Mental health is wealth. [Courtesy]

 

There is nothing more valuable than peace of mind. Just like physical health, mental health is so broad a condition that nearly everyone has experienced or is experiencing some form of mental distress at one time or the other.

Emotions and feelings sparking happiness, anger, frustration, confidence or sadness part of every day life, but how we handle and relate to them can have a major life impact.

Not only does your attitude control your mental and emotional state, but also your body function and consciousness.

A case of serious mental health has been shown to reduce or shorten a person’s life by 10 to 15 years.

However, remember that it is okay to feel overwhelmed, and this happens to the best of us at one time or the other.  

But what strategies can you use to go through life without getting pulled down by tough times and being able to handle what life throws at you?

Plan realistic goals

Planning will give you a sense of direction and ensure that what you are doing is aligned to your end goals.

But if it doesn’t work as planned, work on finding solutions rather than focusing on the negatives and blaming oneself. Celebrate your progress, however small, and strive for progress.

Focus on the positive. Studies have shown that individuals who have positive outlook on life not only live longer, but are also less likely to suffer from respiratory diseases, stroke, blood pressure and heart disease.

Remember that it’s just a phase

You can relate the challenges you are facing to what others around you have or are going through and how they coped with it positively. Such situations help one grasp the possibility of success and relate it to oneself.

Practise gratitude and write down what you are grateful for. It can be your family, work, home and by showing gratitude you’ll be pleased with how privileged you are with the things you have.

Writing something of importance gives it that tangible essence, almost palpable making it a lot easier to realise. Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t.

 Develop coping skills

These skills can be used when one is depressed, stressed, angry or frustrated about something.

It can be, by setting aside what got you angry and focus on something you love doing. For example, if it’s work related, set aside the work and watch a movie or take a walk to decompress.

Connecting with nature has proven to not only be beneficial physiologically but also psychologically.

Lots of artists look for inspiration in nature. Something about the essence of the wild really tickles the core of our existence provoking profound thoughts and ideas.

Maintain physical health

Physical and mental health complement each other.

Even modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference in your life.

Research has shown that exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety and antidepressant treatment with positive impact on depression, anxiety and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Apart from improving your physical health and physique, exercise also aids in reducing inflammation and increases neural growth in the brain.

It improves memory and boosts your overall well-being through the release of endorphins; a feel good hormone.

Meditation has also been shown to help you feel calmer with relaxation techniques that can improve your state of mind and outlook in life.

Practise calming relaxing exercise, progressive muscle exercise and relaxation breathing practice. 

A lady poses after a workout. [Courtesy]

And remember to eat well and stay hydrated.

Practising proper nutrition helps with body immunity, protecting against depression and stress, providing the brain with vital nutrients in its cells that support positive moods and brain function.

Drink enough water as being dehydrated will negatively impact your focus, memory and critical thinking ability. 

 Get enough sleep

Lack of enough sleep affects our physical and mental health. 

Lack of sleep has been linked to various health consequences such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression.

It’s recommended that we have at least eight hours of sleep. Switch off electronic devices 30 minutes before going to bed to sleep.

Connect with people

Interact with people who make you happy. This will boost your mood and aid in self-esteem.

Remember we are all human and it is okay to share what you are passing through with people we trust as it is healthy to express and talk about our challenges.

Plus chances are, due to difference in perception, friends can give you a solution you would have otherwise never considered. That’s why they say a problem shared is a problem half solved.

Strong relationships enriches life and offers a support system. Something we all need.

You can also seek help from a specialist if you can’t share something with anyone in your circle of confidants.

Do what you love. Be it listening to music, drawing, reading books and watching movies, hiking or other physical ventures maintaining a healthy, happy active mind-set which is just about all we need to have peace of mind.