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Improving Your Own Mental Health Through Basic Daily Practices

Our daily lives are filled with stressful situations that can affect our mental health.

Improving Your Own Mental Health Through Basic Daily Practices

Our daily lives are filled with stressful situations that can affect our mental health. Amongst Sikhs, there is an increase in the belief that westernized Sikh communities, such as those found in the USA and UK are in need of a more integrated approach to mental health care. The 6th annual British Sikh Report, which was released in April this year, indicated that up to 80% of Sikh women and as many as 68% of Sikh men personally know someone who has been experienced poor mental health in the past year. 

While mental health conditions often require medical intervention, we can all, as individuals, make an effort to promote and improve our own mental wellness. Rebuilding a sense of mental health can be accomplished by integrating basic actions and principles, such as the following, into your daily life.

Fully develop yourself

To reach your full potential, you need to develop yourself into who you feel you can be. Assess your own life on a daily basis, taking note of the areas that make you feel successful and connected. Formulate a plan of action that will see you improving yourself on a daily basis. The process of transformation and education involves, at a primary level, having a greater self-awareness along with the ability to self-analyze. At another level, the mind’s education also involves the ongoing practice of living in a spiritually enlightened way as is set forth in Gurbani. That means setting aside time each day for meditation and establishing a pattern of remembering throughout the day, so that we keep a healthy perspective on our priorities along with remembrance that there is only One Doer and that it is not our self that is accomplishing things.

Strengthen your stress responses

If you want to enjoy mental health, you need to learn to manage your stress as best as possible. The more adaptable you are, the better you will be able to manage stress. Simple daily practices such as yoga, meditation, focused breathing and mindfulness can teach your body to optimize its relaxation potential while guiding your brain to remain fully focused. These practices are a powerful combination when it comes to handling everyday stressors including illness, the death of a loved one or financial uncertainty.

Focus on what you are good at

The more confident you feel in your abilities, the more likely you are to enjoy positive mental health. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a job we absolutely love. Sometimes financial responsibilities force us to work in a less-than-desirable environment, simply to be able to provide for our families. Even if you don’t get to go to your dream job every day, it is important to find aspects of it that you do enjoy and are good it. If you take pride in what you do, chances are you will excel at it which, in turn, will see your hard work get noticed by your peers and employer, earning you some well-deserved recognition.

Make a difference in the lives of others

A central tenet of Sikhi is that we need to live a life filled with good deeds and kindness to others. As Gurbani tells us, ‘Take care of others and let God take care of you.’ Apart from the spiritual benefits derived from positive interactions with others, it also has a physical effect, creating a pleasant serotonin boost. The immense feeling of purpose derived from helping others, in whatever way, is a definite precursor for good mental health and one that should be practiced on a continuous basis. Our seva can be our own self-healing.

Our own mental health, and that of others is often extremely fragile and must always be handled in a delicate manner. Sometimes we will be able to address these matters ourselves, but often we need the support of our loved ones. The family is a strong and noble Sikh core institution which collectively forms vibrant and strong communities of Sangat. It is these communities that we can call upon in times of extreme stress and hardship, knowing they will carry us through our darkest days and back into the light.

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