There are several movements on mental health and its awareness happening all around the world. And yet, the stigma attached to it still stands its ground wherever we go. It is difficult to find any environment that would have perfectly well-adjusted individuals going about their lives like in the movies. Dysfunctionality is a lifestyle. And sometimes, it crosses the tolerance threshold, which is where the troubles begin – anxiety, depression and other mental conditions begin to take over with no accessible help around.
This is where the concept of mental hygiene comes in. It is a branch of psychiatry dealing with the practice of maintaining and restoring mental health, and also preventing mental health disorders through education, early treatment, and public health measures.
Mental hygiene however, can also be viewed as something subjective, personal. Physical hygiene holds a great importance in our society. It is emphasised greatly at home and school by teachers and is included in the curriculum. However, there has been no such development on the mental front. But now, it is mental hygiene what matters, and asks us why it has been left out for so long.
Mind controls the body and therefore mental hygiene matter equally. It can be one of the habits that can be inculcated and developed right from childhood. Looking after our psychological well-being inevitably transforms into a functional and healthy living – both physical and mental. So perhaps a ‘checkup’ on our thoughts can work miracles in maintaining mental hygiene. Our perception, experiences, feelings, and the ability to think and act are all processed by our mind. And once we gain control or mindfulness over it, things becomes easier to navigate through.
Here are few ways you can work on maintaining mental hygiene.
Avoid over analyzing
Regrets, self worth, self esteem, societal perception about everything we do are only a few things that fuel overanalysis. It is this helpless feeling of being stuck inside our own heads. over analyzing gets our minds paralysed, therefore unable to make spontaneous decisions. Train your mind to focus on the present, since the present moment is all you have!
Stop thought repetition.
Repetitive thoughts thwarts completion of tasks or take decisions. The vicious cycle of fear, doubts and negative thoughts causes more anxiety. It can be tough but it is necessary to reain our minds out of repetitive thinking. Notice the pattern of thinking by making mental notes of thoughts or keep a journal.
Fear of change is real. It scares each one of us because it pushes us out of that cozy little comfort zone we have made for ourselves. But change is the most natural phenomenon. The world would ever grow if things never change. Embrace change and convert it into an opportunity for growth, and you will begin to see things from a different perspective.
Talk it out. From a young age, children should be taught that talking about feelings is okay. Crying is okay. Expressing emotions is okay and guide them to do so in a healthy manner. Asking for help of any kind does not make you weak or vulnerable. It only means you are self-aware to know that you require help. Ask, and you shall recieve the help.
Thanking the universe for what you have is a way to open our heart. Our ego takes a backseat whenever we express gratitude, brings our focus into the present. According to a research, gratitude keeps us happy and helps us to cope with stress, and reach goals more efficiently.