Choose Peace – Facts On Mental Health

You ask a child about the happiest day of his life and its probably going to be today or yesterday when he pushed his classmate into the pool and laughed uncontrollably. One thing most visible here is that children tend to live in present, and that keeps them happy. Also a study states that we worry less as we grow older (beyond 60 years). So basically, the only time we drain ourselves worrying is our youth. Learn how simple insights from recent studies can make your youth much more happier even without any extra effort.


mental health peace facts

You ask a child about the happiest day of his life and its probably going to be today or yesterday when he pushed his classmate into the pool and laughed uncontrollably. One thing most visible here is that children tend to live in present, and that keeps them happy. Also a study states that we worry less as we grow older (beyond 60 years).

So basically, the only time we drain ourselves worrying is our youth.

Worry is an immensely powerful psychological mechanism. And it works both ways. In form of problem solving thoughts it bores positive results, and beyond safety barrier, it leads to severe mental illness.

One must have seen worry manifesting in two forms: Internal, as in depression and anxiety, and external, in form of drug abuse and anti-social behavior. However, there is also a third form observed, when stress becomes too much to take in, and the person creates an altogether different realm of parallel world where things are either absolutely perfect or profoundly grim. This form of psychosis with its salient symptoms is clubbed under the umbrella of schizophrenia. (Learn more about Schizophrenia here)

Point of shelling out medical terms here is not to terrify you, but to make you realize that you are not there yet. And hence, you can choose to make a conscious daily effort towards peace and great mental health, of yourself and your loved ones too.

1. Harness the power of Green

A recent study (probably more relevant for urban planners) says that, people who moved/lived in urban areas laced with green spaces reported sound mental health even three years after the move.

The study conducted by University of Exeter Medical School [1] and published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, concluded this after tracking 1,064 people over a five-year period.  The mental health quotient was calculated based on their responses to a General Health Questionnaire, which examined them for mental health disorders (such as depression and anxiety), as well as general moods and feelings.

This takes us to the age old myth of walking barefoot on green grass in morning. The myth now has a scientific back. In a twisted way of course!

Now, how can we incorporate green in our daily lives.

  • Exercise/jog in park or simply take a stroll with your pet or kids: This way you’d be giving your kids/yourself more time and that eventually will bring a long term calmness.
  • Paint your room green: Recall, why the green rooms are called that way: Because in early days, they actually used to be green and were painted so, to make the artists experience maximum relaxation in between acts. An alternative to this is installing a big green modern art in front of your desk.
  • Kitchen garden, or keeping plants at the space you work most: There can not be anything better than this. Fresh air and zen: A go-go all the way!

2. Friends are priceless, and price tag free too!

A recent study conducted by Medical Research Council seems to have given men a perfect excuse to sneak out to bar and share a pint [2]. The study aimed at exploring the Drinking ­Attitudes in Midlife, enquired men who drank in groups in the pub, about their drinking habits.

The conclusions, though quite surprising are totally comprehensible. Men, who are generally stereotyped as strong and silent, and after a few drinks open up to their emotions. They then express themselves in ways which are a far cry from what is termed as masculine. And hence, the mental peace from letting out stagnant emotions.

Our takeaway from the study is, meeting up with friends and chilling out can be the anti-depressant pill you have been searching.

  • Meet up for drinks or dinner or book a secret spa session with your buddies
  • Women might enjoy shopping together, or getting a mani-pedi could just be your ticket. If your friends are out of town, just call them and bitch about what’s bothering you.
  • Keep pets and talk to them: When you have moved into a new city, making friends can be difficult and not all colleagues entertain your idea of fun. In those times, get a pet and spend some time talking to it.

3. Exercise – physically, mentally, emotionally

Worry is nothing but anxiety of the outcome. People building mental images of all sorts of things that could go wrong in a particular situation. According to psychologists, they actually have a problem dealing with the distracting thoughts as they find it difficult to distinguish between a problem-solving thought and a nagging worry that has no benefit. Good news is, such unproductive worries can be tamed if you train your mind some ‘mindfulness.’

Mindfulness is nothing but ‘awareness of present.’ This mindfulness, as I said, can be programmed in your brain through practice, or regular exercise.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have listed 47 trials out of nearly 19,000 meditation studies that addressed anxiety issues and have come to conclude that mindfulness meditation can help [3] ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.

  • Engage in physical exercise: Physical exercise has been known to release endorphin or the feel good hormones and they also tire your muscles, so you sleep better. So, register with a gym, take online yoga lesson or just jog with your dog.
  • Mental exercise: Distraction is the underlying principle here. Interrupt your habitual thinking style and react to life’s problems in different ways. Promise yourself to meditate on good thoughts when you are stressed or just take out the lego and play.
  • Expressive writing as part of emotional exercise: Take a pen and paper, and describe your worries in detail, as much as possible. Write what you are going through.

This is actually to resist one’s temptation to over-analyze a situation. It forms a part of Cognitive behavioral theory, which has been found to be beneficial not just in cases of generalized anxiety disorder but has proven its efficacy in severe paranoia too.

Now, how does CBT tackle worry?

People have this belief that worrying or continuously anticipating the outcome is actually helping them. CBT helps them re-evaluate any such beliefs. Moreover, CBT teaches to confine worrying to a regular set period of 15 minutes or so each day. When worrying thoughts arise at other times, the trick is to save them for later and let them go.

Once again,remind yourself: I’m not there yet. And therefore, I hold the power to help myself.

Practice these three simple techniques and in every condition, choose PEACE.

References

[1] Ian Alcock, Mathew P. White, Benedict W. Wheeler, Lora E. Fleming, and Michael H. Depledge. Longitudinal Effects on Mental Health of Moving to Greener and Less Green Urban Areas. European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School. Environ. Sci. Technol.DOI: 10.1021/es403688w

[2] Emslie, Carol; Hunt, Kate; Lyons, Antonia. The role of alcohol in forging and maintaining friendships amongst Scottish men in midlife. Health Psychology, Vol 32(1), Jan 2013, 33-41. doi: 10.1037/a0029874

[3] Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga ES, et al. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2014. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018.

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