This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental health is a universal human right,’ emphasising the need to raise awareness and take concrete actions to promote mental health worldwide.
Good mental health is not just a luxury — it’s an essential aspect of our overall well-being. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in eight individuals globally lives with mental health conditions, and worryingly, these conditions are on the rise among adolescents and younger people.
In our quest to better understand how we can safeguard our mental health, we turned to experts in the field. Four experts from the field offer us invaluable insights into 10 simple steps we can take to maintain our mental well-being.
Just as you diligently care for your physical health, it’s crucial to prioritise self-care for your mental well-being. Dedicate time to activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
Regular exercise is a powerful mood booster as it releases endorphins. Even a short walk or a quick workout can have a significant impact. Connecting with nature through walks in the park or engaging in dance can also enhance mind-body coordination and physical balance.
The food you consume directly affects your mental health. Opt for a balanced diet rich in nutrients, and ensure you stay hydrated to nourish your brain. Steer clear of smoking, alcohol, and drugs.
Get enough sleep
Quality sleep is fundamental for mental health. Establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine.
Limit screen time
Excessive screen time, especially on social media, can contribute to stress and anxiety. Set boundaries and take digital detox breaks to disconnect from the virtual world.
Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises can help you stay grounded and reduce stress, allowing you to navigate life’s challenges with greater ease.
Meaningful relationships with friends and family provide essential social support, which is vital for emotional well-being. Share your experiences openly and don’t hesitate to express what troubles you.
Set realistic goals
Break down your objectives into manageable tasks. Celebrate small victories and avoid overwhelming yourself with unrealistic expectations.
Take professional help
Identify the stressors in your life and develop effective coping strategies. This may involve time management, problem-solving, relaxation techniques, and practices like gratitude, positive affirmations, forgiveness, or listening to soothing music.
(Dr Sameer Malhotra, director and head of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, Dr Kamna Chhibber, mental health head at the Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, Dr Shyam Bhat, psychiatrist & chairperson, LiveLoveLaugh (Foundation) and Dr Jyoti Kapoor, founder-director and senior psychiatrist at Manasthali, provided their insights for this article.)