The month of May is observed as ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ since 1949 in United States. This year’s theme is ‘More than enough’. The idea is that even if all we did was wake up today, that’s more than enough. Showing up just as we are is more than enough. May’s first Sunday is observed as World Laughter Day too. So this month is a lot about the wellness of the mind. Everybody is affected negatively by some external force- some incident, some one’s behaviour and/or some failure. How long we remain affected by them determines our mental health condition. There are some activities and techniques which help us in having a grip over our mental health and I am going to discuss a few (7) of them today. If these general techniques don’t seem to work, one must take clinical aid. It is high time that we have mental health awareness without being judgemental.
Self-Love is essential and you must be thinking how is self-love related to journaling? Even though we say that we love ourselves the most, we hardly pay attention to ourselves. Journaling helps in focusing on the self. Detailed journaling enables us to track our daily activities and also our mood. Journaling aids in improving our own mental health awareness. Jotting down our emotions help in not only letting out our pent up feelings but also in understanding what we are going through. It is important that we recognise our emotions and not judge them. Maintaining a gratitude journal is the best. Everyday we must list down at least three things we are grateful for. The added advantages of journaling are that a journal definitely keeps us organised and helps us plan better.
Self-love is not selfishness and self-care is the first step of mental health awareness. A healthy body and a healthy mind complement each other. Physical fitness with regular exercising, walking and drinking plenty of water keeps us happy as they lead to release of chemicals in the brain which keep us less anxious. This keeps us relaxed and confident. We must take care of our skin, have enough sleep, not over eat and avoid smoking, vaping and drinking too much alcohol.
It is essential for mental health awareness that we calm our mind. Meditation is the best method to quieten the mind. Meditating daily enables us to practice mindfulness and be in the present. Meditation definitely reduces stress as the tranquil mind will clear the clouds of doubts and jumbling thoughts.
Networking with Nature:
Nature heals. Walking in a park, nurturing plants regularly or traveling to a place with ample nature’s bliss instantly rejuvenate our tired urban spirits. Taking a break is important; whether it’s a walk in the park during sunset or it’s a trekking trip to the mountains. The monotony has to be broken so that there is some spark amidst the daily mundane. Taking breaks is a valuable step towards mental health awareness as it helps reduce job burnout. A new environment is useful for evaluating our daily life and untangle the ideas which overwhelm us.
Connect with Real People:
All social media posts may not be useful for us. We must choose what content to consume wisely. It is essential that we focus on our real friends and family over our ‘facebook’ friends and ‘Instagram’ family. For a good mental health we need to be connected to positive people who do not judge us. We need to talk and share both our joys and pains. We must be surrounded with people whom we can trust and with whom we feel comfortable.
Engage in Random Acts of Kindness:
Random acts of kindness is not costly. It is double blessing as it makes both parties happy. It is also essential that we help the less privileged ones. This will only fill our hearts with gratitude.
Increased mental health awareness leads to spending time on hobbies, learning new skills, reading and enhancing creativity. There’s joy in learning a new thing, in acquiring new knowledge and in creating something new. It gives a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment making us confident. Reading is good for mental health as it lowers the heart rate. Music also acts as anti-depressant.
Self-Esteem Leads to Mental Health Awareness:
Self-esteem is the first thing you need to have for mental health awareness. One has to value the self and have self-respect. One must avoid self-criticism and be kind to herself. Trusting others and trusting the self is crucial. Understanding self-worth goes miles; simultaneously setting boundary where necessary and setting oneself free when needed. We must be optimistic, positive and affirmative because our thoughts create our reality.
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