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Here are some mental hygiene pointers that will help you escape the conditioning that women must be ‘perfect’ at everything they do.
Have you ever come across the term ‘Mental Hygiene’? Or have you ever thought about the need for and importance of your mental hygiene?
Various studies around the world indicate that depression and other forms of mental illness are more prevalent in women than men.
In a patriarchal society, the actual identity of any woman always seems to be overpowered by the measured identity of the different roles she plays. Mostly unconsciously, we are often in a constant struggle within ourselves, as we set some unrealistic expectations and demands, and run after an unreachable horizon of perfection.
Our mindsets is programmed in such a way that we fail to recognize this process that engulfs us from head to toe. As a result, we become participants in our own mental and emotional abuse, and give the world outside the authority to judge us in every possible way.
Mental Health experts define mental hygiene as the science of maintaining optimum mental health and thereby preventing unwanted mental disorders. Mental health is the goal, while mental hygiene is the means. Human development needs to be nurtured through both physical and emotional care. The gap in this thread leads to the growth of insecurity in the mind, leaving us feeling unsafe. It is where we women stand.
Author Paulo Coelho rightly said, “When you say ‘yes’ to others make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” Anything that occupies your mind in such a way and to such an extent that it hampers your productivity and effectiveness as a person and even makes it hard to cope with your daily activities gets transformed into mental illness.
Mental hygiene is filtering your mind, now and then, so that that we reap the best output for all-purpose development within and around us. A bit of emotional nurturing, which safeguards our self-respect and emotions, can strengthen our mental condition. Though mental health carries no definite standard, there are no perfect parameters to measure mental health, yet it implies a balanced pattern of living with distinguishing social functioning.
Women often feel guilty about self-care. But Self-care is not being selfish. As Author Louise Hay says, “Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.” It is important to take personal responsibility for your own emotional, mental, and physical well-being.
The following four pointers proved very much beneficial to me, in keeping my sanity intact.
The first and foremost thing is to love yourself and give yourself some priority. Embrace yourselves with all your pros and cons. No one is perfect or polished. Without judging oneself, for any of the imperfectness and shortcomings, allowing oneself to a happy and healthy living is the true essence of self-compassion. Self-rating and self-criticism are two degrading elements that hamper self-compassion. As noted American Psychologist Clark Moustakas said, “Accept everything about yourself – I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end-no apologies, no regrets”.
As Author Jeff Keller mentioned in one of his books, “Your attitude is your window to the world.” It is the mental filter through which we experience the world. To achieve something, your attitude towards every component of life, be it work performance, relationships needs to be positive. Don’t fall into the role of a victim. Being self-critical, in some cases, may appear to be grounded, but it also lowers your self-esteem in a gradual way. Moreover, we carry the aura of what we think about ourselves. Therefore, it also affects the thoughts and behaviour of others towards you. Practice saying positive thoughts to yourself. It affirms you against any of your drawbacks.
Don’t let unnecessary things lower down your spirit. Always keep some productive aim in your life and stay focus on it. The three F’s – forgive and forget if you can, and go forward in your life. Letting go is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of ultimate maturity, inner strength, and a sign of a healthy mind.
As the eminent motivational speaker Robin Sharma says, “When you bear a grudge against someone, it is almost like carrying that person around your back with you.” It drains you of your energy, enthusiasm, and peace of mind. Beautiful and powerful at the same time, isn’t.
Letting go is the willingness to move forward. It is the opportunity to feel light, to unload the heaviness, suppressing your mind and soul. It is hard to fly when something is weighing you down.
Always set aside some time for yourselves, for something you love to do. As American writer Barbara De Angelis said, “If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.” Organizing, scheduling, and thereby prioritising your me-time will give you a tremendous boost. Time is the most important, non-renewable, and irreplaceable resource. Don’t get lost in the never-ending maze of obligations. You are equally important.
Lastly, as a popular quote goes, “It is not what you are that holds you back, it is what you think you are not”.
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