Throughout the world, mental health issues plague millions of individuals each year. They do not discriminate, and they often wreak havoc on the lives they are able to infiltrate. When you have a friend who struggles with anxiety, depression, or other diagnosed mental health disorder, you might be wondering how to help them without becoming a burden or nuisance. There are several things that you can do for the person you care about.
Learn About Mental Illness
One way to begin having a better understanding of your friend's current mental state or diagnosed condition is to spend time learning about mental illness, misconceptions, symptoms, treatments, and statistics relevant to individual disorders or ailments. For example, there are several triggers of depression that have nothing to do with being sad or lazy. Understanding the causes of mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or another diagnosed disorder, such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder, can help you to learn more about how your friend feels and experiences the world on a daily basis.
Don't Diagnose Them
After you've done some reading about mental health, it can be tempting to try to diagnose your friend based on your observations of them. Resist that urge. Mental health issues are highly complex and require detailed evaluations and elimination of other possibilities by a trained professional. However, while it is important to respect your friend's privacy as well as the mental issues they are struggling with, it is also important to provide healthy tools and resources when they are warranted and welcomed by your friend.
Listen to Them
When discussing your friend's current mental state, their feelings, and the mental health issues they are struggling with, be an active listener at all times. Rather than simply waiting for your friend to finish what they are saying so that you can interject, offer advice, or provide resources, truly spend time learning how to become a better active listener. When your friend feels as if they are genuinely being listened to and heard, they are more likely to remain open and honest with you about their struggles, even if their struggles become dangerous or potentially life-threatening.
Rather than sharing your own experiences, moods, and even your own mental health issues or struggles as your friend is expressing themselves, be sure to remain as an active listener. Instead of sharing your experiences and taking away from your friend's moment to share their true thoughts and feelings, empathize with your friend, and continue to ask questions about their own personal mental health issues and the disorders they are struggling to overcome each day. Active listening is key to maintaining an open relationship with any friend, especially one who is currently struggling mentally and emotionally.
Don't Be Overbearing
Avoid being overbearing when discussing mental health issues and disorders with your friends, especially if they have asked you not to bring up specific topics or subjects. Rather than provoking your friend by discussing issues that are difficult for them, simply inform them that you will be available when they are ready to discuss anything that is troubling them in their lives.
Ask if You Can Help
Once you have assured your friend that you are willing to be understanding and supportive of them, ask them directly if there is anything you can do to help. Avoid being pushy or persistent, and simply inform them that they do not need to answer you immediately, but that you are available to help them anytime they feel that they are in need.
Remain Understanding of Limitations and Lifestyle Changes
Understand that mental illness significantly impacts lifestyle, and it can cause your friend to feel sad, depressed, lonely, despondent, and even anti-social or isolated and alone. It is important to note that these changes are typically linked with brain chemistry changes and should not be taken personally or as a slight against you as their friend. Familiarizing yourself with the mental illness or mental health struggle that your friend is battling can help you to better understand their habits, lifestyle changes, and any behaviors that may otherwise be atypical or out of the ordinary for them.
Know Your Own Personal Limits
In life, people tend to strive to help those they love, including both blood relatives and friends they have met throughout their journey. However, it is important to understand your own personal limits when it comes to assisting your friend with their issues or going too far and neglecting yourself and your own life.
If a friend is unwilling to work on seeking help or is unable to do so on their own, it is important to provide insight, opinions, and resources whenever they are welcomed and when your friend is opening to listening. It is also important to never neglect yourself and your own needs as well as your everyday responsibilities. In order for you to truly be able to provide the love, care, and support necessary for your friend, you must first ensure that your own daily life is in proper order.
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Doing yoga together can have benefits far beyond the exercise itself - for you, for your partner, and for your relationship together.
There are so many different benefits that come along with regular yoga practice. Yoga can help you balance the mind and the body. When you embark on yoga practice with your partner, this can be very beneficial to your relationship. Even having your own yoga practices can help strengthen your relationship.
When a couple has mutual interests, they have something they can share together. It’s something that provides ongoing conversation topics. It’s something you can practice together. There are couple’s classes that you can try out. You can also help each other with challenges you may have within your individual yoga practice. As you learn new things about yoga, this is something the two of you can talk about during dinner or while relaxing at the end of the day.
When you practice yoga, it tends to provide you with a sense of enlightenment that you didn’t have before. It can help you become more in touch with your emotions, including patience and compassion. Improving the level of compassion that you have can help you to be a better partner to your spouse. You’ll understand their needs better, and you can change the way that you react to their actions each day.
It’s incredibly important to maintain a level of attraction and passion within a relationship. Yoga can help with this attraction. Also, building physical stamina with exercise could positively affect your romantic life by helping you meet your partner's expectations when it comes to sex. There’s something very passionate about watching your partner focus on their own yoga practice. The body moves very freely and naturally.
Yoga allows you to be more connected to your inner self. As you go through your yoga moves, you have to pay very close attention to your breath and current position. Your state of mind should be very centered. When you’re able to make this connection inside of your own body, you will be better able to connect with your partner. This can be during intercourse, but the connection can be helpful throughout the day-to-day.
If you have never taken yoga before, you can likely find a beginner’s class in your area that will educate you on this practice. If you’ve been practicing for a while now, you can try taking a more advanced class or trying your own personal practice at home. You can look for a couple’s yoga class that you and your partner can take together. Doing these things can really help to strengthen your relationship with each other.
The divorce rate in the United States is going down, but that could be because many people are deciding not to get married. However, if you want the happily ever after that exists within a married partnership, it is possible. You just have to put in the work to have a long, happy marriage.
Work on Communication
To stay married to someone happily through the years, you have to know how to communicate with your spouse. Not everyone communicates in the same way, but there are ground rules for healthy communication that can help your marriage stay strong. Avoid raising your voice or name-calling and don't use passive-aggressive remarks to get a point across. These strategies are less about communicating and more about fault-finding. Figure out the best way for you and your partner to communicate effectively, and then stick to it. Remember, communication is as much about listening as it is talking.
Resolve Any Issues That May Lead to a Future Divorce
You and your partner should work to resolve any issues that could lead to a divorce before getting married in order to achieve a long, happy marriage. Though we all come with baggage, minimizing the baggage can make a big difference in the success of your marriage. Take the time to truly know yourself before attempting to enter a lifetime partnership with someone else. This means understanding issues you need to resolve so that they don't create barriers in your marriage. It also means exploring the parts of yourself you may not like so that you can practice accepting who you are and changing what you believe is truly not acceptable.
Learn How to Forgive
You aren't perfect, and your partner isn't either. Know that going into marriage and be prepared to forgive each other. Over the years, each of you will grow and change, and that doesn't come without some missteps that are challenging to overcome. Learn to celebrate the differences you have. While there is behavior that should not be accepted in a marriage, many common marital complaints are normal and a result of being around your partner so much. Know that this is the person who will see you at your worst, and you will see them the same way. Leave plenty of room for grace, and don't hold grudges.
Marriage is a journey that takes work and lots of love. It is possible to have a lasting, happy marriage if you're willing to put in the effort.
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