Being happy might not change the color of your skin – but it can change the quality of your life. And that’s why mental health matters when you live with vitiligo.
According to psychotherapist Julia Hogan, a Chicago-based licensed professional counselor, your happiness and confidence impact the way you live. And as it turns out, it isn’t always easy to stay positive – even for those without vitiligo.
Sometimes being positive actually takes work
Being negative comes naturally to humans. According to one evolutionary theory, our brains are trained to focus on the negative as a survival instinct. Back in the days of hunters and gatherers, focusing on the negatives – like where a bear’s cave is located or which berries are poisonous – was the key to staying alive. Today, we’re lucky to live in a relatively safe environment, but our brains are still programmed to notice the negative.
Negativity can invade your life – and mental health keeps you in check
Your mental well-being is at the core of how you behave and respond to the world around you. If you’re stressed out or depressed, you’ll respond in a negative way. If you’re happy, you are going to naturally be more resilient to what’s happening around you.
“It’s kind of like the Snickers commercials,” said Julia. “You aren’t yourself when you’re hangry, but as soon as you fix the emotional or stress-inducing issue, you’re back to being you.”
Think about it in terms of dealing with stares while walking down the street. When you’re feeling bad about yourself, you notice people staring at you and immediately start thinking badly about yourself. You might feel angry or embarrassed and the situation might ruin your entire day. On the other day, if you’re feeling confident, you will still notice people staring, but you might be more likely to let it go and give them the benefit of the doubt that they are just curious. Having mental health will allow you to be strong and not let another’s actions get you down.
Those with vitiligo need to make mental health a priority
If you live with vitiligo, your mental state can change the way you feel about your skin, the way you look at yourself in the mirror and the way respond to people who stare at you. In short, it can change the way you live with vitiligo. And that’s why it’s so important to have a positive mental state. Putting your mental health first and building habits that increase your happiness can transform your life with vitiligo.
Disclaimer: These tips are general advice only and are not meant to be taken as therapeutic advice. For more information, visit https://juliamariehogan.com/.
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.