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Prioritizing Your Mental Health - Facts & Ideas

October 21 2018

It’s time to start focusing on the other half of your health

The one thing that affects your thoughts, moods and behaviour on a daily basis is your mental health. It also influences your decision-making ability, how you respond to stress and your interactions with other people. Mental health has been an under-looked aspect of our overall health and well-being for the longest time, and you need to start prioritizing your mental health right this minute.

According to a prediction by the World Health Organization (WHO), 20% of India’s population will suffer from mental health issues by the year 2020. As of 2017, 13.7% of the population was already projected to be suffering from a host of mental illnesses, 10.6% of them requiring immediate intervention.

Not only is our country short on trained mental health professionals, even the ones available are not being reached out to because of stigma and lack of awareness. As of now, most health insurance plans also don’t cover mental health care.

There’s a dire need to be intentional with prioritizing your mental health. Here are some facts and ideas to help you with this.

Monitor What You Tell Yourself

Everyone talks to themselves daily without even realizing - when your “inner voice” stops you from applying to that dream job because you think you’re not skilled enough or when you don’t wear a dress you want to because you think you’re “too fat”.

This inner voice needs to be monitored and altered. You need to pay attention to what you’re feeding yourself daily. You need to acknowledge your accomplishments and give yourself a break.

Minimize Distractions

It's not uncommon to lose out on hours of our time daily by mindlessly scrolling through social media or having the television on as background noise. While such distractions may seem like an easy escape in the moment, they tend to make us feel worse in the long-run.

A great way to start prioritizing your mental health is by making a quick list of ways to spend time without social media. This list could include simple things like going out for a walk, making yourself a cup of chai or calling someone you care about.

Minimizing distractions will not only help you be more productive, and utilize your time to do things you actually like, but will also help you be more mindful of your feelings and thoughts.

Write Daily

Numerous studies have proven the positive effects of writing daily. You can maintain a gratitude journal where you write 3 to 5 things you’re grateful for every day.

You can also maintain a journal where you write down whatever has been worrying you. Doing this at night when you can’t sleep or the first thing in the morning works to clear your mind and is a mindful step towards prioritizing your mental health.

A majority of people also benefit from creating lists. The good old to-do list helps in reducing anxiety and in feeling like you’ve got your life under control. “Done” lists on the other hand work better for some people, where they write down the things they have already done so as to feel accomplished. Figure out which works better for you.

Indulge in Exercise That Makes You Happy

It’s a known fact that exercising releases endorphins, the happy hormones, which reduce stress. However, going to the gym or doing yoga isn’t for everyone. Finding a physical activity that you genuinely enjoy is important so that you can happily indulge in it regularly.

Zumba, swimming, cycling, kickboxing, roller skating are some fun alternatives to the gym that won’t just help you in prioritizing your mental health, but also your physical health. If you love listening to audio-books, podcasts or music, just put on your earphones and head out for a walk because even brisk walking also works.

Learn to Say No

Saying yes when you don’t want to can often land you in uncomfortable situations and make you feel uneasy. Learning to say no is hard but it’s also a crucial part of self-care. You are not obligated to say yes for social events you’d rather sit out.

Talk to Others

Lean on your support system - friends and family - and if necessary, talk to a psychologist. It’s unhealthy to keep it all to yourself and it really doesn’t help. Talking about mental health to those you care about not only supports you in prioritizing your mental health, but also helps your loved ones do the same.

Even if you’re doing alright, start conversations about mental health. Our society at large will do good with bidding goodbye to the stigma attached to mental illness. The IRDAI has directed all insurance companies to cover mental illness under their health insurance policies. Starting conversations about mental health is essential for such much-needed changes.

Related Article:

6 Scientifically Backed Stress Management Tips to Bid Adieu to Stress
Benefits of Getting A Good Sleep

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