PRACTICAL TIPS TO MANAGE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL WELLNESS

“What Mental Health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversations” says Glenn Close, and this is certainly the numero uno condition for wellbeing or wellness of our mind and thus our life at large.

“Mental health is a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (World Health Organisation).  Being mentally healthy and living well is essential for every single person. It is important to our overall wellbeing and as important as physical wellbeing. 

Mental health includes our emotional, and social well-being. Nurturing, developing & then safeguarding of mental health throughout the life cycle is an essential area of concern of an individual and societies across the world. Since the state of mind is not just a destination rather a process in continuity in our life. It is like not where you are going ultimately but it how comfortably you will drive down your path of life journey. However, considering every one of us come to this earth with a sound and healthy body means it includes a stress-free scratch-less mind. Just like a computer assembled with very potential powerful hardware yet to be programmed to perform countless actions which might or rather definitely attract unknown extremely harmful viruses and so it needs to be programmed to keep itself safe. Likewise in order to possess a sound and healthy mind, we need to groom it from the very childhood stage.

Mental wellness is an inner resource that helps us think, feel, connect, and function. It is an active process that enhances our capacity to build resilience. It includes the ability to develop a positive and realistic evaluation of self and sense of purpose in life. 

Research shows that mental wellness is a positive empowering approach that is about preventing and coping with life’s adversity and being resilient when an individual faces stress, worry, loneliness, anger, sadness, and most importantly the stigma related to mental illness. Moreover, evidence shows that improving mental wellness can reduce the risk of developing mental illness (Keyes et al, 2005,2010).   

Mental wellness is a lifelong process and a proactive strategy to strengthen our mental, emotional, social, and psychological resources (global wellness institute). In case we like to keep our mind fit, then we need to train our mind just like our body. Mental wellness just does not happen, for the same, one has to put effort towards it and need to do it actively on daily basis. 

So, it is important to pay the attention to maintaining mental wellness.   

Therefore, the following are the different steps that one could follow in order to maintain sustainable mental wellbeing.

1. Developing Resilience

Resilience is what gives people inner strength. So, for developing Resilience, the first step is to start creating positive thoughts which will give you mental and physical strength. For example, one can think “My mind is healthy, and my body is healthy” and this positive thought influences our feeling. So, how you think always plays a significant effect in how you feel. Therefore, try to practice this frequently the whole day. This thought will enhance mental confidence. It can also involve profound personal growth.

2. Developing a sense of Gratitude

Practice a mindset of gratitude. Spend time each day thinking about three things you are grateful for. Start the morning by saying “Thank you, GOD…”
Keep 15 minutes every morning. It can increase positive emotions.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. By observing your thoughts and doing one thing at a time help individuals to become more mindful.

4. Practice Silence

Silence is a state of not speaking. Every day, set aside 5-10 minutes to sit quietly with yourself. Try to go inside your thoughts. Silence ensures clarity of mind and helps in attaining the right solutions to problems.

5. Practice Compassion-

Develop an understanding for the suffering of others and a wish to help them. It is a desire to reduce the suffering of another. A broad sympathetic feeling is associated with compassion. The main benefit is that it helps you to be happy. 

6. Practice Meditation-

Meditation is to focus on a particular object, thought or activity consciously.  Practice meditation for 15 minutes every morning. Remember, even washing dishes can be a mindful exercise. If you do household chores with joy and awareness, it becomes a meditation exercise. Studies on the long -term benefits of meditation showed that the practice reduces stress and increase the levels of happiness and self- confidence (Fergusson et al.,1995)

7. Follow the Breath Flow –

Just follow your breath flow. Try to do it frequently whole day. Do simple breathing exercise by observing your breath flow.

8. Stay Connected with People 

Spend good times with your family members and friends. Connecting with other people is important for our mental wellbeing. It helps the individual to build their sense of belongingness and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. 

9. Take Fresh Air 

Filling the lungs with fresh air by opening a window and go for walk.

10. Nurturing trees/ Gardening

A garden can keep us fit mentally and physically. It reduces stress and increases relaxation.

11. Sleep adequately and Eat Healthy Food

Sleep 7 – 8 hours daily.  At least 1 hour before sleeping, try to disconnect yourself from media or gadgets. 

Food influences our state of mind. Home-made food radiates vibrations of love and care. So, there is positive feeling associated with homemade food. 

12. Seek professional help 

If you have thoughts about self-harm, you are overwhelmed by the stress and you feel you cannot cope as a result of stress, then you should seek professional help. 

Moreover, along with this above- mentioned steps, the giving attitude, engaging in pleasant activities, acquiring new skills, developing good habits, maintaining a work life balance can be helpful to keep us healthy mentally as well as physically. 

However, by taking few small above -mentioned steps each day towards positivity, one can retrain their brain to look for the good things. 

About the Author

Atashi Gupta is a consultant psychologist (RCI Registered) and psychotherapist with 18 years of experience in the field of mental health. She has done her M.Sc. in Applied Psychology with specialization in Clinical Psychology from University of Calcutta, M.Sc in Dementia studies from University of Sterling, United Kingdom, B.Sc in  Psychology  (Hons.) from University of Calcutta and Post Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy and Psychological Counselling from Jadavpur University. Her passion is to help people to understand and find their problems and help them to draw on ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ resources to solve their problems or issues. Moreover, she helps people to explore issues of concern to them in a way that helps them to decide what to do. 

She is the recipient of award from St. Jude Childcare Centres for helping children and parents to overcome their problems and maintaining calm and discipline at the centre with remarkable confidence, professional competence and compassion. 

She is also the proud recipient of scholarship from Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, United Kingdom for her dementia studies and research. 

Atashi is a avid researcher who has published her work in various reputed publications. Atashi has guided large number of students who completed dissertation work on the geriatric mental health issue under her supervision at Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology. Her interviews have appeared in various national dailies/magazines and have been aired on television as well. 

She is credited for developing an interactive self- learning  CD-Rom for young people, Behaviour change communication strategy paper, counselling guideline..Atashi is also a trainer and has conducted training on mental health, psychosocial health and counselling issues at Calcutta University, West Bengal State Aids Prevention and Control Society (WBSAPCS), Save The Children , Child In Need Institute, Family planning association of India and other well-known government and non- government organizations.