Why is our generation finding it so hard to deal with their mental state? Physically, we live the most comfortable and convenient life compared to our ancestors. So, what is causing such suffering, that is taking away happiness from our lives?
Our mental or psychological health is far more essential in daily living. It is crucial for us to establish an order psychologically, i.e., within ourselves, because we are no different from the world. The world is you – inwardly as well as outwardly.
Our current lifestyle hasn’t been acknowledging the importance of mental health; instead, it has made us live a life based on superficial comforts and luxuries without a proper ground or foundation.
People have been complaining about inner peace, which is, of course, related to your psychological health to a great extent. They may be having a great career, earning a significant amount of money, living in a big house, etc., but the fundamental law of inward health has apparently been thrown towards ignorance.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has suggested that 1 in 5 adults go through at least 1 mental health condition every year. We can’t deny this fact and should be looked into at the root of it. (1)
What is the Importance of Mental Health?
How you live within yourself and around others says a lot about your mental health. It is an important aspect of your overall well-being to help you determine how you function psychologically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
A balanced mental state boosts your productivity and helps you develop inner peace and harmony. Your inner being reflects in the society and the people around you. So, that means you will be able to build more profound relationships with everything and everyone.
Paying attention to your psychological conflicts is necessary to determine the root cause of something. Paying attention implies looking at something with care and affection, and hence you are directly nurturing your mental health.
Proper daily functioning is a natural consequence of good mental health. At the same time, it also helps you to manage physical distress (psychosomatic disorders). For instance, conditions like hypertension, acidity, pelvic pain, and headaches are stress-related. Therefore, managing your mental stress can positively impact your physical health.
Being mentally healthy is tremendously essential, especially in a world like this. We will naturally act more consciously and be aware of all the influences around us. A mind that is free and more active is one of the significant factors for mental well-being.
The importance of mental health can be known by understanding the complications and conflicts within oneself and with others. It is not something you achieve only once. It is required at every stage of your life – from childhood to old age.
Benefits of Good Mental Health
As we discussed earlier, how psychological health can affect your daily functioning, behavior, and how you relate to others, impacting every area of our lives. That means psychological order and spiritual health go hand in hand, making you more lovable, compassionate, honest, and moral. (2)
Below are some of the benefits of a healthy mentality:
1) Enhanced quality of living:
When you are mentally balanced, it means that you are living a successful and joyful life no matter the outward circumstances. You might begin taking up new hobbies, making new friends, hiking, or traveling to new places.
2) Meaningful relationships:
Better mental health will help you build profound relationships with friends and other people. You will naturally begin to respect and value others despite how they treat you. (3)
Also, you will be able to provide more affection, support, and love to your family and friends.
3) Confidence with clarity:
Clarity requires psychological balance. Confidence alone will not establish peace and harmony among human beings, but clarity can make you do what’s needed.
So, when you combine confidence with clarity, there is a higher chance of performing the right actions to lead a life without greed, envy, power, and ignorance.
4) Greater ability to deal with life’s stress
When you alone can handle yourself mentally and emotionally, you will see that challenges in life become more effortless. Most people try to cope with stress through negative ways, such as abusing alcohol, drugs, fighting, etc.
This is entirely wrong because the mind will gradually become duller and more dependent on external stimulants. A person who is mentally stable can deal with challenging situations in healthier ways.
How To Improve Mental Health?
Physical and mental health are the most critical aspects of a healthy lifestyle. They are the foundations for living the best quality of life and shouldn’t be overlooked. Generally, in life, we can manage or heal our bodies in many different ways – be it modern, Chinese, or ayurvedic medicine.
However, psychological health is quite a bit complex to deal with because it is much subtler due to various influences, environment, and heredity. Healing of the mind is a different thing, but we are discussing the improvement of psychological well-being.
Mental health is often misunderstood. Some believe that the way you act and behave entirely depends on your brain chemistry and genetics, whereas others say it’s just a matter of willpower – the “positive” thinking mentality. Unfortunately, it is never about a single decision, but it is based on multiple factors and habits.
There are several things you can do to improve your mental health:
1) Observe your thoughts:
The ability to pay attention and observe your thoughts without any evaluation is the key to lowering your reactions to emotions. Because as soon as you react to your thoughts, you stop learning about yourself, and therefore it becomes pretty meaningless.
Most people react, that is, act on autopilot, particularly when they feel strong emotions:
A) You get angry, and your reaction is immediately lashing out – throwing things around, punching the wall, being abusive, or thinking about how terrible someone else is.
B) Anxiety takes over, and the first thing you do is engage in meaningless activities or look for comfort by calling a friend or someone close to you.
C) You turn to alcohol or drugs when you feel sad or depressed.
All these acts are based on impulsiveness and lead you nowhere. To learn something new about yourself, you must be with your thoughts and emotions. The more you do that, the more you realize how insignificant your past actions were.
2) Learn to change patterns of your behavior
An obvious sign of poor mental health is rigid behavior. The key to stronger mental and emotional health is to change your behavior from time to time. When we act on the same patterns every day and expect a different result, it is a form of neurosis.
It is not exactly insanity, but if you try and think back on a time when you were suffering psychologically, you see the same pattern repeating itself. However, it doesn’t make you feel better. It gradually gets worse over time.
For instance, it becomes too easy to distract yourself with mindless activities when you are feeling anxious or afraid or to isolate yourself when you are sad and depressed.
Simply put, we all have our ways of responding to sadness and stress, and it is always in the same pattern because the past holds us away from the present. You must see this pattern and break it immediately so that you can respond to your emotions differently.
3) Relaxation practices
Some breathing or spiritual practices bring about the body’s natural relaxation response. It helps slow your breathing, lower blood pressure, and reduce muscle tension. Some of them are:
A) Pranayama: Pranayama is a part of yoga that mainly focuses on your breath. Some practices involve fast breathing, and others involve slow breathing. It is a great way to energize yourself physically as well as mentally. Ensure to follow all the rules before taking up this practice.
B) Meditation: Various meditations, such as focusing on the breath, observing your thoughts without judgment, or concentrating on chakras, can also promote inner peace.
All these forms of meditation are self-help. They give you a sense of harmony within yourself and make you less reactive to outward happenings.
C) Massage: Getting a head or full-body massage can benefit both physical and mental health. It helps to reduce your stress hormones by lowering the heart rate.
It increases the temperature in the body to promote relaxation and improve circulation throughout the body.
4) Give your whole attention to suffering
When going through a hard time, be compassionate towards all your emotions and thoughts. You must ensure you approach them with kindness, affection, and rationality.
Most of us lack the quality of self-compassion. It is a quality that makes you want to treat yourself with love, empathy, and no judgments, like a close friend. While many have learned to be kind towards others, they are terrible at doing the same for themselves.
For instance, when you commit a mistake, you start criticizing yourself with negative thinking and self-talk, or you start comparing yourself to others when you are unsure about what you want.
5) Living healthily every day
Physical and mental health are not separate; they are interrelated. The more you are aware of this, the healthier lifestyle you will want to pursue. It includes everything you do throughout the day – how you eat, sit, behave, think and spend time.
Some of the essential things you should consider are:
1) Good quality sleep: It is not the amount of sleep you get, but it is about the quality. Fewer hours of quality sleep is even better for your mental health. Poor sleep can cause you to become more angry and irritated.
Over time, lack of good sleep can make worsen your mental condition. So, it is important to ensure that you sleep well, especially at night.
2) Proper eating habits: Proper nutrition not only makes you physically healthy but also boosts cognitive function and decreases stress and anxiety. There have been studies that show how lack of nutrients can cause certain mental illnesses. (4)
Choosing a well-balanced diet that gets you all the essential nutrients you need is crucial to promoting both physical and mental well-being.
3) Make yourself physically active: Working out or doing yoga can positively impact your mental health. Physical activities boost your mood, concentration, and alertness.
It doesn’t have to be a heavy workout or twisting yourself in yogic poses. You can walk, run or do some regular exercises to ensure your body does sufficient movement. Any physical activity is better than none.