In a previous blog entry, we have taken a look at superstar athletes who have been honest about their own challenges with mental health disorders. Record setters like swimmer Michael Phelps and phenoms like tennis star Naomi Osaka have been forthcoming about their difficulties—and that honesty is a good reminder to all of us that no one is immune from disorders that can impact their mental health. No matter how successful or admired a person is, they may still find themselves dealing with issues like depression, anxiety, or trauma-based disorders that can upend their life.
With that fact in mind, we want to turn to another athlete—one of the most famous and admired of all time. The great boxer and activist Muhammed Ali thrilled fans with his ability in the ring and with his swagger outside it. He also challenged society to be better by standing by his beliefs even when doing so threatened his career.
Today, the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, celebrates his legacy—including his six core principles that underpinned his approach to life. Those principles, we believe, are applicable to anyone who is experiencing a mental health disorder. Let’s take a look at Ali’s ideas.
The Six Core Principles
- Confidence: Belief in oneself, one’s abilities, and one’s future. Ali absolutely exuded confidence and it served him well. It can also serve you well when you find yourself struggling with a mental health disorder. Having the confidence to seek help, even when doing so seems hard, is an essential first step.
- Conviction: A firm belief that gives one the courage to stand behind that belief, despite pressure to do otherwise. Believing that your mental health can improve is an important part of making that improvement a reality. If you allow yourself to believe nothing can help you feel better, you are less likely to pursue treatment. A fundamental conviction that things can get better is key.
- Dedication: The act of devoting all of one’s energy, effort, and abilities to a certain task. While our lives pull us in many different directions, the idea of dedication is an important one when it comes to improving your mental health. Sticking with therapy, taking any prescribed medication, and making lifestyle changes that support your mental health all take dedication.
- Giving: To present voluntarily without expecting something in return. Finding ways to be of service to others is an excellent way to avoid ruminating about your past or worrying about your future. When you give of yourself, you also give your mental health a boost.
- Respect: Esteem for, or a sense of the worth or excellence of, oneself and others. When you have respect for yourself (or to put it another way, when your self-esteem is healthy), you are more likely to make good decisions regarding your mental health. A disorder like depression can chip away at your self-image, so reminding yourself that mental health care is a sign of self-respect can help you move forward. Having respect for others, like having a giving spirit, can also support your mental well-being.
- Spirituality: A sense of awe, reverence, and inner peace inspired by a connection to all of creation and/or that which is greater than oneself. It is important to remember that spirituality and religion are not necessarily the same thing. Cultivating a sense of wonder—whether that wonder is tied to a specific faith tradition or not—is a wonderful way to support better mental health.
You don’t have to be an athlete or an activist to benefit from engaging with Ali’s core principles. You can adapt his principles to your personal situation and use them as inspiration for being intentional about improving your mental health.
When It Comes to Mental Health, You Don’t Have to Roll with the Punches
Sometimes it can feel as though depression, anxiety, or trauma have delivered a knockout blow. But when you are down for the count, it is important to remember that help is always available. At Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health in Colorado, we will always be in your corner.
You can count on us to answer the bell when it comes to developing an effective, personalized treatment plan for any mental health challenge you may be facing. We will listen intently and then deliver the one-two punch of expertise and experience to ensure that we address your specific needs.
If a mental health disorder has you on the ropes, don’t hesitate to get the help you need at Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health.