EXCLUSIVE: The effects of mental health on well being by Amandeep Thind
Depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, anger, nervous breakdown are often considered personality disorders or diseases and an indicator of issues stemming from the ‘mental health or well-being of an individual. So, what really is ‘mental health’ and how does it impact us in day-to-day life?
Simply put mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social response to people and life circumstances. Thereby it's very pervasive and impacts or affects the way we think, feel and act. While, positive mental health can help us realize our full potential, cope with stress in life; work productively and meticulously; make a meaningful contribution to the community.
On the other hand, negative mental health can lead to eat and sleep disorders; pulling away from people; having low self-esteem and confidence issues; experiencing extreme mood swings; feeling numb or numbness towards others; unexplained aches and pains; feelings of helplessness or hopelessness; substance abuse; feeling unusually confused; forgetfulness, edginess, frequent loss of temper; being constantly upset, worrying too much; being scared or threatened; fights or brawls with family and friends; hallucinations; thoughts of self-harm or harming others; inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school and the list can go on and on.
Triggered by the ongoing global pandemic, mental health issues across the world have spiked further, due to loss of jobs, loved ones, lack of social lives, ongoing negativity, and threat to survival. According to the Global Burden of Disease study, anxiety, mood, trauma, and stress-related disorders are fast becoming the prime contributors to mental health illnesses world-over. Covid is continuing to have a severe bearing on the collective mood and sentiment of the human race, it has pulled the confidence levels down, despite the human’s will to succeed and overcome the crisis.
With work, school, shopping, exercises and all other activities and pursuits done from home, people from across age groups are left with excessive free time in hand; unable to manage or productively consume this time, which is leading to frustration, dullness, depression, unhealthy and mental illnesses.
While one can choose to invest this time wisely and develop or explore new skill sets and hobbies, people are largely still continuing to spend time on wasteful and passive pursuits like scrolling social media, watching Netflix, playing online games, which though, is helping them in a way from staying-off the negative mood, however, is causing a huge psychological shift.
In such a situation, the idea of success, being purposeful, achieving goals and staying motivated may look quite grim and elusive. But the fact really is that for us to spring back and come out of this situation it is imperative that we adjust our lens and focus back on our dreams and aspirations and start all over again with new enthusiasm.
Now how do we really break away from these patterns of a downward spiral or keep a check on ourselves, when getting sapped into the whirl of negative emotions?
Here is a quick checklist of things you can take up:
Talk it out
One of the simplest ways to keep a check on your ‘mental well-being’ is to create a support group or structure for yourselves, where you can talk and share your thoughts and feeling. This could be a friend, a group of friends or someone very dear to you from your family. Confide in these people or persons, so there is enough venting of emotions without any judgements. This will help you relieve stress or pent-up emotions, anguish or pain. As when we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.
Don’t shy away from seeking professional help
Yes, you heard it right, sometimes it's most difficult to emotionally reach out to those who are your closest and there is nothing wrong with that. So, in situations, where you find yourself totally clueless, confused or stuck and unable to express yourself, it could be a good idea to plan a trip to a phycologist or counsellors’ clinic. This will not only help break some barriers with your own self, it can literally help you walk out with a new perspective.
Consider these visits as a part of your ‘self-care regime, ultimately you are responsible to take care of your ‘mind’ as much as your body! So, don’t hesitate!
Give yourself ‘positive affirmations and empowering context
It is said ‘your word creates your world’, so be watchful of what and how you speak to yourself. The inner voice or continuous conversation that you have with yourself through the day is critical to your well-being. Keep a close check on the ‘quality of your conversations with yourself’. Negative and disempowering self-talk will only pull your confidence and energy levels down, resulting in unenthusiasm and a lack of positivity. On the contrary, writing or reminding yourself of some encouraging positive affirmations will set you off on a positive and energizing day ahead. Affirming simple sentences like ‘I am happy, I am grateful’, ‘I am successful’, ‘I am joyous’ etc. throughout the day, work like magic!
Calm your stressed nerves with relaxing music, yoga or meditation
These activities are also called transformative and have many health benefits like mood elevation, ease anxiety, sharpens mind and memory, improves sleep, relieves pain, boosts immunity and protects the heart by lowering heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline and stress-related hormone, cortisol.
Be physically active
Physical activity helps activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
Take enough deep breaths and get good sleep
Yes, our body’s self-healing mechanism is the strongest ones. So, heal and gain from your inner intelligence by doing these simple things - take frequent deep breaths through the day, either in sitting or lying down posture. Also, catch good sleep and for that, put some relaxing meditation music 10minutes before crashing out! As it helps in easing and evoking the body’s relaxation response.
So, take charge of your life and live it the way you want to, for “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” — Joubert Botha.