Dr Ruchi Gupta
There is substantial medical and scientific evidence today that our body and mind function at their best when we are in a pleasant state. When you are in a pleasant inner state, you are naturally pleasant to everyone and everything around you.
So, mental well-being describes your mental state- how pleasant you are feeling and how well you can cope up with your day to day life. “Being mentally stable” means you are more Aware, your thoughts and emotions are in your control, you understand that setbacks are part of life and you have strong problem solving skill.
But many people say panic or anxiety is natural in challenging situation. They must understand that when things are not going the way you want them to go, that is when your capability is most needed. But if you are in a state of panic, you will be paralysed. Infact, a human being who is joyful, sensible and responsible can deal with difficult situations much better than one who is fearful or anxious.
So, how to remain mentally stable in Challenging Situations?
The root cause of growing mental illnesses today is our compulsive behaviour . Most people live life unconsciously, having no control on their thoughts. Everything they do is unconscious. They walk, talk and act unconsciously. They speak without thinking and act without reflecting. But if you want to change your life for the better – start acting consciously, not compulsively. Eat consciously, dress consciously, talk consciously, walk consciously. Multiple studies show that the practice of staying in the present moment and experiencing thoughts, feelings and emotions without judgement can make us more resilient to stress, more compassionate towards others and increase our ability to focus.
Paying attention to the experiences occurring in the present moment without judgement is called as Mindfulness. Meditation and Mindfulness go hand in hand. The more you meditate, the easier mindfulness becomes. The more mindful you are, the easier meditation becomes.
Habits that promote Mindfulness and Mental Well-Being
Expose yourself to nature
Today, people in cities spend most of their time indoors, detached from the natural world and natural sunlight. Research shows that being in nature can increase one’s energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being. So we must try to reduce the widening disconnect with nature. For this, you can stroll through a park or garden, hike in the forest, bask in the Sun, spend some time under the starry sky, sit silently on roof top on a full moon day, and so on.
Audit Your life
Auditing your life is one of the best and fastest ways to become conscious of how you are spending your time – and therefore your life. For this, you should write down everything you do from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. As soon as you do this you’ll immediately see in black and white terms where you’re spending your time, where you are wasting your time, where your free time is and what you are doing with your life. Auditing your life will only take about 30 minutes, and it will allow you to live consciously, and it will give you the chance to consciously create space in your life for the things that matter.
Write a gratitude journal
Write down up to five things for which you feel grateful. The goal of the exercise is to remember a good event, experience, person or thing in your life – then enjoy the good emotions that come with it. Studies suggest that writing in a gratitude journal atleast three times per week has a greater impact on our happiness.
Audit your diet
You also need to audit your diet in order to become conscious of exactly what kinds of foods you’re eating, and what percentage of your diet is healthy and unhealthy. For this, write down everything you eat during the day from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed. Record every meal, snack, candy bar, drink, everything. Do it for few days. This will instantly allow you to see what is lacking from your diet and what needs to be removed/changed. If you eat healthy and cut down on the alcohol, coffee, fast foods, sugar etc. you’ll not only feel good but your body and mind will work better and you’ll have more energy, which will make thinking, decision making and problem solving easier.
Change your mental diet
Be careful about what you read, watch and listen to. Don’t just watch whatever is on TV or trending on YouTube or Social media, and allow the world to program your mind with drama, fear, negativity and violence. Instead consciously seek out content that will enlighten you.
Simplify your life
It’s hard to wake up if you’re constantly tired, stressed and over worked. So, don’t be too busy or have too much ‘on’ all the time. Don’t set for yourself impossible goals, such as ‘I have to be perfect in everything I do’ then punish yourself when you don’t reach those goals.
Spending more time with people who are more conscious than you
The more time you spend with people who are smarter and more conscious than you, the more it will accelerate your awakening.
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique-such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
If you don’t meditate, you become a slave to your mind. If you do meditate, your mind becomes your slave
There are innumerable benefits of Meditation like attaining inner peace, mental clarity, increased energy levels, better Concentration, improved self confidence, higher productivity and so on………
Some simple methods of becoming meditative are given below-
Watch your Breath Method
One method is to sit in a straight-backed chair or sit cross-legged on the floor or a cushion, close one’s eyes and bring attention to either the sensations of breathing in the proximity of one’s nostrils or to the movements of the abdomen when breathing in and out. In this meditation practice, one does not try to control one’s breathing, but attempts to simply be aware of one’s natural breathing process/rhythm. When engaged in this practice, the mind will often run off to other thoughts and associations, and if this happens, one passively notices that the mind has wandered, and in an accepting, non-judgmental way, returns to focusing on breathing.
In body-scan meditation the attention is directed at various areas of the body and noting body sensations that happen in the present moment.
Other approaches include practising yoga asanas while attending to movements and body sensations. You can also practice Breathing exercise/Pranayama – Bhastrika, Kapalabarti, Nadishuddi pranayama, Brahmari and AUM Chant .
The author is Assistant Professor, J&K Institute of Management, Public Adminstration and Rural Development (IMPARD)
Dr Ruchi Gupta