Mental health is beginning to receive the attention it deserves.
However, it still has a horrible stigma attached to it.
This stigma stems from the all-or-nothing idea of mental health.
We think of someone as crazy or not crazy, with not much in-between.
Society loves the all-or-nothing label. It's easy.
We can label someone without giving much thought to the complexities of his or her situation or life.
Fat, tall, skinny, rich, poor, crazy, funny: It's so much easier to label someone.
However, the label is where mental health receives the horrible stigma.
It's when we decide if a person is crazy or not. People don't like to think about a middle ground.
But the reality is, mental health is a lot more complex than a quick label, and this is exactly the reason why we need to start changing our language from mental health to mental awareness.
After years of research and understanding what being mentally healthy actually means, I realized being mentally healthy really just comes down to being aware of what you're experiencing.
When you're mentally aware — whether you're happy, sad, worried or fearful — you understand what's going on.
It's about knowing what's going on inside your mind and how you act because of it.
Obviously, some people have extreme mental health issues, but awareness of these issues is the first step.
Being mentally healthy does not mean your life is perfect.
It doesn't mean you're rich, have a great house or have a great job.
Even with all these material things, you will still have negative emotions creep up once in a while.
It's just human nature.
But having the awareness to realize what is happening when it occurs (and adjusting accordingly) is the most powerful thing we can do.
Being accountable to fix the problem is the next step.
In society, we can't just throw money at this issue and expect it to go away.
We need to understand it, and we need to be aware of it.
Like our physical health, it's a constant struggle to improve and maintain our brains.
Yet, without the right exercises and resources, we can easily get lazy and let the brain wander, driving us to unhealthy and negative behaviors.
Daily rituals help, along with setting and striving for goals we set for ourselves.
But even if you are on point with your life and what you want to accomplish, your mind will still wander.
You may wonder if you're on the right path. You may doubt your decisions and get angry at yourself.
Does this make you mentally ill?
Or is it just a moment in time where you need to step back and look at what is going on inside?
Our "hurry, hurry, make money and be successful" culture doesn't help.
When we see someone successful, we sometimes believe there is no way the person could possibly have any mental health issues.
Mental health is scary because it's complex.
There's no easy answer. There's no easy pill.
But, an easy thing we can do is give it our attention.
Realize and understand we are not all perfect.
It's hard to understand what being mentally healthy actually means, which is why we must change our conversation from mental health to mental awareness.
That's much easier and quicker.
Mental health seems daunting.
Mental awareness can be given attention right now.
Just ask yourself, "How am I feeling?"
Once we get a grip on our own mental awareness, we can spread it from person to person, one day at a time.