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There is no dearth of people who promote a healthy way of living through
regular exercise and good eating habits. But there’s something most of them
end up missing while talking about this healthy lifestyle and that is the
importance of mental health.
As the world battles the covid-19 pandemic, there are a lot of people who are
facing mental health problems that may have been caused due to the chaos
around or have simply been triggered by it. Now, there’s a lot of talk around
staying healthy mentally but how do we know that our constant effort towards
strengthening our mind and emotions is being fruitful.
Well, Sneha George, consultant psychologist at Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai,
mentions the following signs that indicate that your efforts might be working
and that your mental health is in a good shape:
1. You understand that the fluctuations in your mental health are natural
A good mental health does not mean that you’ll always feel pleasant, or that
sadness or mental health issues such as anxiety and depression won’t surface.
It simply means that you, over the course of time, become resilient and know
that these negative emotions are just waves that will pass to make way for
It is also characterized by the awareness that negative emotions are a part and
parcel of life. In the end, it’s really about overcoming them instead of letting
them become a pattern. Not to mention, it also involves not resisting help from loved ones or a professional counsellor if need be because we all need
people we love to get us through the tough times.
2. You feel good
If you have good mental health, you tend to feel good and satisfied overall.
You will experience the emotions of happiness, love, joy, and compassion
while preferring to avoid being sucked into negative emotions or patterns.
“You feel good about yourself; you choose to see different perspectives in a
situation; you don’t always blame yourself; and you know when to take
responsibility for your actions,” mentions George.
3. There’s a sense of belonging
According to George, you are also likely to feel like you belong to a community
and are contributing to society when your mental health is in good shape. You
might have a sense of spiritual well-being, such as feeling connected to a
higher power, a sense of meaning or purpose, or feelings of peace or
4. You cope up with your circumstances well
We all face challenges in life. But George says that people who have good
mental health are more likely to be able to cope with the ups and downs as
well as the normal stresses of life while managing to work productively, realize
their potential and contribute to the community.
5. You do say ‘no’ to people
Mentally strong people know when to say ‘no’. If you’re mentally strong, you
know where your emotional responsibility ends and another person’s begins,
and vice versa.
You feel comfortable standing up for yourself and have learnt that saying ‘no’
to boundary violations, aggression, and unjust behaviour benefits you in the
end. You don’t feel shame or guilt about expressing your emotions and
conveying your displeasure, and instead, feel liberated and free while doing so.
6. You have healthy relationships
If your mental health is in good shape, you’re more likely to treat others fairly
which means you love and respect those who are worthy of it and don’t waste
your resources (time, money, energy) on toxic people or tolerate their
If you come across something that seems toxic or unhealthy, you make a
decision about it instead of reacting emotionally or passively accepting it. You
reevaluate your relationships with others on a regular basis and come to
conclusions that will help maintain your boundaries as well as mental peace.
7. You don’t try to please everyone
The truth is that no matter who you are and what you do, there will be people
who dislike you. You do not like everybody, so it is only natural that not
everybody will like you.
Mentally strong people do not aggress against or mistreat others but also
accept that social rejection is unavoidable and understand that it is alright.
8. You’ve got a healthy self-focus
“Instead of concentrating on what you can’t control or having unrealistic or
disturbing goals, you simply live life as healthfully and as consciously as
possible if your mental health is in good shape. You have your circle of people
who truly care about you and whom you love deeply. You actively create a
better life for yourself without aggressing against others and constantly work
on improving yourself and your immediate environment,” says George.
But, what can you do to boost your mental health?
George recommends some activities and intentions to include in your routines
for better mental health.
1. Talk about your feelings: Expressing your feelings can help you stay healthy
mentally and deal with difficult times better. It is not a sign of weakness but it
is a part of taking charge of your well being and doing what you can to stay
healthy. Talking can be a great way to cope with a problem you have been
carrying around in your head for a while. Just being heard can help you feel
supported and less lonely. It works both ways. If you open up, it might
encourage others to do the same.
2. Stay active: Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you
concentrate, sleep and feel better. Exercising doesn’t just mean practicing a
sport or going to the gym. Walks in the park, gardening or housework can also
help keep you active. Try to include an enjoyable physical activity to your day.
3. Handle one task at a time: While multitasking has become a very common
and the accepted method of working, juggling with so many things at once can
cause a serious blow to our mental health. Multitasking has been linked to
increased levels of stress and anxiety, which can lead to a mental health issue.
Instead of multitasking, prioritize your tasks and get to them one at a time. You
will find that you can focus better on each task, and your mood will improve as
4. Maintain a journal: You probably kept a journal or diary during your
teenage years, but it is a habit that’s worth picking up again as an adult.
Writing down how you are feeling has been proven to benefit your mental
health and help you keep a track of your moods. It allows you to take account
of your worries and fears. It also helps you to identify possible triggers and
patterns of behaviour. Try to get into the habit of writing once a day, even if
it’s just a bullet point list.
5. Indulge in more activities that bring you joy: Doing an activity you enjoy
probably means you are good at it and achieving something can boost your
self-esteem. Concentrating on a hobby like gardening or the crossword can
help you forget your worries for a while and change your mood. It can be good
to have an interest where you are not seen as someone’s mum or dad,
partner, or employee. You’re just you!
6. Take enough breaks: A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your
mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a
half-an-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring a new place. A few
minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’. Taking
a break may mean being very active or may mean not doing very much at all. It
could also just be putting your feet up, taking a deep breath, and relaxing.
Listen to your body. If you’re tired, give yourself time to sleep. Sometimes the
world can wait.
If you’re making an effort towards your mental health, it will surely show