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Don’t let your mental health suffer. Here are 5 ways you can safeguard your mental well-being

Published on:24 December 2019, 18:28pm IST
Do you know that one in seven Indians suffer from mental disorder? Include these five ways right away before mental disorder pins you down.
Team Health Shots
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Being mindful is the way to go. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

One in seven Indians is affected by a mental disorder, says a study published in The Lancet.

According to the study, conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research,  in 2017, 197.3 million people had mental disorders in India, including 45.7 million with depressive disorders and 44.9 million with anxiety disorders.

The study authors concluded the percentage of mental disorders in 2017 had doubled since 1990. The report also added that mental health is recognised as one of the priority areas in health policies around the world and has also been included in the sustainable development goals.

With incidents of depression, loneliness and anxiety at an all-time high in India, caring for one’s mental health has become as important as taking care of one’s physical well-being. However, trying to metamorphose one’s troubled mental health into a happier state can often leave people feeling burdened. The key, perhaps, is to start small.

A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology shows that setting objectively important goals is associated with more pathways for new challenges. Achieving goals reinforce hope and allow people to continue building new habits.

Be it getting more sleep, writing a diary or spending time with friends, and even taking a break from your smartphone–small things can go a long way in bettering a person’s emotional wellbeing.

Here are five ways to take care of your mental health: 

1. Go to bed an hour earlier
Less sleep can take a toll on a person’s mental health. According to a study published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, sleep deprivation triggers bi-direction changes in brain activity and connectivity, which in turn worsens memories and interfere with a person’s ability to regulate negative emotions.

Sleep like a baby and keep your mental health in check.

2. Mindful meditation
A study, conducted by the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital, shows that mindfulness may have beneficial effect on anxiety symptoms and may also improve stress reactivity and coping. Beginning a meditation practice allows the strengthening of the mind and body which can reduce stress and may even heal trauma.

3. Write it out
Psychologists claim that journaling often helps clear the mind and can be cathartic. According to an article in the University of Rochester Medical Centre, keeping a journal is a great way of keeping control over one’s emotions and improves mental health. Journaling helps manage anxiety, reduce stress and cope with depression, psychologists say.

4. Taking a walk
Taking a walk not only helps keep the body healthy and fit, but a study published in the journal PMC also found that 30 minutes of walk a day improves sleep, acts as a stress reliever, increases mental alertness, and improves mood. Exercise, in general, improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.

Walking can beat anxiety blues. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Also, read: Anxiety got you down? We got 10 mental health experts to suggest how you can tame that beast

5. Limit screen time
Taking a break from technology can reset the brain and increase well-being. A study, published in the Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology says that limiting social media decreases loneliness and depression.

The study, conducted on 143 undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania were asked to either limit Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat use to 10 minutes, per platform, per day, or to use social media as usual for three weeks. The results of the study found that limited use showed a significant reduction in depression and loneliness.

Also read: How NOT to let Instagram, Twitter, and co take over your life: A short guide

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