A quick test- When someone is said to be mentally unfit, what first comes to your mind? Could it be- Mentally deranged? Insane? Mad? Yeah, any of the above would be my first thought too. But being mentally unfit or mentally healthy is not just about sanity.
Mental or emotional health refers to our overall psychological well-being. It includes the way we feel about ourselves, the quality of our relationships, and our ability to manage our feelings and deal with difficulties. In commemoration of World Mental Health Day (October 10), let’s examine tips to improve our mental health and characteristics of mentally healthy people.
People who are mentally and emotionally healthy have:
- A sense of contentment.
- A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
- The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity.
- A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
- The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change.
- A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
- The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
- Self-confidence and high self-esteem.
TIPS TO IMPROVING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Travel: Travelling out of our familiar zone has a way of rejuvenating our senses, it refreshes us and generally have a good effect on our mental health.
Get enough rest. To have good mental and emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body. That includes getting enough sleep to function optimally.
Learn about good nutrition and practice it. The subject of nutrition is complicated and not always easy to put into practice. But the more you learn about what you eat and how it affects your energy and mood, the better you can feel.
Exercise to relieve stress and lift your mood. Exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression. Look for small ways to add activity to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going on a short walk. To get the most mental health benefits, aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise per day.
Do things that positively impact others. Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem.
Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
Learn or discover new things. Think of it as “intellectual candy”. Try taking an adult education class, join a book club, visit a museum, learn a new language, or simply travel somewhere new.
Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. The same goes for strolling through a park or an art gallery, admiring architecture, or sitting on a beach.
Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energised by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for it – things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop.
Make leisure time a priority. Do things for no other reason than that it feels good to do them. Go to a funny movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good book, or talk to a friend. Doing things just because they are fun is no indulgence. Play is an emotional and mental health necessity.
Make time for contemplation and appreciation. Think about the things you’re grateful for. Meditate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.
Everyone is unique; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people. Some people feel better relaxing and taking it slow while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel better. The vital thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that give you a boost.