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Mental Wellness And Safe Spaces

photo by Jørgen Håland
My Meditation:  Your emotional wellness is important. Your growth is important. Your mental stability is important. Do what is necessary for your wellbeing–and don't feel guilty about it.

I am a strong believer in the idea that we absorb things on a conscious and unconscious level.

Whether it be through the conversations that we are having, music we listen to, drama we partake in or even our Instagram feeds–whatever we open our souls up to, can affect our mind, moods, energy level and overall mental wellbeing. 

Since childhood, I struggled deeply with depression and when I began to take on therapy full-time–I began to realize how the issues within my atmosphere had a stronghold over me and my ability to feel safe and unthreatened. 

I allowed myself to be in toxic relationships and friendships. I admit that I engaged in work gossip and the spilling of dirty laundry because there was a point in life when I found entertainment in knowing other peoples business. My choice of music was not inspiring at all–profanity, misogyny, violence, etc all flooded through my ear canals–doing nothing to feed my spirit. doing nothing to inspire me or elevate me higher. doing nothing to remind me of my worth and build my value system. nothing at all.

Even my eating habits were somewhat outrageous. I had no regard for the things that I put in my belly. It was a like a "food for stomach, and stomach for food" mentality. My depression always caused me to lose weight and I thought if I over-indulged in fatty, high caloric foods then that would put my weight back on, and I would feel better about myself. Wrong. The real issue at hand was my struggle with body image. And no amount of unhealthy treats would heal me from that.

Depression is more than just a mental issue–it is physical, environmental, emotional and even spiritual. I lived those tough years of my life blind to the toxicity that lingered around me. Not realizing that my progression and healing, also depended on who, and what, I allowed within my atmosphere. It took a long time for me to understand the value of safe spaces. 

How can I try to tend to my hurting wounds and nurture my aching spirit if I am constantly inviting the negativity in? Even when you think it's playful–someone is getting hurt. The drama, the gossip, the unfiltered music, the hate, the negativity. It all clings to you when you give yourself permission to partake in it or allow it to surround you. 

Even our choices–like our innate inability to say "no" is a hindrance to our growth and a threat to our emotional wellness. I have always been a people pleaser. I have always wanted to go above and beyond for others–always putting others before myself. I once had a habit of rescheduling my days just so that I could tend to the needs of others. After feeling drained, and often times feeling used and then discarded, made me realize that if I continue to follow this path in life–I will most likely always struggle depression. 

How sad is it for someone to force themselves into doing something that in their heart of hearts they don't want to do–yet fear and anxiety force them to go against what their heart wants.

With practice, and with the learning and unlearning of what it means to be selfish vs selfless, I finally gained the courage to say no when my heart was expecting me to. The art of saying no became so fulfilling for me. I had never knew what it felt like to not feel guilty for wanting to put myself first–and that was the greatest lesson that I learned as I made the word "no" a strong part of my vocabulary. 

Mental wellness is about about creating and sustaining safe spaces and cultivating healthy mindsets. It is the learning and unlearning of patterns and thoughts around what it means to live wholeheartedly. It is the beginning of you making the healthiest choice–not the right choice. Because sometimes what feels right doesn't ultimately add value to the human experience or the development of our mind, body, soul and spirit. 

I learned that if I want to live as healthy as possible, then I needed to make sure that I wasn't putting myself in situations that made me feel as if I were journeying backwards. My goal in life is to thrive. To build upon my edifying connections and continue to attain happiness and peace. I will not let anything get in the way of that.

How do you plan on creating safe spaces for yourself?

Written By,
Minaa B.

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