"Life is what you make of it. You can make it easy on yourself or you can make it hard" - Deep Roy
Nowadays we live at a much faster pace than our grandmothers and grandfathers did. We are exposed to so much information that it can become difficult to filter everything. In a world where information refreshes endlessly, business has become the new normal.
The pace of change in the world is accelerating and our life seems to pass us by before we can really enjoy it. The pressure to pack your life full of activities and maximise your efficiency can be stressful. Many people are so occupied that they feel guilty when they do take time to do nothing, spend time with friends and family, watch a movie or go for a walk. The trouble is, that sometimes we spend so much time and energy trying to keep up with things that we cannot even enjoy them. Many of us are so busy that we forget about the power of presence.
It’s an irony of our modern lives that while technology is continually invented that saves us time and increases our quality of life, we actually end up doing more things, and getting more overwhelmed than ever before. In a rapidly changing world, where we constantly have to learn and adapt, it’s easy to get swept up in the feeling of needing to do more, just to keep up.
Technology has helped to remake our world in ways that are liberating and convenient. It has made it easier to grow and produce food, build cities, trade, travel and communicate. Medical advances allowed us to increase life expectancy and improve lifestyle for millions of people. Technology changed every facet of human life making things easier, more effective and quicker. However, while technology was intended to make our life simpler, do we actually live and feel better as human beings?
Why is mental health important?
Mental health is essential for leading a happy life. It impacts every area of our lives including our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental health and physical health are fundamentally linked. Mental health issues significantly increase the risk of physical diseases, and vice versa. It affects how we feel, think and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. 1
Nurturing mental health doesn’t just improve our daily functioning but it can also help us control how we react and adapt to the rapidly changing environment, and this is why it is so important like never before. Good mental health is about balanced thinking, positive attitude to yourself and others, ability to maintain good relationships with people and the resilience to cope with change and uncertainty.
What are early warning signs?
When it comes to mental health, it can be hard to tell the difference between what expected behaviours are and what might be the signs of mental illness. Symptoms can vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Some early signs of poor mental health might be:
● feeling sad or down
● extreme mood changes
● having low or no energy
● poor concentration
● worrying more
● changes in eating or sleeping habits
● not being able to perform daily tasks
● a change in your eating or sleeping habits
● withdrawing from activities you enjoy
● social withdrawal
● smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
How to improve mental health?
● Meditation - Simple mindfulness practice can help you focus your attention, and learn how to stay present and resting in awareness. From meditation to breathing exercises, mindfulness practices can be really impactful.
● Stay active - Regular physical activity can help you cope with stress, improve your overall mental health, and help you sleep better. Physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, which can reduce levels of stress hormones and improve your mood.
● Healthy diet - Eating a healthy and well balanced diet will help you manage your stress and anxiety levels, improve your mood and promote cognitive function. A healthy diet should include plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. It is also recommended to reduce consumption of sugars, saturated fats and alcohol.
● Slow down - If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, learning how to slow down may be just what you need. Slowing down to enjoy simple things in life can be really rewarding. Try to turn off your devices, practice daydreaming, reconnect with nature and people, do things that you really enjoy and make you happy.
● Connect with other people - Humans are social creatures, and it is important to socialize with other people and build strong relationships with others. It is crucial to have social support and someone who you trust to discuss your circumstances. It is also a great way to learn something new and get a different perspective on things from others.
● Get restful sleep - Getting restful sleep consistently, every night, and getting to bed at a reasonable hour is a smart strategy towards living a healthy and happy life. Sleep is crucial for our overall health and lack of sleep may cause health problems such as depression, anxiety, low energy and physical health.
Where should I start to improve my mental health?
Information overload and a fast paced environment consumes a lot of our energy and may sometimes divert our attention from what is really important. Some people may get so busy with their life, rushing from completing one task to another, that they often forget to evaluate how they feel and how their mental health is.
Everyone needs help from time to time and there's nothing to be ashamed of. If you observe symptoms of mental health issues, you should seek help from a medical health or mental health professional.
You can also find help through your family and friends, support groups, online services, community clinics and mindfulness practices.
Stay present, focus on what is really important and take care of your health.
1. Strengthening Mental Health Promotion. Fact sheet no. 220. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization.