When I first learned about Spoon University's newest platform called Healthier, I couldn't contain my excitement. I adore the fun, bubbly food content that Spoon U has always produced, but this new vertical is something special. Healthier is all about wellness for your body and mind. It doesn't focus on simply food and drink; it encompasses all aspects of ensuring a strong emotional and physical well-being. It also appeals to those who suffer from mental illnesses, myself included. 

I've been struggling with depression and anxiety for a few years now, so I am no stranger to the feelings of sadness and isolation. Trust me, I get it. It's not something to be taken lightly.

A powerful stigma still exists in our society. One that halts sufferers from getting help, makes them feel ashamed, or make them feel like they brought it on themselves. People who suffer from depression made to believe that what they suffer from makes them weak. But that couldn't be further from the truth.

Our brains are crazy complicated organs, and even in today's society, we don't know nearly as much as we want to. Because there are so many types of mental illnesses, and so many people who suffer from them, pinpointing one common cause is pretty much impossible.

This also goes for finding effective cures, as well, as this genetics article points out. Disorders like anxiety and depression aren't the making of a person; it has to do with a chemical imbalances in the brain. 

"All mental processes are brain processes, and therefore all disorders of mental functioning are biological diseases," says Eric Kandel, a Nobel Prize winner and professor at Columbia. Let this information guide you as you try to make sense of everything that's going on: it's not your fault. You didn't ask for this. The number one thing to remember is that you did not bring it on yourself. 

Your heart is still beating. You're still here. Don't let the fear of what's creeping into your mind stop you from basking in the sweet glow of the good things surrounding you. I know, it's hard. Sometimes things like taking a shower or eating a meal can feel like running a marathon. But when your mind tells you that you're weak, or that you can't handle this, don't listen.  Drown it out with your favorite songs or the delicious smells of the newest dish that you cook to pass the time. Your mental illness does not define you.

Helpful Ways to Cope With Anxiety

I'm currently in the midst of my junior year of college. It's a whirlwind, with constant deadlines and assignments and checklists to complete. The overwhelming feeling that I'm doing something wrong likes to creep in when I least expect it, and often it makes me have to stop and just breathe. Anxiety makes me overthink everything, and I mean everything. It's exhausting.

I've found that certain activities help me focus on something else for a change—calming me down and letting me regroup. They've become a part of my everyday life, and they're helpful even to those who don't live with an anxiety disorder:

1. Take a hot shower or bath

2. Get an adult coloring book and color the stress away

3. Go for a walk

4. Drink chamomile or green tea

5. Open a book 

6. Decrease your caffeine levels and drink more water

7. Let yourself have days to unwind and shake off anything that's bothering you

Always remember to put you and your mental health firstSelf-care, in the midst of the craziness of life, can not be glazed over. You deserve to feel happy, loved and accomplished. Get out there and kick some ass.