World Mental Health Awareness Day

06 Oct 2021 Deepika

There are so many things to worry about in life: Being a good friend or partner, making time for family, having a meaningful job, raising your children well, making enough money to live comfortably… the list goes on and on. And, of course, all these concerns and fears impact our mental health, which impacts our physical health, which just gives us more things to worry about! 

So, how do we manage our daily affairs and keep our brain and body healthy? Is this even possible? Good news: it really is possible! when we learn to manage our mind, we can handle whatever life throws our way, the good, the bad and the ugly, and maintain our mental and physical wellbeing. 

Here are some simple and practical mental self-care techniques that you can use every day, which will help you reduce your anxiety levels and help you enjoy life to the fullest: 

1. Stop stressing about not getting enough sleep!

We have all been there at least once in our lives: We really need to sleep, and we are exhausted, but we just cannot seem to fall asleep. The more we worry about sleeping, the worse it gets, and we end up almost panicking about not getting enough sleep. When it comes to sleep, remember to avoid panicking when you can’t fall sleep. This fear will cause more damage in the brain than no sleep at all and can impact your mental and physical health. If you are battling to sleep, take the time to look at where you are in life: how busy you are, what you are eating, and so on, seeing if you can improve your sleeping habits by taking more time to rest, for example, or improving your diet. Most importantly, take the time to examine your thought life; a chaotic mind will affect your quality of sleep and how much you sleep. Remember, if you constantly think about how bad you will feel the next day, your body will go into toxic stress, and you really will feel bad, which can affect your heart health! So just relax, tell yourself you will eventually sleep, do something constructive, and plan to catch up on your sleep over the next few days.


2. Reconceptualise those thoughts!

Reconceptualisation is seeing things from a different angle, or redesigning a thought. You do this using your choices: you choose to see a situation or experience differently, and give yourself a new way of understanding it. If you don’t reconceptualise something that is holding you back, you will stay “stuck” in a toxic situation. But, as you start looking at this situation or experience differently, all the chemicals, hormones etc. start flowing differently, and actually change the physical structure of that thought.  


3. Practice self-regulation!

Self-regulation using what I call our Multiple Perspective Advantage (MPA) is the deliberate and intentional process of standing outside yourself and observing your thoughts, words, and actions, and changing them. The ability to do this is unique to humans and can help us regulate our thinking and behaviour every 10 seconds, although the busier life is the harder it gets to do this! One of the best ways to practice self-regulation is to start a thought journal/log. Write down your thoughts, reactions, triggers—capture your thoughts and reactions, which, over time will allow you to observe patterns in your thinking. This will help you start learning to stand back and analyse how you react and work out better ways of dealing with challenging situations. This is self-regulation in action!



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