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The Importance of Balance: Maintaining a Healthy Mental State

The Importance of Balance: Maintaining a Healthy Mental State

This material has been reviewed for accuracy by: Renee Albers, PhD

For BIPOC Mental Health Month, we asked Tyrone Quarterman , Senior Manager of Health Equity and Diversity at Myriad Genetics, to share his tips on how to find balance and keep your mental health in a challenging world. Here are his thoughts. Thank you, Tyrone!

Occupy your time, but also give yourself time to do nothing.

Commit to meaningful projects that challenge you, but also engage in activities that are relaxing and easy.

Make a concerted effort to foster relationships (personal and professional), but also make time for yourself.

The world we live in today is inundated with information about seemingly anything and everything. Unfortunately, this can lead to information overload. More importantly, this creates an environment where the information we receive can often be conflicting. This is especially true when it comes to mental health in Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities. We are powerful and capable, though, and in fact we can achieve a healthy balance.

Young man of color deciding if he should join two young women of color in a library representing knowing how you want to interact for your mental health

The history of mental health in BIPOC communities is one full of positives and negatives, traditionally more negatives. From stigmatization of mental health conditions and treatment, to lack of resources across the board, our communities have experienced many barriers to achieving the mental health state we deserve. Some barriers are systemic, others inherent. Some barriers are genetic, others environmental. All serve as a reminder of the history which is unfortunately reflected in today’s world.

“The body keeps the score” and this is no more apparent than in mental health – where traumas can pass through generations. Even the smallest interactions, such as how we greet others, or larger decisions, such as managing resources, can be a direct result of past experiences. We can, however, manage our interactions and decisions in light of, and not in spite of, this history.

What is balance when we discuss mental health?

Young women of color outdoors balancing on a rail indicating the importance of balance for BIPOC mental health

Simply put, balance is to engage and stimulate the parts of our brain that reflect our core desires and pleasures, while also creating an environment that allows for grace and peace as we grow and change. For example, when considering views on relationships, most people want to have both a large quantity of and a high quality of connections (romantic partners, network of colleagues, close friends, and acquaintances) but this can be exhausting to build and maintain. We want to be proud of who we see when looking in the mirror, though consistent exercise can be tiring and even painful! The list goes on with categories that we can consider when discussing mental health and the toll it takes on our lives to maintain. BIPOC communities particularly have long histories of pride and cultural traditions that, in lieu of actual support, often encourage us to grin and bear instead of expressing emotions. So how do we balance this?

Create an identity for yourself that allows you to stimulate the desires and focus your motivations that will create a framework for a happy life. First, poll yourself:

Are you more introverted or extroverted?

Do you enjoy physical activity or not?

What do you want to accomplish professionally?

Then weigh those answers against what you want for yourself based on that identity: Do you want a promotion, more friends, a better physique?

Young man of color carrying boxes down stairs representing making changes in life to support our mental health

Next, identify your barriers. For me, depression, and anxiety (more of the latter) are constantly front of my mind. Both of which are under control but can often require me to simply say no to things and recede. Finally, find the gap(s), if any, and make small but consistent changes to close those gaps. Whether it be calling an old friend or colleague once a week, getting your 10,000 steps daily, or spending at least two days a week on your hobby.

If we ask ourselves who we are, who we want to be, what is stopping us from being that person, and what can I do to get there – balance can be achieved!

Our articles are for informational purposes only and are reviewed by our Medical Information team, which includes PharmDs, MDs, and PhDs. Do not make any changes to your current medications or dosing without consulting your healthcare provider.

The GeneSight test must be ordered by and used only in consultation with a healthcare provider who can prescribe medications. As with all genetic tests, the GeneSight test results have limitations and do not constitute medical advice. The test results are designed to be just one part of a larger, complete patient assessment, which would include proper diagnosis and consideration of your medical history, other medications you may be taking, your family history, and other factors.

If you are a healthcare provider and interested in learning more about the GeneSight test, please contact us at 855.891.9415. If you are a patient, please talk with your doctor to see if the GeneSight test may be helpful.