The past two years have been a roller-coaster ride and the pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health. Many of us have been trying to commit to better our mental state, but often find ourselves faltering in that commitment.
The reason is simple: we cannot condition our minds to suddenly do something we have not made a habit of.
To improve our mental health, what we can do is add simple tactics and habits to our daily routine. Here is a list of a few do-able habits and tactics that can guide you towards better mental health management.
- Live in the present:
Human beings waste loads of time overthinking about their past and over-planning the future. Sometimes, all we need is to shed that weight of being in different time zones and just live in the present.
Dr Prashant Bhimani, a senior psychologist, a columnist and a radio counsellor, also suggests leaving our “noxious past behind” and moving forward. “Step into a new day, every day,” advises Bhimani.
- Call up that old friend:
Sharing things with an old, trustworthy friend, who is both non-judgmental and not a critic of your every move, is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
“Just call that person. You are bound to feel much more relaxed because connecting to another person is an important emotional exercise,” Dr Bhimani says.
- Plant a sapling:
Many experts swear by the positive effects of gardening on mood, concentration and focus. Mental health flourishes when spending time in nature and sunlight while lowering blood pressure and strengthening muscle and body coordination.
- Spend some ‘Me time’:
Sometimes, all we need is some time alone from all the chaos happening in our lives. Read a book, listen to good music, do a quick meditation or just lie down alone, but spend that “me time” to truly rejuvenate yourself.
- Maintain a journal of positivity:
Many of us keep journals to document our day. Done right, this habit has a huge impact on our mental health. When we write our journal, we re-live the day. Instead of writing down the bad things, one can try and jot down the good, positive parts of the day.
“Instead of writing on painful memories and incidents, you can write on joyful memories in a diary. This helps you in knowing how positive you are,” says Dr Bhimani.
- Let go of habitual ways of thinking:
Humans have both good and bad habits, but the most harmful ones are monotonous, ones that constraint us in living in a ‘format’. If we break those shackles and become aware of our habits, our mental health will improve.
Dr Vishvamihan Thakur, MD, consulting psychologist, supports this theory. “I have observed that habits are what makes a person miserable and unhappy. If we become aware of our habitual way of thinking, we can be at peace,” he says.
- Everything is NOT a Catastrophe:
We have a tendency of getting worked up regarding the smallest of things and usually make a big deal of that. Once we stop seeing everything as a catastrophic situation, we will be able to notice that the world and our emotions are extremely normal and natural.
According to Dr Thakur, one of the best ways to do this is to avoid saying “could have” and “should have” to each other; when we do this, we put the blame on another, wrongly. Just say “it is okay” and move on in life.