Mental Health issues have been one of the most debatable topics throughout history. The history is full of records of how mental health has been manipulated, simply because its signs and symptoms were not clearly understood. In current times, mental health awareness is progressing more than before because mental health issues are being treated like any other medical illness.
According to the reports of the WHO, more than 420 million people are suffering from mental health issues. Treatment is available but 2/3rd of the people don’t seek medical help. It is not a personal failure, but rather how as a society we perceive this issue.
Mental health in Pakistan has been a stigmatized topic for decades. For this very reason, a lot of people suffered from various mental health disorders. Not only they were deprived of proper treatment but were unable to get it diagnose properly out of social stigma. But, for the past few years, mental health in Pakistan has taken a positive turn. For this very reason, several campaigns, seminars etc are being conducted for mental health awareness at a fast pace.
But, Why Are We Reluctant to Speak About Mental Health Issue?
There are various reasons for our inability to speak about this needed health issue such as
- In some societies, the mental issue is considered a sign of weakness and is highly stigmatized. Rather than taking it like any other medical illness, it is considered as a person’s own fault.
- Some people take mental health issues as mere “pretending” or “snap out of it” situations. Men, mostly in this case, out of fear of being judged, bottle up their emotions and do not seek help.
- In this current era, we find it more convenient to seek help regarding this issue from social media or virtual people. We don’t prefer to try reaching out to real people for help or proper medical assistance but prefer to take a pill to ease the depression temporarily. We don’t talk about this issue as to how it should be discussed.
- Then, there are people who think, this mental health issue won’t be cured and medicines will only bring lifelong side effects. There are also people who think it is an expensive treatment. This fear of the unknown ultimately stops the person from seeking out help.
In reality, the truth is that you need to take steps so that you can improve your mental health.
Before we talk about tips to boost mental health. Let’s first take a look at what are the key features of mentally healthy people.
Importance of Mental Health and the Features of Mentally Healthy People
Your mental health influences your whole lifestyle, the way you talk, feel, work and behave in daily life. It affects your health, over challenges, your ability to cope with stress, cope with insomnia, your relations, even tackling the hardships and failures faced in life.
Strong mental health does not mean that you don’t have any mental health disorder. Being healthy either emotionally or mentally is far more than being free from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or any other mental illness. Being mentally strong highlights the positive characteristics of your personality.
Mentally Healthy People Have
- A sense of being content
- A quest for living and the ability to smile, laugh, cheerful and have fun.
- Ability to tackle the hardships of life or any stress.
- A sense of purpose both in their personal life, work and in relations
- Strong self-esteem and self-Confidence.
- A balance between work and other activities.
- Ability to modify and adapt the changings
- Always have room to learn new skills etc.
Some people are born optimistic, they are calm no matter what life throws at them, BUT, is there any way to Boost Mental Health? Yes, there is.
10 Simple Ways to Improve Mental Health
Mental health awareness is important. The reason being that once you are fully informed, after that you’ll be able to manage your anxiety and other mental health issues. Some of the best ways to improve mental health are as follows:
1. Sense of Self Worth
The first and foremost important tip is to “be kind to your own self”. Treat yourself with respect, kindness and avoid self-doubt or self-criticism. Treat yourself with the same love the way you treat your beloved ones. Make time for things that make you happy, it can be any hobby, TV show and expand your horizon. Try to learn any new skill or take art lessons or learn any new language.
2. Take Care Of Your Body
You need to take care of your body physically. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.For this, you need to
- Eat healthy nutritious food- Especially fruits and vegetables and avoid sugary or processed foods. Adding immune-boosting foods to your diet would do wonders for your mental health.
- Keep yourself hydrated-Drink sufficient water.
- Exercise- To improve your immune system and mood. Walking is the best exercise for your overall health.
- Avoid Smoking.
- Take sufficient sleep- Lack of sleep leads to anxiety and depression.
3. Manage Your Stress
Whether you want to accept it or not, stress is a part of normal life. At times stress is positive in terms of your activity or work. But, if it’s continuous stress, then it’ll surely be going to take a toll on your mental health. You need to manage your stress and remind yourself that none of us owes all the worries of life. Make a “To-do List” to cope with stress. Go out, exercise, read a book, learn something new and add some humour to your life. Add Laughter Prescription in your Life, research has proven that being happy, smiling and laughing can boost your immune system, relax your mind and body, ease the pain and even reduce stress.
4. Volunteer Yourself
Give yourself and volunteer your energy and time for others. Be empathic. When you’ll help someone, you’ll be happy and feel content. This is also a great way to engage in good activities and more new good people. Embrace the human interaction and make most of it for your mental health.
5. Surround Yourself with Good and Positive People
People who have a strong relationship with their family and friends or even strong social connections are normally mentally healthy than those who lack such support. People who have optimistic friends tend to live longer and have a healthy mind. You need to be careful who you let in your space, as they have a significant impact on your mental health. You can make plans or activities with your supportive family members, friends or colleagues.
6. Be Ambitious- Set Some Goals in Your Life
You need to be ambitious in your Life. You need to set goals to be it academically, personally or even professionally. Write it down in a journal and work for it. Aim High, it’s a good thing, but make sure they are realistic and don’t overdo it. You’ll enjoy the journey and the whole process and once you achieve your goal, your morale will be boosted giving you a sense of accomplishment and contentment. This will increase your self-esteem leading to better mental health.
7. Quiet your Thoughts and Mind-Give yourself a Break
Overthinking leads to anxiety and depression. Give your mind a break. You need to try meditating, be regular in your prayers and other relaxing exercises. Spiritual prayers and meditation have a proven benefit on mental health. In fact, various research has shown that prayers and meditation help you calm your nerves and enhance mental health therapy.
8. Avoid Smoking and Misuse of Drugs
Smoking is injurious to your health. Smoking or other drugs such as narcotics are extremely damaging and have serious lifelong consequences on your physical and mental health. People often misuse drugs by opting for “self-medication” instead of going to the doctor. This habit can literally raise more health issues.
9. Break the Monotonous Routine
Making a daily routine and schedule is good in order to keep up with the daily chores to be done on time efficiently. But, at times, it is important to break up this monotonous routine and you can just go to the park, alter your route of jogging, go to a different restaurant, explore new places around you and even go on for a vacation. This change is healthy for mental health.
10. When in Need, Seek Help!
Last but not the least, if a mental health issue such as anxiety, stress or depression isn’t going away, you must seek help. It is not a sign of weakness but rather strength that you want to heal yourself. You can reach out to your trustworthy family member, friend, colleague and even a good psychiatrist. Because, once you reach out for help, you are already on your way to recovery.
Treat mental illness like any other physical disease and if you help yourself in this, you are going to live a happy and healthy life and be a source of inspiration for others who are dealing with some mental health issues!