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Mental Health & Stress Relief

Living in the world we do, it’s impossible not to be under constant stress followed by occasional or regular anxiety attacks and a multitude of mental, emotional and physical problems that tend to develop. It is not unusual to recognize symptoms of mental health issues (clinical or society-imposed) in individuals we interact with on a daily basis, often without a single clue on the individual’s triggers and potential remedies for their state.
As a society, we are taught “to keep it in” and refrain from sharing thoughts/feelings that bother us at the cost of continually feeling at a loss for solutions, purpose or action. And it is precisely due to these social expectations and upbringing, as well as fear, family dynamics or work situation (and a number of other factors) that these people end up living very sad, unfulfilled lives. Their inability to communicate emotions due to a variety of factors is directly related to intensity levels of their issues, eventually leading them to snap. This is true for both heterosexual and gay community.
The focus of our article will be the LGBT community and the most common triggers that lead to mental health issues and anxiety, as well as possible stress relievers.

Accepting that you are “different”
Some of the hardest things for every gay person are realizing they are “different” to the society around them, i.e. heterosexual couples, and understanding mechanisms behind it, as well as accepting their “different” identity.
When they are young, most lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals tend to feel “alone” and “rejected” even when that necessarily isn’t the case. Their subjective feelings are stopping them from leading quality lives (socially), which often leads to developing various social disorders, mental health issues and eventually, seclusion. Luckily, with the world finally opening up to the LGB community, things are looking up. Still, even if they didn’t, all (young) LGBT individuals should have the liberty to talk about the way they feel, communicate their thoughts to their parents and friends, and build a support system. Accepting that you are “different” is your first step to building the best of you.

Being in the closet and… coming out
A study from Canada shows that coming out may protect LGBT individuals against both mental and physical stress; what is more, the study explains that LGBT individuals who “come out” to their immediate circle of people (or broader) suffer fewer symptoms of anxiety, emotional exhaustion (aka burnout), and depression than those who aren’t open about their sexual orientation.
Previous reports have suggested that in-the-closet LGBT individuals are more likely to report anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicidal ideation. Researchers said that LGBTs may experience internal stress from hiding their sexual orientation as well as chronic stress from discrimination. For this, coming out to the people you love is an extremely important life transition that may potentially promote a (mentally) healthier lifestyle. To feel better, an LGBT individual doesn’t have to come out to everyone for safety reasons (after all, social behaviors towards sexual minorities vary) but rather the people they trust and feel comfortable with.

Find ways to relieve stress
If your LGBT identity is a struggle you need external help with, turning to a specialized therapist is the best thing you can do for yourself (in addition to the points from the paragraph above). Meeting with your therapist once a week and participating in narrative therapy will help you deal with all the overwhelming feelings you may have and push you towards accepting yourself. On the other hand, you can fulfill your day with great activities, such as group fitness training, learning a new language with your BF, relaxing professional massage or anything else that suits your preferences.

Leading a high-quality life, uninterrupted
The best way to overcome developing mental issues caused by your LGBT identity is to accept them as they are and move towards creating a high-quality life. In reality, the only person standing in your way is YOU, so that should be the only person whose opinion you value. And you love you, don’t you?
Surrounding yourself with people who share your interests, values, qualities, people of the same sexual orientation or heterosexual people that are supportive of your lifestyle, socializing regularly, investing in your future by working hard on your education, leading a healthy lifestyle, etc. – all these are seemingly unimportant but, in fact, essential factors that help you lead a stress-free life and preserve your mental health. Feeling loved and building relationships is key.
No matter the circumstances, make sure you learn to put yourself first – always.