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Learn how your mind affects your physical and emotional health to strengthen your mental well-being.
The brain is the most powerful and complex organ in the body. Your mental health does not only control your consciousness, but also determines your physical health and the way your body functions.
Life is rarely as smooth sailing as we would like it to be. We often face disappointment, stress, grief and negativity which can affect your mental health.
According to Adjunct Associate Professor Daniel Fung, chairman of the Medicinal Board at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), the average life expectancy of Singaporeans is about 82 years. But those with mental health issues and illness die about 20 years earlier than the general population.
So how can we strengthen our mental well-being? Here are 10 essentials that can help boost your mental wellness.
Lack of sleep can negatively affect your physical and mental well-being and overall quality of life. Having proper sleep not only provides stress relief, but it also makes you more alert and aware. It improves your memory too — sufficient sleep helps your brain to process and retain information long term, and solidify memories.
A healthy gut leads to a healthy mind and boosts mental wellness. Having a balanced and nutritious diet is a natural defence against stress. Start your day right with a nutritious breakfast and try to maintain balanced meals throughout the day. Include foods like wholegrain cereal, vegetables and fruit.
Physical exercise will not only keep you physically strong, but also keeps you mentally alert and reduces stress. When you exercise, you can think better, allowing you to be more efficient and productive. Try doing yoga, signing up for Zumba, or go for a slow walk in the park as such activities can keep your mind and body healthy. It is better to do moderate exercise more regularly than engage in heavy workouts on an ad hoc basis.
Talking and interacting with others stimulates your brain. It allows your brain to work faster and think faster.
It’s never too late to pick up a new skill and engaging in activities you enjoy can improve your mental wellbeing. Learning new skills such as playing the piano, acquiring a new set of computer skills and playing games can stimulate brain and nerve cells, keeping your brain refreshed.
Playing strategic and mind-stretching games not only involves memory work, but also involves decision-making and strategising. This helps keep the brain working and preventing mental health issues and illnesses such as dementia. Also, playing in groups will boost greater interaction.
Doing community work or helping a friend or family member allows you to take the focus away from yourself. Helping others makes you feel good and more empowered.
Stress cannot be avoided but you can learn how to better manage it. Setting goals and checking them off when you’ve completed them helps to tackle large-scale tasks one step at a time. Positivity is key — try seeing problems as opportunities that can help to reduce and manage stress.
If you’re having emotional problems, alcohol, cigarettes or drugs is not the solution. They provide only temporary stress relief. Ideally, you can seek help and comfort from family or friends, or you can consider seeking professional help.
Laughter can relieve tension and help with stress relief, and aid in stress management. Humour relaxes the mind and makes you feel good, which is good for your mental well-being. Laugh yourself silly and have fun whenever you can!
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
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