By now, it is likely that you have heard of and discovered your and/or your partner's love language. If you aren't yet familiar, love languages are the ways in which you and your significant other express your affections towards each other. There are five different love languages that are widely used when expressing and receiving love and they include acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, and words of affirmation. Individuals do not express their love in the same way, and likewise, they do not share the same preferences in how they wish to be loved. It is said that when you discover you and your partner's language, overall communication as well as understanding. This allows partners to address each other's needs and support each other's growth. The same can be said with regard to your individual mental health language. Oh, what's that? Read below!
What does self-care look like to you? It would be unfair of me to assume that your care routine is like mine and for me to think that what works for me will undoubtedly work for you. Self-care is a holistic practice that differs for everyone. Knowing your mental health language, however, can help to support positive behaviors and better your overall wellbeing by introducing your body and mind to things and activities that aid in your relaxation and mental clarity.
There are four different mental health languages, as presented by psychologist Anna Rowley, Ph.D. These languages include movement, sound, sight and touch. We will explore these in detail in the coming weeks, but for now, here is a brief introduction.
Movement: Movement has been shown to be quite effective in bettering overall mental health. Scientists have found that movement can increase individual motivation while allowing the body to release endorphins, This release aids in fighting fatigue and mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD, amongst other illnesses. A person that primarily speaks the mental health language of movement may find that when emotionally triggered, activities such as dance, walking, running, or any other form of exercise is helpful in reducing their stress while providing clarity to the mind.
Sound: Sound is an extremely powerful tool used to release and express. Think about it. When you are having a rough day, what type of music are you typically drawn to? Does that music further impact your mood? Are you influenced positively or negatively by what you heard? Sound is often used to aid individuals in tapping into the present, and as oddly as it sounds, these rhythms can be used to quiet the rest of the world around us, even if only for a moment. Sometimes, it is our body's natural rhythms, like our heartbeats and breathing patterns, that bring us back into the present moment. These auditory cues are a necessary part of the grounding process.
Sight: For some, visual cues are the tools that help them to find clarity. If you happen to be a visual person, perhaps you find relief in the things that you see. Maybe looking at photographs or a video stimulates fond memories of peaceful moments. Perhaps just imagining your favorite place or being in a gallery relaxes you. If this is the case, it is likely that your mental health language is sight.
Touch: Like the regular love languages, your mental health language may be touch. The difference here is you aren't reliant on the touch of someone else, as this is self-care. Instead, being able to feel different textures and sensations enables you to ground and regain a sense of calm.
For a moment, think about what works best to calm you in moments where you feel that you are lacking control. What brings you peace? What grounds you? Whatever language speaks to you, begin to practice with that language during your self-care routine and see how it positively impacts you. Next week we will begin our first segment on movement!