Wellness is personalized and subjective to each individual person. We all have different coping mechanisms. What works for one person may not work for another. But is it so easily achievable? But how do you get there? To shift your habits and patterns is no easy task, as most of us know – “Easier said than done”.
Apart from the obvious advice on the internet, I’d like to share what essential components and systems continue to work for me to cultivate wellness of the mind:
As humans, we are social creatures, connections are essential to us, and being around loved ones is vital to maintaining well-being. This still holds true, but it is also essential to learn to be in your own company, separate yourself from the people around and build a relationship with yourself. Whether that be taking a nice warm bath, taking a stroll down the park, solo-traveling, or sitting with difficult thoughts, anything that allows us to cultivate a relationship with ourselves, which is important for one’s mental well-being. Solitude can be healing.
Music is a healer, therefore a great tool to have for mental well-being. According to a mental health article by ‘Shilagh Mirgain’ health-psychologist from UW Health – “Scientific evidence suggests that music can have a profound effect on individuals – from helping improve the recovery of motor and cognitive function in stroke patients, reducing symptoms of depression in patients suffering from dementia, even helping patients undergoing surgery to experience less pain and heal faster. And, of course, it can be therapeutic.” https://www.uwhealth.org/news/the-healing-power-of-music . So listen to your favorite song, build a wellness playlist and let it uplift you.
As humans rituals are a great way to maintain mental wellness. It could be as simple as creating a ritual of practicing yoga every day, going on an annual trip to relax, creating a spiritual altar to pray, etc. “This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.”- Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat Pray Love”. https://www.celebrantacademy.org/blog/The-Healing-Power-of-Rituals.
4. Accountability partners
We already know about the obvious improvements needed for better mental wellness, but how do we ensure we follow through with them? A great way to ensure we follow through on mental wellness habits could be by having appropriate accountability partners who check in with you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to hold you accountable for following through with the habits and goals, you promised to yourself. These partners could be your family, friends, or even hired coaches who you could request to check in with you to reinforce good habits.
You can cultivate mental wellness by introspecting on your thoughts and general state of mind. Being self-analytical or introspective allows you to examine your current state to see where a shift may be needed. You can do this through meditation, journaling, or just being with your thoughts (going back to solitude) to reflect on what is happening in your inner world.
6. To-do lists
Life is chaos at times and so is the mind. To-do lists can really help one get organized and alleviate mental space to make room for more important things like being in the present moment. To-do lists could feel just like journaling can allow us to examine the important action items floating in our mental cloud and keep us on track. To-do lists are my personal go-to and can be cathartic as a way of writing down and sometimes forgetting them from mental space, which could help one feel lighter. Mental wellness may be easier said than done. But with acceptance, patience, and self-compassion oneself it is achievable. May you be safe, may you be happy, and healthy, and may you be at peace.
Neelofer Hilal is a passionate freelance writer, avid traveler, podcaster, futurist, dreamer, and social science enthusiast.