How many of you give more importance to your mental health compared to your physical health?
If I ask this question at this moment when you are reading this article, what will be your answer??
Even though I am not a future teller or a fortune teller but I can easily presume that your answer will be a negative one.
Because from my personal experience, I have seen that awareness of our mental well being is almost zero.
Mainly because of ignorance.
Superficially though it seems so but if we dig further, it can be seen that only ignorance is not the reason.
It’s because of our upbringing in society. It’s because of our culture.
Even, some days back. I had a discussion with one of my friends about his deteriorated health condition. He is a diabetic patient with high BP. Had a stroke recently. Every alternate day, he used to visit a doctor for some of this or that health issue.
I asked him, why not consult a mental professional or counselor?
What his answer you know?
Where’s the time. I have to do my this 9-5 jobs and then frequently visited doctor for my this health issue and I am burdened with so many medications?
I told him maybe he is having some hidden mental issues which may cause problems also.
He said, all these are bull sheet!
He told me, let him first cure with these prescribed medicines from the doctor, and then, he will visit a counselor or a psychologist!!
Later on, I came to know that this friend of mine had a worn-out relationship problem with his family and he had a bad past. If we dig further, you will come to know that his ailing physical health condition is somewhere related to his mental health that he is ignoring and as a result, his physical health is not improving and even going towards worst.
Because we not only ignore mental health conditions. We are not aware of it and most of us even don’t give heed that we have to take care of our mental health more than our physical health.
Because mental health is more important than physical health.
Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It can include the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.
Mental health and physical health are very closely connected. Mental health plays a major role in your ability to maintain good physical health. Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, affect your ability to participate in healthy behaviors. This can result in problems with physical health, such as chronic diseases, and can decrease a person’s ability to participate in treatment and recovery.
What is irony you know? For physical problems, most people go to the doctor and get a check-up. They have their blood pressure, temperature, and weight measured. They have blood drawn to check for issues with cholesterol, blood sugars, thyroid, iron levels, electrolytes, and other measures.
However, most people don’t go to a mental health professional for a mental health exam. Because mental health issues are not visible!!
In worst cases, people only seek out a mental health professional after a crisis has occurred.
But that may be too late like that stories of Frog in a Boiling pan.
There is a fascinating 19th-century science experiment. As the story goes, researchers put a frog in a pan of cold water. The frog was comfortable in cold water and playful. Then, this researcher rose the temperature of pan water a bit warmer. The frog found the warm water comfortable to swim inside.
Then, the researcher made the water a bit warmer. The frog still found it comfortable and so playful.
Then, what the researcher did? He increased the pan water temperature a bit more and by the time the water started boiling, the frog could not get time to jump out of the pan water and died.
While the results of the experiment are in question but it is a good metaphor to realize the criticality of mental health.
We must take action before it,s too late.
Why you know.
If you see the report of mental health patients in India. The figure is too disturbing.
India has the highest suicide rate in the South-East Asian region, according to the World Health Organization’s latest report. The report released a day before World Suicide Prevention Day pegged India’s suicide rate at 16.5 suicides per 100,000 people.
According to the study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) around 200 million people in India suffer from depression.
That means, one in five people! Can you imagine??
No wonder we are the most depressed country in the world, as per another WHO study. This is just the data of people who have spoken about it; it wouldn’t be surprising to know if these numbers are even more.
An estimated one in seven Indians suffered from mental disorders of varying severity in 2017 with depression and anxiety being the commonest, according to a study.
The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, showed that there was a significant association between the prevalence of depression and suicide death rate at the state level, with this association slightly stronger in men than in women.
You all know, recent breaking suicide news of Bollywood celebrity Sushant Singh Rajput!
As per the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate, suicide rates in the 194 Member States, India, and China account for 40 percent or more of the 800,000 annual suicide deaths globally.
It,s the right time. Pay attention to your mind!
Everything starts with our minds! Our thoughts.
You will easily find the chemical effects of the mind on the body and you will come to know that mental health is the driver of your physical health.
What drives us all the time you know.
You can not escape from your thoughts.
Two situations may arise as your thoughts are concerned.
First, Thoughts are the mental link to the environment that allows you to assess your situation, second by second, in order to make choices that allow you to survive and thrive.
If our thoughts are pleasant, our bodies will secrete chemicals such as oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine that create a sense of relaxation and well-being.
Secondly, when you feel stressed, which many times you cannot avoid, then, your thoughts will create a chemical environment consisting of adrenaline, cortisol, histamines, cytokines, and other hormones that create a sense of insecurity and dread.
Since you can’t escape or solve unpleasant thoughts rational or irrational—then your body will be exposed to higher levels of these chemicals than needed.
You can compare this like driving your car at 70 km per hour down the freeway in second or third gear—it will break down much sooner than if you were in fifth gear and cruising.
The mental problem will slowly emerge in your body!!
You cannot run from many of your stressors and certainly not your thoughts.
And because of this, many mental problems like worry, tension, and depression will slowly take control of your body and over time other physical ailments will be visible in your body.
From the following figure, you can figure out, how stress which is the result of uncontrolled thoughts causes our body of different ailments.
Now, realize why mental health is more important than physical health.
I hope, by the time, you read up to this point, you realized how important it is to pay close attention to our mental health first than your physical health.
Once a certain level of awareness is created within you, you will find ways to deal with mental health problems.
People when faced with these tough situations can relieve their mental stress by indulging in some social activities like teaching underprivileged children, feeding poor, joining an NGO.
Most important is, change your expectations to appreciation!!
Most worry, anxiety, the tension created in the mind, and eventually it affects the body is because of our too much expectations.
If we practice, gratitude meditation deliberately on a regular basis, one can find appreciation.
This is the best way to take care of unwanted negative thoughts which leads to Mental health problems.
By the time, if you are really concerned about your mental health, I am sure, you will take a vow to do this simple 7-minute mindfulness meditation. Being an NLP Master Practitioner, although we use so many techniques for the fast result to cure much mental health problems, the same is effective once demonstrated physically on the victim rather than described here. For which, you may consult me any time through my website!
For time being, let’s do this mindfulness meditation!
A basic method is to focus your attention on your own breathing—a practice simply called “mindful breathing.” After setting aside time to practice mindful breathing, you’ll find it easier to focus attention on your breath in your daily life—an important skill to help you deal with stress, anxiety, and negative emotions, cool yourself down when your temper flares, and sharpen your ability to concentrate.
The most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale, and exhale. You can do this while standing, but ideally, you’ll be sitting or even lying in a comfortable position.
Your eyes may be open or closed, but you may find it easier to maintain your focus if you close your eyes. It can help to set aside a designated time for this exercise, but it can also help to practice it when you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious. Experts believe a regular practice of mindful breathing can make it easier to do it in difficult situations.
Sometimes, especially when trying to calm yourself in a stressful moment, it might help to start by taking an exaggerated breath: a deep inhale through your nostrils (3 seconds), hold your breath (2 seconds), and a long exhale through your mouth (4 seconds). Otherwise, simply observe each breath without trying to adjust it; it may help to focus on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation through your nostrils. As you do so, you may find that your mind wanders, distracted by thoughts or bodily sensations. That’s okay. Just notice that this is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath.
Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Tongue on the roof of your mouth or wherever it’s comfortable.
Notice and relax your body. Try to notice the shape of your body, its weight. Let yourself relax and become curious about your body seated here—the sensations it experiences, the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.
Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath—in, out. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.
Be kind to your wandering mind. Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. It’s very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing.
Stay here for five to seven minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought, then return to your breath.
- We all know the present situation due to the Covid-19 Pandemic!
- If you practice this simple mindfulness exercise on a regular basis, you pay more respect to your mental health, which is the need of the hour to boost our immune system.
To get good results on a daily basis, I will highly recommend reading Dale Carnegie book “ How to stop worrying and start living”. One should make this book a part of daily life to deal with mental health!
Additional reading: How to stop worrying and start living, click here.