yourself from point A to point B.

Then use the energy and awareness that this has provided you with to manifest change.

We are born with strength and we are born with weakness, we have confidence and we have doubt, we have control and we have chaos.

Every negative circumstance can be tackled with the strategy of our choice. We can choose what we enter into our life. Poor mental health is a red flag that our body waves not to alarm us, but simply to alert us that it’s time to edit.

Anxiety and restlessness and uneasiness, all things that can arise from poor mental health, can be the motivating forces that make you keep digging deeper, and make you keep wanting to learn more. Grow more. Be more.

These uneasy feelings show us that there is still so much more to know and so much more space to grow, because wherever exists anxiety and uneasiness exists the opposite of those feelings, and if you can feel that discomfort, you can feel its opposite.

So instead of running or shying away from darkness in your mental state, sit with it instead and ask: How can it guide me? How can it teach me? What can it show me? What journey will it take me on? By sitting with your own darkness and giving it light, you will illuminate so much more in yourself than you ever could imagine. When you illuminate the best parts of yourself, you can illuminate your path and those on it. And this light will lead you to success.

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