Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well-being – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. It also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. In my honest opinion mental health is something that has for far too long been brushed aside in our community. This is something that is real and we need to help people who suffer from it.
Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions – disorders that can affect your mood, thinking and behaviour. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviours.
I have experienced this first hand myself and it was one of the hardest things I have endured so I know the challenges and difficulties in this. Moreover I have known many people who have gone through this and we really need to accept this and look for solutions. As a student I worked as a mental health support worker and therefore I will elaborate on my experience in relation to offering support and guidance.
We need to understand that our mind is a wonderful and powerful thing. It has the ability to prime us and remind us of the good and it also has the ability to take us down a black hole spiral that leads to no good. When it comes to making any changes in your life, the best and first place you need to start is with your mind.
How to look after your mental health:
1. Talk about your feelings
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
2. Keep active
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.
3. Eat well
Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
4. Seek professional help
If you are struggling with any form of mental illness I strongly encourage you to seek help. There is no shame in seeking help for things you are struggling with and it can be one of the bravest things you do. When we prioritise our mental health and happiness we are able to then focus on so much more once that is no longer creating such a stress in our lives.
5. Keep in touch
There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!
6. Ask for help
None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.
7. Take a break
A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.
8. Do something you’re good at
What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem
9. Accept who you are
We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.
10. Care for others
Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.
Finally I would like to say spread awareness, spread love and be kind! It all starts right now, with appreciating what you have and planting positive consistent thoughts about yourself. It means getting the help you need and making yourself a priority. Moreover I encourage you all to be kind to each person you see today, smile, be helpful and invest in those around you. The more we spread these types of actions the more we can change the world!
Wassalamu’alaykum – May peace be with you all.
Maruf Zaid Deen
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