10 October is marked as the World Mental Health Day by WHO and it is aimed at spreading awareness among the people about the problems of mental health issues. It is a very important and real problem faced by many of us and there is a need to address this issue.
Mental health has always been less important than physical health for a long time but it is time to change than and bring an emphasis to a healthier mind.
There are a couple of things, you can do to help those around you who are suffering from mental health issues. Create a safe space for them to speak to you and encourage them to speak about it to their close ones. Do not judge them. Make them feel comfortable and realise that you are there to help them. Sometimes, they don’t need your advice, you simply have to listen to them and that itself is of great help for them. Make them aware of the organisations that are here to help them. Taking professional help doesn’t make them weak and make sure they are aware of this. By doing this you make mental health care a reality for people around you and worldwide.
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If you have access to the internet, which you probably do, then you could not have missed the plethora of articles about mindfulness and awareness. Mental health is finally getting its share of attention that it so rightly deserves. For far too long, we have made a big deal out of physical health— exercises, diet plans, regimes and coaches are easily available to achieve and maintain a good physical well-being and little to no attention was given to mental health. But things are changing now; people are talking a lot about meditation and its positive effect on the mind.
Mental health should be the most important aspect of a healthy life but so often we ignore it. The first step to being helpful is to understand that mental problems are real problems too. We need to stop saying “It’s all in your head, just shake it off!”; imagine you fractured your leg and I say “It’s all in your leg, just shake it off”, that’s ridiculous, isn’t it! Mental disorders are substantial problems and we shouldn’t just ignore it as simply ‘all in the head’. Acceptance that these disorders are genuine is the first step to helping people who are struggling. Once you have accepted it, be open to talking about it and creating an awareness among your family & friends about it and encourage them to speak openly about it, as well. By doing this, you are creating a safe space for anyone in your life who is having a difficult time speaking up about their problems. If someone does come to you, don’t try to fix them, just be there for them. As someone who has been through extended spells of loneliness, I can tell you I didn’t want to speak; just having a shoulder to rest my head on was sufficient— no words were needed.
Let us make mental well-being a priority and help people around us and ourselves become healthier beings.
Some useful tools/tips for mindfulness I follow/use:
- Headspace — An excellent app for easy on the go meditation.
- Writing — Writing about your fears and insecurities help you understand yourself better and this leads to awareness.
- Two minute challenge — Whenever you find yourself wandering off, focus on the seconds hand of an analog watch/clock for exactly two minutes.
- Mental commands — Before starting a task, tell yourself “Start” to get your mind to be fully aware of what you are doing!
It is not a piece of cake to learn mindfulness, it is a journey and once you begin this, you will realise how wonderful your mind can be and discover some amazing things about yourself.