Enhancing our Mental Health
Everyday, we grapple with mental health issues such as elevated stress, sometimes successfully, and at other times not so successfully. In navigating our lives, and the challenges of stress, we cannot over-emphasize the importance of a healthy mind. A healthy mind acts as a buffer between us and everyday life stresses, enabling us to perform tasks with decreased effort, reducing destructive unwelcome thoughts, and generally enabling us greater satisfaction in life. The World Health Organisation (WHO), defines Wellness as “a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”. We mostly strive for this Wellness in the face of increasingly stressful lives.
The stresses we face may be:
- Losing significant relationships (marital, family, work related)
- Traumatic effects of violence, the unexpected loss of loved one, physical assault, sexual assault, robbery, and verbal and emotional abuse.
- Psychological adjustment to changes in the status of our health
In times of elevated stress, managing our emotions can be especially difficult. We may feel removed and distant from others, our energy levels may dip significantly, we may find ourselves less productive at work, or overwork in an attempt to run away from our own unpleasant emotions. Sometimes we may self-treat by abusing substances such as alcohol, recreational drugs, prescribed or non-prescribed medication.
Despite such challenges, we can always strive for good Mental Health, which characterized by:
- Bouncing back from adversity
- Communicating about our feelings
- Forming good interpersonal relationships
- Setting and achieving realistic goals
- Seeking help in difficult times
- Enjoying life to the fullest
Recent studies suggest that building and integrating certain actions in our lives (even when we feel down and out),...