Oct 10, 2016

How can you improve your mental health?

 Today is World Mental Health day (10th Oct).

Dr.Sivaraman, the leading Siddha doctor from Tamilnadu has written multiple books in Tamil and these have changed my life. He points out repeatedly in his books and speeches about 3 issues that are the the main reasons for the rise of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, depression, cancer etc.

1) Change in our food habits - right from food cultivation, processing, storage, preservation, cooking techniques, serving to eating practices
2) Our disturbed mental health - attributing happiness to material possessions, societal status, raising ego clashes
3) The mindless violence we have unleashed on environment and nature

This post is dedicated to the second issue - our mental happiness and peace. When did our happiness start to be influenced by latest iPhone launches, purchase of new gadgets, getting FB likes, riding a swanky new car, jumping companies to get that promotion or a huge salary hike, buying expensive jewelry, renting high-end branded fashion wear etc etc?

In our journey towards achieving materialistic possessions, where is the last stop? Gadget manufacturers keep luring us with new upgrades and fancy marketing tactics. On top of that, we succumb to peer pressure and equate our "net worth" to these gadgets. Our parents used the same watch for 30 years whereas we want to upgrade our smart phone every year. We want to revamp our wardrobe every year based on what the growth-obsessed marketing strategists and the media-savvy Bollywood heroines dictate as the latest "fashion". We are ready to stay in lifelong debt in order to maintain the unaffordable, ultra-luxurious lifestyle.

The corporate cut-throat competition is not for the weak-hearted, people say. Clashes due to big fat egos, pressures of the rat race, sky-high expectations and the various challenges of climbing the steep corporate ladder suck our mental energies completely.

And when we are drained of our mental energies, where do we seek happiness from? Clicking selfies, addiction to social media, clamoring for FB likes, showing off pretentious lifestyles with those materialistic possessions and what not.

Jeff Hammerbacher (founder of Cloudera) once mentioned,
"The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads".  
 It's also worth mentioning that
"the best minds of our generation are thinking about how to get people to like their posts on FB".
Enough of the negativity in this post. What can we do about it?

1) Seriously think about what makes you happy - activities, feelings, people, experiences, moments etc. Carry a journal with you always and jot down whenever something brought a smile on your face, when your life felt more content and meaningful, when your heart felt calm and relaxed. Revisit your past and ask yourself what made you happy when you were a child. Invest your time in them every single day.
2) Be confident with who you are from within. Ignore the society's definition of how a man/woman of your age should look like, what they should do, what they should wear, how their home should look like etc. Most people would usually feel threatened if you are non-conforming. Let them be. Be rebellious and show off that "don't care" attitude. Care deeply about your inside happiness, that's all it matters. Celebrate your uniqueness.
3) Don't get glued to social media. Disconnect as much as you can. You don't have to share everything that's happening in your world. And you don't need to know everything that's happening in other's worlds. Use social media as a break from routine. But don't hitch-hike with it for your happiness.
4) Connect to real people in the real world more often. Meet them in person, have deep conversations, listen intently without judgment. Seriously, why do we judge people in a matter of micro-seconds? The more prejudices and stereotypes we have, the more opportunities we lose out in the world.
5) Always carry a positive attitude, keep the cynicism aside, be humble and always open to learn from others.

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