Continued from our last on-line only edition
MOST TIMESWHEN we hear conversations about Mental Health, it is usually in relation to the identification of mental illness, prevention and treatment. Notably so, while a lot is stressed about mental illness, it is often misunderstood that the absence of a mental disorder is a direct indication of mental wellness.
The truth is mental health is looked at on a spectrum that goes from being Mentally healthy–making adjustments to accommodate life’s experiences— Being Neurotic— to having psychosis on the extreme end.
5. Manage stress Stress is often unavoidable and is to be seen as part of everyday life, but knowing what triggers your stress and knowing how to cope is critical in maintaining good mental health. Try to manage your responsibilities and worries by making a list or a schedule of when you can resolve each issue and prioritize their importance. Often if you break down your worries and stresses and write them down, you realize that they are manageable. Try to avoid burying your head in the sand, and tackle problems face on. If you find you are having trouble sleeping, or are waking up thinking about all of the things that are stressing you out, write them down and reassure yourself that you can deal with them in the morning.
6. Activity and exercise We can never underestimate the significance of regular activity and exercise in maintaining good mental health. Being active not only gives you a sense of achievement, but it boosts the chemicals in your brain that help put you in a good mood. Exercising can help eliminate low mood, anxiety, stress and feeling tired and lazy. It is also linked to living a longer life.
You don’t need to run a marathon or play 90 minutes of football; a short walk can also be effective.
7. Do something you enjoy One thing I say repeated is “Do not take life too seriously;” Try to make time for doing the fun things you enjoy. If you like going for a walk, painting or a specific TV show, try to set aside time to enjoy yourself. If we don’t spend any time doing things we enjoy, we can become irritable and unhappy.
8. Connect with others and be sociable Too often we have been hearing, “I am a loner”, “I don’t need people,” It is actually maladaptive to have such a belief that you do need people around you. I would encourage each of you to make an effort to maintain good relationships and talk to people whenever you get the chance. Having friends is important not just for your self-esteem, but also for providing support when you’re not feeling too great. Research has found that talking to others for just ten minutes can improve memory.
9. Do things for others Helping others isn’t just good for the people you’re helping; it’s good for you too. Helping someone can help with your self-esteem and make you feel good about your place in the world. Feeling as though you’re part of a community is a really important part of your mental health.
10. Ask for help One of the most important ways to keep yourself mentally healthy is to recognize when you’re not feeling good, and to know when to ask for help. There’s no shame in asking someone for support if you’re feeling low or stressed. We all go through patches on our journey of life where we don’t feel as good as we should. Let us normalize speaking to a trained professional to keep our minds in tact.