7th April- World Health Day
Are you healthy? What does being healthy mean? Does being disease-free mean being healthy? You are physically fit but are you mentally healthy and fit too?
After delving into the above questions, let’s move forward! As the title clearly reflects, this article talks about what most of us fail to talk about – MENTAL HEALTH.
In the most vernacular terms, how a person is doing emotionally and psychologically is mental health. So, when that mental well-being is hampered for a significant period, it is a symptom of mental illness. Just like tooth pain is a symptom of cavities or other oral problems, there are symptoms of mental illness. And just as we visit a doctor for our dental issues, we must visit a doctor for our mental illness.
There are several forms of mental illness that one can suffer from. Some of these we very easily fail to recognize. It’s about time we understand, acknowledge, and take steps towards curing them. Let’s understand the not-so-famous five mental illnesses:
Anxiety: An emotion involving feelings of fear, worry, and anxiety hampering one’s daily activities.
Depression: Consistent low mood or disinterest in activities obstructing one’s daily life.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Facing trouble in being attentive, impulsiveness, and hyperactivity characterize ADHD.
Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of mood swings, oscillating from hysterical highs to terrible lows.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): The name itself suggests, obsessions that cause compulsions (repetitive behavior) are termed as OCD.
Just as the toothache I was talking about earlier doesn’t raise brows, mental illness shouldn’t do too. Now that the first box is checked, we know about different mental illnesses that we fail to recognize, we now try to understand what we can do about it if we find ourselves down this road:
Self Awareness: Being aware of our emotions and our actions helps us understand what deviation from the normal is. Introspection and being in touch with yourself will help you lead a better life.
Acceptance: Acceptance is the first step to solving mental illness, for that matter, any illness. Recognize if there are any prolonged mental disturbances that hamper your daily course of life. Stop being ashamed or feel sorry for yourself. That is the key.
Take the Opposite Trail: No, I don’t suggest you to literally walk the lane opposite to the one that Google Maps suggests. I suggest that you do what you don’t want to do. When your bed or blanket tempts you and you wish to spend the evening crying and hugging your pillow, pick up the phone and set up a meeting with friends. When you want to sleep and you can’t sleep, you spend time making up all the monsters in your head. Rather, you must do something that distracts your mind. Watch a movie, write something, play something, in short, do something.
Do a Physical Activity: Run, walk, hit the gym, play a sport, cycle. Physical activity doesn’t only mean a healthy body but also a healthy mind. The results will show and you will know.
Go Out: It’s important to step out of your home regularly. The four walls of the house can be suffocating sometimes. Nature brings us closer to oneself. Just a small stroll in the public park will lighten your mood.
Sleep: Take adequate sleep. It calms the body and mind and rejuvenates you like nothing else.
Follow a Routine: A friend once remarked – a person without a routine is like a sheep in a herd. Stop being a sheep. Chalk out a rough plan for the upcoming day and try to follow it as much as you can. A productive day does help keep our mind healthy.
Take up a Hobby: Take this time to explore hobbies that you never could. They keep you engaged. Channelling our energies in the right direction helps. And wouldn’t you agree that a tired body is better than a tired mind.
Keep Away from Drugs: Smoking and drinking may give you temporary relief but they ain’t the solution my friend! Don’t add another obsession to your list. Your willpower is your weapon.
Calm Your Mind: The root cause of all the above mentioned mental issues is an unsettled mind. Relax. Practice deep breathing exercises. Meditate. I know it’s not easy to meditate but simply sit down, close your eyes. If the mind wanders, let it wander, but remember to bring it back. If it wanders again, bring it back again. But sit down. Have 10 minutes of your 24 hours for only and only your mind.
Don’t Compare: Don’t compare your issues with others. Never ever downplay your mental issues. Mental health issue, however big or small, is an issue. Social media distracts the already distracted mind. Use it to refresh, not to depress yourself.
Get Help: See a counselor if the condition persists. Seeking help will only better you. The best solution depends on the person and her/his situation. It helps, be assured!
Believe in Yourself: You are stronger than you seem. Your greatest therapist is you. Keep trying. You will conquer your mind. You are the captains of your ship. Don’t let anything or anyone take control of you. Take charge!
What if you are on the other side of the fence? Someone you know is ill. You can do something too:
Acknowledge: We know that it is important for the person facing mental health issues to acknowledge them. Remember that it is equally important for her/his folks to acknowledge and understand.
Talk without Judgment: Lending a patient ear can do wonders for the person suffering from such illnesses in ways that you can’t even imagine. Listen without judgment and never lose patience.
Don’t Belittle Someone’s Issues: Not even in jest say things that trivialize mental health issues. You will never be able to take back your words.
Help Find the Solution: Be a companion and find the solution together. Giving a company or helping look for a counsellor can help set someone’s life right.
The theme of World Health Day 2019 is universal health coverage. Hopefully, if you and I talk about mental health, the scope of universal health coverage will include mental health as well.
HEALTHY PERSON= Healthy Body+ Healthy Mind