Managing Mental Health

It’s not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Often when physical health is not ensured, mental health seems to be mostly ignored. As mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being, it affects how we think, feel, act, and determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions. Dr. Jesmin Akhter, Consultant Psychiatrist at the Metropolitan Medical Centre Limited, shares with Colors the ways to maintain better mental health. Nazifa Tasnim summarizes the following points based on the conversation with her.

Mental health is important at every stage of life, especially from childhood and adolescence through adulthood but often it is disrupted by events that one has little to control over. This interference can affect daily activities. Dr. Jesmin suggests developing a personal plan in tackling such situations. “You need to identify the source, control stress, and simplify it!”

One needs to identify the source of pressure in his or her life and learn to recognize the way they react to that incident, says she, advising people to keep a diary or log where records of such instances can be kept and details of reaction in that situation. The log can help later to analyze reactions and understand if things could have been done differently. In such circumstances, the main source of stress needs to be tackled.

Stress seems to be inevitable these days but eradicating it is not the solution, according to the consultant. Studies have shown, if the stress level is too low, performance will be hampered due to lack of stimulation, but with too much stress, performance degrades because of anxiety. However, a moderate level of stress is needed for optimal performance, and to maintain this moderate level of stress, certain small things can come handy.

Learning how to manage stress and respond with a positive attitude to each challenge, can not only help you grow as a person but also move forward in life. In fact, without setbacks, you could not have learned what you needed to know and develop the qualities of your character to where they are today. Much of your ability to succeed comes from the way you deal with stress and react to the outside world. Try to develop a morning ritual that reinforces how great life is and how blessed you are to be alive. Exercise is another great way to maintain a positive attitude because of all the positive
chemicals it releases into the bloodstream. One small thing that we often ignore is the way we talk to ourselves on a regular basis. Little changes in your language can change the way you think or act. Dr. Jesmin said, “When it comes to reactions, selectively change the way you react and avoid extreme reactions. Try to develop a thick skin.”

You can control how you behave with someone but you cannot control what they think about you, Similarly, you can control how much time and effort you dedicate to preparing for a job interview, but you cannot control whether you will end up getting the job or not. By focusing on the things that you can control and not worrying about others, you set yourself free from a lot of stress.

Nurturing your body can help nurture your mind. These known things such as getting enough sleep, laughing more often, and making time for things that you enjoy can significantly improve your mental health.

Simple living is different for each person, but in general, a simplified life means getting rid of any extra mental and physical clutter, so that you can have more time for the things that actually matter to you. By simplifying your life, you can learn how to be happier, be more in control of your life, and waste less of your valuable time. All of this will allow you to enjoy life even more. Try to be organized at home, set realistic goals for yourself, and try to do things for others. Stand up for your own or others’ rights in a calm and positive way, without being either aggressive or passively accepting ‘wrong!

In the end, you don’t have to compromise your values or belief but try to understand others’ points of view and declutter unnecessary hassles from your life. Schedule time for your own, you owe it to yourself and seek professional help whenever necessary. ©

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