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Mental Health Awareness month: How to de-stress your mind and body

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By Khyati Mahajan

“Hey brain, what do you want? Will you let me live peacefully, please!” Have we heard this anywhere? Maybe from those around us or we may even have uttered it to our own selves.

Our mind keeps weaving a web of thoughts, sometimes optimistic, sometimes pessimistic. But, it’s not that big a deal until our thoughts begin to hinder our daily functioning. This is where the role of mental health becomes crucial.

In India, discussing mental health issues is still considered taboo. And the Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated this further. News of people suffering, the rising number of cases and everything around was bound to create unhealthy thoughts and feelings in us. Adding to it, people continuously spent time scrolling through news on the internet. Interestingly, most of the time we spend on social media determines how the content will affect us. Romanticising the lives of others and debasing our own life is by far the most ill-effect of social media.

May is the mental health awareness month. And I feel that there is no better opportunity to take an initiative to contribute towards the well-being of others. The first step is to change daily habits. Poor dietary behaviours especially during periods of stress or anxiety can increase our stress levels. So, fruits, vegetables and foods rich in Omega-3, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals act as a boosters for both mental and physical health. On the other hand, addictive foods including caffeine, sweets and fried food should be kept away.

The second change could be to spend more time with ourselves through practices of meditation and exercise. Meditation has its benefits such as improved focus and concentration, better self-awareness and self-esteem, lower stress levels and contentment etc. Exercise is a proven way to eliminate negative energy and bring in positive vibes. It helps in keeping the muscles and body organs relaxed and promotes better sleep. My third tip would be to engage in gratitude journaling. This always helps if one is going through stress.

Finally, it is important to reach out to a professional in case things don’t help. Recognising the need for it is a step closer to saving our health. Let us together start a new journey towards self-awareness and help ourselves as well as others in living a stress-free life.

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