How are you currently feeling about your mental health?
We all struggle or have struggled with our mental health at some point. We probably also know someone who currently struggles with their mental health. The reason I’m writing about mental health is for awareness. We often don’t realize how delicate our states of mind are.
We prioritize our diets and fitness regimes for our physical goals, without realizing how interconnected they are to our mental health. So I want to dive into how mental health is just as important as physical health. By discussing ways to accept our thoughts, overcoming the stigma of seeking help (therapy), forming a routine to stay mentally fit, an Islamic perspective and as always: gratitude.
A very difficult aspect to deal with when it comes to mental health is acceptance. Accepting the fact that there’s something wrong. We often don’t realize it, but our idea of ‘normal’ is purely based off our experiences and exposure to the world.
When it comes to mental habits & thought patterns, we have absolutely no idea what ‘normal’ could mean. That’s where it gets a little tricky. Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or depressed all the time may start feeling normal. We think it’s just who we are.
But there’s a limit to that. We need to become more aware of these unhealthy thought patterns and learn to accept them. That’s the first step towards making progress; clearly identifying the problem. With acceptance, we can find solutions and ultimately move forward.
Better awareness -> Better choices -> Better results
We need to be more compassionate towards other people too. Accepting ourselves for who we are comes first, but accepting other people for who they are is just as important. There’s always been this huge stigma with regards to seeking help for mental health.
Let’s try and break that barrier down and make it easier for people to seek the necessary help they need. To live healthier and more functional lives.
Would it make sense to judge someone for visiting the doctor because they broke a leg? Or someone who has had a heart attack? Or any other ‘physical illness’?
Why then do we make it difficult for people who have anxiety disorders, panic attacks or are feeling clinically depressed?
These aren’t issues that people can just ‘get over’ or ‘pray’ away. They’re deeply neurological and affect the body’s entire chemistry. It’s imperative that we start learning more about these issues and their causes. To help those we can to the best of our ability.
Support & seeking help
This is the reason I chose this topic. To encourage support among each other. Recovery and growth occur so much faster with a solid support structure.
Pay more attention to your friends and family members. Ask them how they’re doing more regularly. Watch out for red flags or consistent negative thought patterns.
Be nonjudgemental! We’re stronger together. I was absolutely inspired when I spent some time in nature the other day. I saw a school of fish moving together at a reservoir, and the synchronization was impeccable. They were truly stronger and more resilient together.
So I felt the need to share that because we’re part of nature too. It’s in our advantage to work together and help each other become better versions of ourselves. How exactly can we help though?
By encouraging people to seek help.
Here’s another aspect of mental health that we need to work on. Removing the stigma associated with seeing a therapist. Apart from seeing a therapist because of a mental illness, seeing a therapist would be beneficial to almost anyone.
Like going to the gym to take care of our body, we need to take find ways to take care of our minds. And exactly like we use personal trainers to find what works for our physical goals, we can use therapists to help us reach our mental goals.
I know a lot of you are probably thinking: I speak to my friends / family members about my issues, I don’t need therapy. But it’s much deeper than that. It’s about unraveling the issues that you didn’t even realize were issues. Professional help will almost always be a better option.
It allows for a deeper understanding of patterns in your life that you’ve been subconsciously ignoring. And most importantly, figuring out what messed you up when you were much younger.
Apart from seeking help, there are certain habits that we can instill to ensure we’re on the right track towards a healthy mental state.
What are the key habits that promote a healthy state of mind?
- Solving puzzles
- Meditating / Praying
The first and most obvious one is reading! The second would be solving puzzles, playing chess, or doing any activity that requires critical thinking. Meditating definitely helps here as well as exercise. But an underrated aspect to mental health that we often don’t realize, is our diet.
The food we ingest has a direct effect on our mental health. It makes sense if you think about it. We’re just a bunch of cells that need constant servicing. So the way we choose to service our bodies has an impact on our day to day activities.
Keep the food you eat as natural as possible. I’m not using the word ‘healthy’ here because that’s just vague. But eating food that comes directly or as close to nature as possible, will yield the best results.
We’re all part of nature at the end of the day. It’s important to understand that these are just habits that can be used to keep your brain ‘healthy’. They’re not solutions to any illness.
Prevention is better than cure; especially as you grow older.
The most important part of the entire process is consistency. We need to take care of ourselves Every. Single. Day. We need to stay mentally fit for us to contribute as best as we can and to serve those around us diligently.
First and foremost, put your trust in God. Have faith that you will recover and get through this. It’s all part of the journey. Seek help with the conviction that everything happens for a reason.
“What’s meant for you will never miss you. What misses you was never meant for you.”
“There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment.”
We’re here temporarily. Don’t ever forget that. Spend time in nature if you need a reminder of that. The only constant is change. Nothing is meant to remain the same. Let’s see how incorporating gratitude can also assist this process.
Increasing gratitude increases your presence. The more grateful you are for what you have, the better you deal with setbacks. It’s one of the most important values to have (in my opinion), as it allows for grit and perseverance.
You get to choose your reaction, not the circumstances you’re in. Being thankful is like armour for your soul. Regardless of the trials and tribulations, there’s always something you can be grateful for. Keep that in mind and you’ll find yourself making exponential progress.
I just want this to serve as a reminder to all of us, that mental health is an everyday struggle that we need to take care of. I also want to emphasize how important it is to be supportive to your peers and family members who are battling with mental illnesses.
It’s not just a choice or change in attitude. Having a positive attitude certainly helps, but it’s not a cure. Theses are issues which require constant treatment and medication. So it’s time we start treating them more seriously and compassionately.