Food for thought: Mind over matter

A healthy state of mind can impact the kind of life we lead.
Last Updated 22 January 2019, 06:45 IST

We live in a world of quick fixes! From ordering food and paying bills to making a cup of cappuccino, everything is instant nowadays. People even want instant solutions to be happy or to have a healthy mind. While all good things take time, the good news here is that it’s never too late to work towards a healthy mental state.

Exercise ‘A healthy mind resides in a healthy body’. Research suggests that regular exercise helps in reducing depression and increasing the overall self-esteem of an individual. Moreover, when we exercise, we release endorphins, which in a layman’s language can be called happy hormones. Endorphins further trigger a positive feeling in the body. For instance, post a run or a heavy workout, people often feel like they are on ‘a high’ or ‘euphoric’. Thus, regular workout helps in regulating our moods as well as keeping us physically fit.

A walk in nature Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being. This becomes even more imperative considering our lifestyles today, wherein most of us spend time indoors. Hence, make sure to spend at least 30 minutes each day in the midst of nature.

Eat Healthy The food we eat has a direct link to our mood and the way we feel. For instance, sugar, some fats and caffeine have an immediate effect on our mood. While these foods help in alleviating our mood instantly, some foods are also essential for the long-term health of our mind. Our brain needs a mix of balanced nutrients to stay healthy.

Meditate: Meditation allows people to disconnect with the happenings in the world temporarily and teaches one to take charge of their own nervous system and emotions. Thus, regular meditation helps an individual gain control of themselves and thereby move towards a healthier mind and healthier thought patterns.

Vent out: Everyone gets a number of thoughts each day — some positive, some negative, some disturbing, some from the past, some from the present, and some as fears/anxieties about the future. All of these thoughts act like a cocktail inside our mind and have a tendency to make us feel emotionally and mentally drained out. And hence, a good idea to keep our mind light and fresh is to off load our thoughts by either sharing it with others, or by writing them on a piece of paper.

Writing or sharing it with others helps us declutter our thoughts and thereby keeps us mentally fit. It is also beneficial to share your thoughts with others. This helps in looking at perspectives other than ours, and seeking solutions to our problems.

Love generously Having good relationships with other people is one of the most important factors contributing to a sense of well-being. When we give love, we also open ourselves to receiving love. This can include family, friends, workmates and others in the community.

Pamper yourself Me time aids a healthy mind. Me time is the time we spend with ourselves doing things we enjoy. This may change each day depending on what we feel like doing. For instance, activities during me time may range from painting to star gazing or reading a book.

This is the time, when we are consciously taking care of ourselves. Further, it is also beneficial to pamper ourselves once in a while. For example, going for a spa, having an expensive meal, buying a nice dress or booking a session at the salon.

Bring out the child within you: Doing things we enjoy or used to enjoy as a child such as painting, dancing, cycling helps us keep the child within us alive and re-live those stress-free days.

Choose your happy people: People around us have a great impact on how we think and feel. Strong family ties and supportive friends can help one deal with most stress-related issues in life. They can make you feel cared for. They can offer different views on whatever is going on inside your mind.

Further, having a good laugh with people we like helps us feel happy and energetic and has an overall impact on our mental health.

Map your life Life is full of ups and downs, and we all have gone through and overcome a number of storms. Sometimes when we are feeling low, a good idea is to look back at our struggles and evaluate what helped us overcome those lows, and identify our strengths.

Re-visiting our journey of life tells us what we are capable of and also helps us in realising our infinite potential. And just as important it is to re-track our past, it is also beneficial to have a road map on how we would ideally want our life to be.

Having a clear idea about our goals helps us feel mentally healthy and fit since it shows us the path we would want to walk on.

Happiness is not a luxury but a necessity which we all must work towards, and with the slightest of efforts from our side we can all experience a state of mental well-being!

(The author is senior psychologist, IWill Therapy App By EpsyClinic)

(Published 22 January 2019, 06:39 IST)

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