It’s no secret that the field of medicine and medical science has advanced tremendously over the last few decades. This, of course, includes psychology and psychiatry as well. however, even though we’ve come a long way from lobotomizing women that exhibited a little bit too much personality, there are still plenty of things we get wrong about mental health today.

Even a condition as common as anxiety is still largely misunderstood by the general public. People from all over the world that live with it are forced to feel guilt and shame, even though lead a normal existence is still possible when you suffer from this disorder. Here is everything you need to know about conquering the stigma and being at peace with yourself.

Common Misconceptions

One of the most commonly encountered misconceptions regarding mental illness is that it’s merely a phase of our teenage years. While it is true that most patients develop anxiety or depression during their youth, this is hardly the time or place for unwarranted generalizations.

The cold, hard truth is that even disorders that typically occur in young people are sometimes developed later on in life. For example, most schizophrenics start exhibiting most of the symptoms of their condition by the time they’re 25. But in the case of late onset schizophrenia, your transition can begin as late as your 60s.

On top of that, society still has a tendency to assume which people are more likely to struggle with anxiety, and which aren’t as prone. It is usually expected of people from lower classes to have poor mental health, while those at the top of the hierarchy should always be satisfied because they’ve got it all.

But this train of thought couldn’t be more wrong. Anxiety, depression and other maladies are more widely encountered in the ranks of the rich and famous than we’d like to think. In the same way, if a person isn’t at the top of the financial food chain, that doesn’t mean that they disregard the value of their own life automatically.

Anxiety has to do with many aspects of life. It is influenced by genetics, brain chemistry, and lifestyle choices to some extent, but we shouldn’t be able to generalize about any of these. At the end of the day, this is what leads to unwanted and hurtful stigmatization on the topic, which doesn’t benefit patients in any way.

The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

Statistics published by the Mental Health Foundation revealed that one in four people struggle with poor mental health during various points in their lives. This totals up to 450 million people worldwide that currently deal with disorders of the mind. And this is all obtained from reported data. A lot of other severe cases fall through the cracks daily.

Out of all the various conditions out there, by far the most frequently encountered one is depression, with one in twelve people exhibiting its symptoms on average. Anxiety comes in at a close second. All in all, these numbers paint a desolating image, namely one that uncovers the fact that most of us are more than familiar with mental illness and even suffer from it.

And yet, there is still plenty of stigma surrounding the concept. The anxious among us already have it hard enough when it comes to forming long-lasting relationships or finding work due to their disorder manifesting itself in various ways. When you add the social taboo on the issue, their chances at a happy, healthy life seem even smaller.

However, the idea that you can’t be genuinely satisfied with your life while simultaneously battling anxiety is yet another misconstrued generalization that needs to be eradicated. In fact, it is perfectly possible to appreciate your existence and treat mental illness at the same time.

Finding True Happiness

1. Seek Adequate Treatment

As much as I’d like to tell you that you can beat anxiety to the curb without any medical help, the importance of seeking adequate treatment is huge. The idea shouldn’t scare you because the right doctor will never force you do go down a path you’re not comfortable with. Different people respond to different things, which is why you need to find the best solution for your needs.

2. Practice Positive Thinking

Just like physical health has to do with more than just the lack of bodily diseases, true happiness implies more than the absence of anxiety. To be able to be at peace with yourself, you will need to first get educated on matters that pertain to the mind. What does true emotional well-being mean to you? How can you achieve it?

Studies show that positive psychology plays a big part in your recovery. This can be achieved through traditional talk therapy, mindful practices such as meditation, and even state of the art techniques such as narrative psychology, which promotes the illustration of emotions through words. However, this change needs to start within you first and foremost.

The belief in a better tomorrow helps you cope with your situation, and it also has the potential to improve your overall health. It is an important step towards inner and outer healing that will help you win the battle against the negative thoughts taking over your thoughts. So, if you’re looking for a way to silence your demons, you can start here.

3. Change Your Lifestyle

Making healthy lifestyle choices will change your life for the better in the long run. This includes your diet, sleep schedule, and daily routine. To be truly content, you need to lead a life that reflects your goals and paves your way towards success. If you do this, the rewards won’t take too long to show up.

According to TIME Magazine, happiness does indeed lead to better physical health. Not only are happy people more likely to take care of themselves better, but their immune systems are also stronger, and their hormones are more balanced. Furthermore, the body of a person who feels good about their life heals faster than it would otherwise.

Anxiety and all its struggles won’t prevent you from being happy with your life if you don’t grant it this power. By defeating the stigma around it and starting to change your life for the better, you can achieve true balance. What you need most is a lot of ambition to kickstart the process and a little patience, too.