Your first priority in life should always be you, and part of prioritizing yourself means investing devotion towards your mental health as it is critical to your overall well-being. Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being are all part of our mental health. It has an impact on the way we think, feel, and act while also influencing how we deal with stress, interact with people, and chiefly make decisions. Often, people will tend to go, go, go and forget that we each need to slow down, reflect and simply breathe from time to time. According to the National Institution of Mental Health, adults affected with mental illness are nearly one in five across the U.S.. This represents approximately 52.9 million adults over the age of 18 who are experiencing some form of mental health struggles on a day to day basis. With such high rates, these statistics create a uniquely-large majority as mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disability in developed economies.
Emotional disturbances that prolong periods of excessive sadness, stress or heightened worry can significantly impair one's capacity to function. Struggles such as mood disorders, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, and more can all be alleviated and improved upon through the human connection. The skin is the largest organ of the human body, with millions of receptors that communicate with the brain via nerve fibers. Even a simple touch has been demonstrated to have powerful effects such as reducing one’s heart rate, lowering blood pressure and eliminating stress levels. Research conducted by Lucy Brown, a neuroscientist studying alternative therapies, found that touch appears to affect multiple brain regions at both conscious and unconscious levels. This research leads us to believe that the effects of touch through massage can be a strong healing tool that is much more effective and impactful than just physical alignments and relaxation. Massage can rebalance the muscles, release excess tension and stimulate energy flow.
By the end of the next decade, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that depression will be the most common ailment on the planet. Along with depression, anxiety cases are also on the rise. Whether one struggles with either of these mental illnesses, there are various benefits of massage therapy that have been proven to help reduce their leading symptoms.
A massage helps reduce anxiety and improve mood stability by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system.
Massage is known to significantly increase the amount of energy in the body by helping the production of serotonin and dopamine, which, in return, reduces overall stress levels and heightens feelings of happiness and contentment.
As massage works the physical self, it also works the internal self by inducing restfulness that promotes richer sleep quality and eases both physical and mental tension. The body and mind are incredibly connected.
Massage increases the secretion of healing hormones by stimulating the glands of the body.
Massage also decreases the production of cortisol, which is highly linked to stress and anxiety, and often produced in large quantities during panic attacks.
Feelings of comfort, connectedness, and care can all stem from the simple act of human touch. Massage helps develop these feelings which aids in improving one’s overall quality of life.
Anxiety disorders can lead to digestive, respiratory and heart problems while depression can lead to chronic pain, thyroid issues and vitamin deficiencies. By indulging in massage to assist with your mental health, you are also helping avoid other long-term ailments as well. Massage, contrary to popular assumption, can be a very effective approach to improve your long-term health, whether you have a medical problem or simply want to relieve the stress of everyday life. Now more than ever, humans require the healing power of touch.
Learning how to do self-massages or give massages at home is an excellent way to engage a friend, partner or family member in aiding mental health. This can not only help them release stress in the body, but can also help you each grow closer and strengthen your relationship connection. Other ways you can support yourself and your mental health at home include engaging in daily physical activity, practicing gratitude, journaling, and ensuring that you step away from your desk and get outside.
Good mental health is the cornerstone to being a complete and healthy individual. As the bridge of one’s mind and body connection, mental health is of paramount importance, and education is necessary for reducing the stigma attached to mental illness. May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health America | Homepage | Mental Health America (mhanational.org) Even while attitudes about mental health and treatment are constantly changing, stigma still exists. People should not be afraid to seek help or talk to their loved ones about it which is why May is a great time to practice advocacy and encourage open dialogue. Always remember that taking care of YOU is most essential. It’s okay to not feel okay. Reaching out is the right thing to do.