During these testing times, it is important to keep calm, positive and nurture our mental health, says PULKIT SHARMA
The World Health Organisation, in a recent report cautions us about the rising cases of psychological disorders in India. The most common disorders afflicting Indian population include depression, anxiety, addictions and suicides. Moreover, the emotional and economic mayhem created by the current COVID-19 pandemic is likely to push the situation from bad to worse. In such times, we must rediscover ways to keep calm, positive and nurture our mental health. Taking care of our mind is as important because our thoughts have the power to shape our life.
Whenever you are stressed, introspect deeply on the source of the problem. Most of us have a flawed perception which makes us worried, depressed and agitated over anything going wrong in our life. Under its spell, we tend to overreact to minor frustrations, losses and deprivations and wrongly conclude that there is an emergency-like situation. To be mentally healthy, this wrong perception needs to go. When faced with unpleasant circumstances, remind yourself that the situation is not as grim as it appears to you; reassure yourself that you have the strength to deal with such problems. Enhance your mental endurance by facing adversities peacefully and optimistically and consider them as hidden opportunities to refine your survival instincts.
Also, there is an intimate connection between our breath and the mind — a calm breath can pacify an agitated mind. Therefore, whenever you are feeling nervous or sad, just pause for a few moments, check your breathing and normalise it. Alter the pace of your inhalation and exhalation so that your breathing becomes relaxed, regular, diaphragmatic and quiet. This type of breathing ensures optimum levels of oxygen in your blood, improves your attention and concentration and induces a state of mental calmness and well-being.
Our busy and chaotic lives, erratic work hours and increasing distractions leave us with measly time and space for winding down. Although, it may seem desirable to be a go-getter, but we usually take it to an extreme and force ourselves to function like machines. Without the much-needed break from routines, our body and mind burn out and we become vulnerable to various physical and psychological disorders. Encourage yourself to slow down and reclaim such long-lost interests and passions. This will brighten your mood, uplift your spirits and help you enhance your immunity and mental health.
Our mind has a tendency to wallow in past memories around discomforts, losses, annoyances and irritations — big or small and it ignores the positive aspects of life. If we scan our memories carefully, we would recall many moments of generosity — when family and friends supported us through thick and thin, when the universe answered our prayers, when strangers went out of their way to helps us or when someone showered us with unconditional love. It is important to hold on to these happy memories so that we feel hopeful about the world we live in. Try keeping a diary of gratitude and express thankfulness for everything good, whether big or small that comes your way. During difficult moments, you can read this journal and firm up your faith that come what may, the light will outweigh the darkness. Remember that you have an innate power to be mentally healthy and happy. Trust this inner force and let it work freely.
The writer is a clinical psychologist and the author of When the Soul Heals