When someone says they want to be happy, what they mean is they want a positive sense of mental well-being and to feel fulfilled in life. This month is Mental Wellness Month, a good time to remember how important it is to take care of our mental well-being.
The statistics show almost 25 million adults have been taking antidepressants for at least two years, a 60 percent increase since 2010.
While you may not be clinically depressed (which is a serious health condition that requires medical care), how would you rate your own satisfaction of life on a scale of zero (unfulfilled) to 10 (100 percent fulfilled)?
If you rated yourself under 7, it may be beneficial to increase your efforts toward positive mental well-being.
This does not come naturally and takes effort, much in the same way that physical wellness does. If you want to be physically healthy, you need to eat right, drink enough water and get adequate rest. When it comes to mental wellness, it’s no different.
Here are some areas to focus on:
>> Listen to your heart: Since our mind and body are connected, make sure that you are listening to your heart. I love the saying, “Your heart will never follow your mind, but your mind will eventually follow your heart.” It’s so true.
Think about it anything you’ve ever done. When you used logic and chose to do what you believed was right although it wasn’t what you truly wanted, you moved further away from fulfillment. Bringing the essence of your heart into your decision-making is a life-affirming practice.
>> Be kind to yourself: We put emphasis on being kind to others, but just as important is being kind to and loving to yourself. Without self-compassion, it’s virtually impossible to find true happiness. You can’t hate yourself and be happy in life.
How many times do you criticize yourself, or beat yourself up for not being more or doing more? We often set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, demanding more of ourselves than we would someone else.
This really damages self-esteem and drastically reduces your capacity for mental wellness.
>> Help others, love others: Anytime we show kindness, love or compassion to another, chemicals in our brain get released, making us feel good.
Studies show that when you help others or demonstrate love to others, you benefit mentally by experiencing a relief from stress and other discomfort. Please note this does not mean you should drain your own life force by over-giving your energy or letting others take advantage of you.
Mental Awareness Month is a great opportunity to remind ourselves that when our minds are well, our activities are productive, our relationships are fulfilling, we adapt to change and we cope well with challenges. May this be your year of digging deep and carving out time for personal growth, self-reflection and life planning.
Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U. Visit YourHappinessU.com