Category Archives: Mindfulness Mental

How Emotions And Thoughts Can Affect Your Mental Health

How emotions and thoughts can affect your mental health. Mental health consist of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Mental health is usually used as a substitute for mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia, but according to the World Health Organization, mental health is: “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his/her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his/her community.”

Thoughts are our mental perceptions, our ideas, our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. They include views and aspects we bring to any situation or experience. Although thoughts simply appear in our minds, we don’t create them, and life experiences and education have great influences on them. But we have control over how we think, and we can resolve to change how we think.  As for our emotions, we can view and experiene them as the flow of feelings. And while they are universal, but each one of us experience them and respond to them in a different way. Emotions are influenced by our thoughts and perceptions, and the way we perceive an event or interpret a situation gives rise to corresponding feelings. Emotions which can be experienced or conveyed without any reservation, attachment, or judgement gravitate to flow smoothly; on the other hand restrained emotions such as fear, guilt, hurt and negative feeling are able to kill our hope and  mental energy and cause us a lot of physical and mental health problems. Consequently when we become aware that our thoughts and emotions can affect our mental health, and have great impact on our attitudes, our behaviours, and our relationships, then we can choose to adjust and regulate our thoughts and emotional responses to any triggering events. There are few positive feelings which can simply change the emotional effects of negativity and increase psychological abilities that enrich a successful life:

  • The value of Positivity: Anyone can tell you that one key to living a healthy, happy and flourishing life is having positive attitude, and experiencing positive emotions. But I also know that we all have what it takes to deal with difficulties. That is what winning a positive attitude is about. It is about strengthening ourselves mentally to fight with our own negativity.  People who are generally positive have problems just like everyone else. What separates them from everyone else is that they know that their problems are simply part of the process of life”. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson discovered that: “Experiencing positive emotions broadens people’s minds and builds their resourcefulness in ways that help them become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine. With Positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself”. Emotional benefits of positivity reduce stress, lower levels of distress, better psychological and physical well-being, minimize rates of depression, improve sleep and enhance a greater sense of overall happiness. “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Forgiveness: Forgiveness is about releasing our own feelings and finding meaning in the worst of life’s events. We practice forgiveness to be free of the inner violence of our rage, anger, fear, and resentment. Forgiveness is an act of acceptance that negative situations can happen and by letting go of the negative emotions surrounding those situations, we can learn to become less anxious, angry, bitter, stressed and depressed. As we let go of grudges we’ll no longer define our life by how we’ve been hurt; and we might even find compassion and understanding in our hearts. Forgiveness not only improve our mental, emotional and physical health, but also lead us to healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being and higher self-esteem. “It is time now to let go of the past and embrace all that awaits you”.
  • Gratitude: Gratitude means thankfulness, counting our blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that we receive. Gratitude is essentially the recognition of the unearned increments of value in one’s experience. The benefits of gratitude are extreme and powerful. Studies demonstrated that being grateful improve both physical and mental health, psychological wellbeing and attitude, and our relationships with others. Gratefulness makes us feel good and increase positive moods such as joy, interest, alertness, determination, and optimism as well as improve our self-esteem. By practicing gratitude we become less depressed and stressed, more likely to help others, and make greater progress toward achieving our personal goals. “When people in great numbers choose to practice, integrate, and embody gratitude, the cumulative force that is generated can help create the kind of world we all hope for and desire, for ourselves and for future generations”.
  • Emotional Resilience: Emotional resilience simply means one’s ability to adjust to stressful situations or crises. Resilient people are able to adapt to adversity of life without lasting difficulties, while less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes. To some degree, emotional and physical resilience are something we are born with. Some of us have always been the “sensitive kind” while others are not bothered by anything. However, psychological and social research have shown that emotional resilience can be learned or improved upon, no matter what level of it we are born with. We can gain and build on our emotional flexibility by practicing perseverance, optimism, learning from our mistakes, sense of humour, managing our strong feelings and impulses, avoid seeing crises as hopeless problems, accepting that change is a part of life, Moving toward our goals, taking decisive actions, nurturing a positive view of ourselves, taking care of ourselves, and maintaining a hopeful outlook. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved” —Helen Keller


How We Find Happiness in Life

Happiness is not out there, it’s in you.

Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy.

Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.

Happiness is life’s most desired goal. But we can never achieve it while we continue to look outside of ourselves, as it is an inside job.

“Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude”.

Throughout our evolutionary journey we have tried every strategy imaginable and searched almost everywhere in our quest for true happiness. We have had some great experiences and learnt a lot along the way, but we have never found what we are searching for. Eventually, we grow tired of searching and turn our attention to the one place we haven’t looked so far; inside ourselves. True happiness is not something that can be sought and acquired; it is our soul’s natural state of being, and we can only connect with by going within.

Anything we do, it is simply our inner quality that we are going to spread.  We cannot do anything of tremendous value for our planet until anything of accurate value occurs within us. Thus, if we want to be connected to the world, the first thing we must do is to transform ourselves right into a happy beings.

It doesn’t matter what we do in our life, whether it is business, studying or giving assistance to someone or some cause , we’re doing it because deep down, it gives us satisfaction. Each activity that every individual executes on this globe rises from a desire. We were not unhappy when we were a child, as joy and happiness is a source which resides within each one of us. So all we have to do, is to go for it and take charge of that joy which is residing in us.

Everything in universe is in order. The sun comes wonderfully well up in the sky.  The flowers flourish beautifully, no stars falls along, and the galaxies are functioning perfectly. Today, the whole cosmos is occurring divinely well, but just a negative thought worming up on our brain enables us to believe that today is a poor day.

Suffering occurs basically when most human beings shed perception in regards of what this life is all about. Our emotional process become far larger than the existential procedure, or our petty creation become far more critical compared to GOD’s Creations, to place it bluntly. This is the way to obtain all suffering. We miss the complete sense of what this means to be alive here. An emotion within us or a thought within our mind establishes the nature of the experience right now. And our thought may have nothing to accomplish even with the restricted reality of our lifestyle. The entire creation is happening beautifully well but just one considered emotion can ruin everything.

Anything we consider as “our mind” isn’t ours basically. It is merely society’s empty talk. Everyone and anyone whom we encounter on a daily base put some idea or information in our head and we truly have no choice about whose idea we accept or don’t accept. These information are advantageous once we learn HOW TO process them and use them. This accumulation of opinions and information that we collect is simply useful for our survival on the planet. It is not something which is related to who we are.

First thing we need to do in the morning when we get up, is to smile. At whom? No one. Since just the fact that we have woke up is not a small matter. A lot of thousands of people who slept yesterday evening didn’t wake up today. Isn’t it great that we woke up? So look as you wake up, look around you, if there is someone, and then smile at them. Because this morning, for numerous people, someone precious to them didn’t get up. Then venture out, take a deep breath and look at the bushes. They didn’t die yesterday either.

You may think this is really funny, but you won’t know its reality until someone dear to you doesn’t wakeup. So don’t wait until you understand the value of it. Appreciate what you have, be happy that you are alive and everyone who matters to you is still around.

Of course, people who do not have food or the basic needs for living can feel physically miserable and their needs must be addressed. Our duty as a human being is to help and take care of such people when we encounter them. But most people are unhappy not as a result of what they don’t have. It is because they compare their life to others. You are driving on a motorbike, you see somebody in a Mercedes and you become unhappy. But for someone who is driving a bicycle, your motorbike seems like a limousine.

Life is about learning and appreciating what GOD has created for us on this plant. It is not about twisting and distorting it. When we rely on the external situation to make us joyful and content, we could never feel true happiness. The quality of our life doesn’t depend on what car we drive, how much money we have in a bank account, or how big our house is, but how content and happy we feel inside.

Although each one of us is unique, and what works for one may not for other, but there are simply areas that tend to make a big difference to people’s happiness in life; and crucially they are all areas that are within our control:

1-         Care for others genuinely: Caring genuinely for others around us is essential to our happiness. Being caring means  wishing the best for others, and acknowledging in them the same wants, needs, aspirations, and even fears that we have too. It means providing a listening ear, noticing when someone needs help, and helping our community without asking for a reward. Being caring allows us to have empathy for others and to live a life based on affection, love, and compassion for the people around us.

2-         Connect with people: Happiness is influenced not only by the people you know, but by the people they know”. This means that by surrounding ourselves with happier people we become happier, we make the people close to us happier, and make the people close to them happier. People with strong and vast social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Close relationship with family and friends brings love, compassion, meaning and belonging into our lives and grow our sense of self-worth. “To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground” ~ Stephen Covey

3-         Notice the world around you: Taking Notice is about observing those things that we find beautiful and being mindful of them in our daily life. It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much. Paying more attention to the present moment, to our own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around us; can improve our wellbeing. Becoming more aware of the present moment not only help us to enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better, but also recognize anew things that we have been taking for granted.

4-         Have something to look forward to: Happiness in anticipation is the key here. By having something to look forward to, no matter how our situations, bring happiness into our life, well before the circumstance happen. If your life is series of undesirable duties, commitments, and unpleasant tasks, take some time to find out something that YOU would find enjoyable. And make time to do it.  “Happiness is the anticipation and the realization of the fulfilment of a dream”.

5-         Avoid false beliefs and expectations:  Our authentic happiness is blocked by our false belief that life should be how we want it to be. The expectation that accompanies this false belief sets us up for disappointment, frustration, anger and unhappiness”. Our expectations create our reality and they change our lives emotionally and physically. Unreasonable expectations can make life extremely hard and unhappy. These expectations are actually designed by our ego, as nothing give our ego a stronger sense of self-identity as an experience that supports our sad life-story. “In other words, we unconsciously create expectations so we can feel sad and disappointed when they are not met. Our ego is addicted to sadness and painful emotions”. Master to drop all expectations and open your heart, begin to love yourself, and move beyond your ego. Embrace freedom from your ego.

6-         Be comfortable with who you are: Finding ourselves, our authenticity will help us to feel our beauty. When we endeavour to be who we are, to be true to ourselves, and accept ourselves with all our flaws and imperfections, we will automatically feel attractive and unique. Beauty is never dependent upon the approval of others. Quite the contrary, beauty is very much self-defined and self-created. “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh.  By accepting ourselves and becoming kinder to ourselves we will be able to see our shortcomings as opportunities to learn and grow.

7-         Find a purpose in life:  We all have intact potential, perhaps even areas of intelligence, to become something entirely different, or somehow more than what we appear to be right now. People who find meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They become less stressed, anxious, or depressed. But how do we find meaning and purpose in life? We’re all wired differently. Some of us feel more connected to nature, others find meaning by employing in nurturing. The key is to know what works for us. Learning to live our purpose is essentially a spiritual exercise, and an inside job.  Search how and what give you that sense of fulfilment and deep connection; and then peruse it in all that you do.

8-         Train yourself to be more positive: There is the positive aspect in everything, in every person, in every situation. Sometimes it’s not obvious and we have to look hard. Even when we are faced with a difficult situation we can think to ourselves “What is good about this?” No matter how unpleasant the circumstance might look, we always can find something good if we take the time to think about it. Everything, good or bad is a learning experience. And there is always lesson to be gained from every bad experience. “There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there” ~ Paulo Coelho

9-         Live Mindfully: “Life is not what it’s supposed to be. It’s what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference” ~ Virginia Satir. Life is full of challenges. The way we manage them, can make a difference between whether we let them to control our lives, or we find a way to embrace every challenge as it arises. By practicing mindfulness we can find a more empowering way to react to the challenges life brings us. It also helps us to train our mind, manage our thoughts and feelings, and reduce stress and depression.

10-       Take care of your body: “Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha. There is a powerful mind-body connection through which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioural factors can directly affect our health. Being active makes us happier as well as healthier. By spending time outdoors, eating healthy foods, and getting enough sleep, we can improve our wellbeing. A serene mind really is nothing without a healthy body to carry it, so show your body the same compassion that you show everyone, by taking care of it.

It is positively time now that we look inside of ourselves and see HOW TO produce personal wellbeing. From our own experience of life we can clearly observe that wellbeing will come to us when we change our perception on life. We need to realize, if we are determined to create our happiness and wellbeing by the outside factors it will never happens. As nothing will be %100 the way we want them to be. When we accept this fact, then we will be able to work on ourselves as an individual to become the person we want to be. And happiness will be our only choice which has been our authentic nature by creation in the first place. “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson

 


Tips On How To Beat Depression

Tips on how to beat depression. Depression is a prolonged feeling of sadness, moodiness and hopelessness. It affects your thoughts, your emotions, your behaviours, and your overall physical health. It makes life more difficult to manage from day to day.

 “Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.” ~Dorothy Rowe

When you’re depressed, it can feel like you’ll never get out from under a dark shadow. However, even the most severe depression is treatable. So, if your depression is keeping you from living the life you want to, don’t hesitate to seek help. Your condition may require medical attention; seek out your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

While beating depression is not an easy task, but it’s far from impossible. Although you can’t force yourself to stop feeling sad and upset, but along with seeking help to treat your condition, there are also number of tips on how to beat depression that may help you in overcoming and managing your condition. Developing self-help strategies to manage your depression in day to day life can make a huge difference to how well you are able to cope with your symptoms. “Always remember that your present situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come”.

  • Improve your support network. When you are depressed, you tend to withdraw from others, but staying connected with outside world is essential to depression recovery. Look for support from people who can listen to you compassionately, without judgement, and make you feel safe and cared for. Try to hold on to social activities even if you don’t feel like it, as being around other people will make you feel less depressed. Find a way to help others. Do something nice for someone else. Research shew that providing support to others improves our moods. Although noting can substitute the human connection, but caring for a pet can also shift your attention and your mind from sticking on depressing thoughts. And it will give you a sense of being needed which is a solution to depression.
  • Boost your mood by regular exercise. When you are depressed, getting out of bed seems a daunting task, let alone being motivated to do some exercise. But study found that working out can relieve depression; as exercise enhances the action of endorphins, chemicals that circulate throughout the body, which can serve to improve your mood and alleviate depression. Find regular and continuous exercises like walking, swimming, dancing or weight lifting. In the beginning when you are depressed and exhausted, it can be difficult to start exercising, but once you keep up doing it, your energy level will rise and you will feel less tired. Practicing mindfulness can also improve depression symptoms, if your depression is caused by unsolved emotional trauma or negative thoughts.
  • Make a gratitude list. Always concentrate on the little joys that happen in your life throughout a day, and allow those moments of delight carry you over the ones with sadness and hopelessness. Take up a former hobby or a sport you used to like. Show your feelings creatively through music, art, or writing. Take a daily trip to a park or a museum. Go out to dinner with a friend. And record these moments of your “joys” in a gratitude journal. This exercise forces you to open your eyes and have more appreciation for what is right in front of you.
  • Choose to be happy and laugh. Charlie Chaplin once said, “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it”. I assume that is why some of the funniest people out there have journeyed through periods of torment. I believe by laughing we can send a message to our brain, saying that we can get through this. Studies indicate that human beings can heal from a host of different illnesses to a limited extent if they redirect their attention to the positive and learn how to laugh, as laughter boosts health-protecting hormones and chemicals. It’s been known for years that our thoughts can alter blood flow to the brain, but only recently have scientists discovered that how you think can also alter neurotransmitter levels.
  • Learn to meditate. Although I am not a mental health professional, but I believe that meditation can be very helpful for depression; whether it is caused by external events, or by chemical imbalances in the brain. We all tend to bring to the forefront of our minds the thoughts and feelings that reflect our current mood. If you are sad, depressed or anxious, then you tend to remember the bad things that have happened to you and not the good. This drives you into a downward spiral that leads from sadness into a deeper depression. By educating ourselves to practice mindfulness meditation we can overcome suffering and recognizing natural wisdom; both our own and others.
  • Develop a healthy sleep routine. Sleep has a huge effect on our physical and emotional health. It’s not just quantity of sleep that matters; it’s quality. Here are some tips which help improve your sleep and leave you feeling mentally sharp and emotionally balanced: Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day; avoid sleeping in, even on weekends; exercise regularly, as it improves the symptoms of insomnia, and increases the restorative stages of sleep; avoid big meals at nights and limit drinking caffeine; keep away from alcohol before bed; and practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing or gentle stretching in the evening which can reduce your stress and boost your mood.
  • Pray. Faith and spirituality possess the ability to have a positive impact on mood and mental health. Faith creates optimism, enhances interpersonal relationships, generates support systems, and improves quality of life.  According to new study and research, belief in GOD and having faith in a higher being has significant effect in treating people suffering from depression. Prayer is a form of meditation and can shift one’s focus onto higher levels of thought, quieting the mind, training the mind to be positive, and deepening a sense of calm and inner peace.

Life is too beautiful a gift to waste and if one will spend the majority of his or her life just moping around about every single little thing then what kind of life would that be? Depression may not kill one’s body but it’ll certainly kills one’s spirit if you’ll let it. Don’t be a victim. “Life is short, enjoy it, live it, love it. Share the wisdom but most of all learn to laugh and always smile. It is the best legacy anyone will ever leave behind” ~ Jasmina Siderovski