MAY month is known as mental health awareness month and signifies raising awareness about mental health and well-being. Mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being. It is defined as our emotional, psychological, and social well-being that affects how we think, feel and act.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health exists on a complex continuum, which is experienced differently from one person to the next, with varying degrees of difficulty and distress and potentially very different social and clinical outcomes. The statistics from WHO state that depression is one of the leading causes of disability. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. People with severe mental health conditions die prematurely, as much as two decades early due to preventable physical conditions.
The John Hopkins Medicine reports that approximately 9.5 per cent of American adults ages 18 and over, will suffer from a depressive illness (major depression, bipolar disorder, or dysthymia) each year. According to a poll conducted for the American Psychological Association, stress continues to climb among American workers, who are struggling with multiple factors and 27% report that most days they are so stressed they cannot function. Mental well-being includes daily stress management in order to function properly and effectively. Therefore, here are some easy ways to de-stress and live a healthy and happier life.
1. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that can help in reducing stress and anxiety. WebMD states easy steps to practise deep breathing which include, you can lie on your back in bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees. Or you can sit in a chair with your shoulders, head, and neck supported against the back of the chair. Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air, and breathe out through your nose.
Now, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one that's on your chest. Take three more full, deep breaths. Breathe fully into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath.
2. Mindful Meditation
It is a mental training practice that teaches how to slow down your racing thoughts, let go of negativity and calm your mind and body. According to WebMD, mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation.
The National Institute of Health states that exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
4. Enough Sleep
Sleep is closely connected to the physical, mental and emotional well-being of an individual. The Sleep Foundation says that sufficient sleep, especially REM sleep, facilitates the brain’s processing of emotional information. During sleep, the brain works to evaluate and remember thoughts and memories, and it appears that a lack of sleep is especially harmful to the consolidation of positive emotional content. This can influence mood and emotional reactivity and is tied to mental health disorders and their severity, including the risk of suicidal ideas or behaviours.
(Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.)