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November 2020 Newsletter
Almost everyone alive has at some point experienced the torments of anxiety, fear, stress or worry, which are distinct but related phenomena. The tenuousness of modern life can make anyone feel overwrought. It is particularly true in societal moments like the one we are in, a pandemic resulting in high uncertainty in terms of employment, health and family separation. It often feels as if our era is the Age of Anxiety! Until recent years anxiety has been seen as weakness, and stigma still attaches to mental illness. Actually, mental illnesses are today more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease. For instance, over 26% of US citizens over the age of 18 meet the criteria for having a mental illness. By 2029, mental illness is predicted to become the leading cause of disease worldwide.
This month we are focusing on mental health, that is our ability (also called psychological resilience) to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to mentally or emotionally cope with crises and downs. Mental health is not only the absence of a mental disorder such as depression and anxiety. In contemporary approaches mental health is more the ability to think, learn and understand one’s emotions and the reactions of others. It is a state of well-being and balance both for an individual and its surrounding community.
Generally good mental health improves life quality whereas poor mental health worsens it. Mental fitness is intended to build resilience against every-day mental health challenges to prevent anxiety or depression, and help cope with the escalation of those feelings if they occur. But how can we promote and improve mental health? Actually, the brain is like a muscle; if you do not give it a regular workout, it simply loses tone. Therefore, becoming mentally fit requires regular training. Here are some advice which can be followed as part of a daily routine for a better well-being:
Taking care of your physical health will improve mental health as well as physical health. Physical exercise not only delivers oxygen to the brain but also triggers the production of various hormones, including endorphins, which can elevate a person’s mood.
It is proven that the practice of mindfulness meditation brings about favorable structural changes in the brain. It reduces the level of anxiety and stress. Mindfulness stems from the willingness to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity, so that they are held in mindful awareness. The principle for mindfulnessis not to “over-identify” with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negative reactivity.
Reading is a great activity for your brain too because it can stoke the imagination and ignite so many different parts of the brain. It helps visualize the subject matter on the pages before you, and imagine what voices sound like in the written dialogue. This escape from the real world reduces the level of stress.
Be Positive with Yourself
We cannot always be or get exactly what we want. Self-compassionate people recognize that fact and that being imperfect, failing, and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable. When this reality is accepted with sympathy and kindness, greater emotional equanimity is experienced.
Establish and Maintain Supportive Relationships
With our most precious relationships, friends and family, we share hopes, fears, confidence and happiness. We cope with the challenges of life obviously better with them around us. Emotional wellbeing is therefore best maintained through friendship and regular human contact.
Maintain Adequate Sleep
As we often emphasize in this Newsletter getting enough sleep is essential for helping a person maintain optimal health and well-being. Sleep deprivation affects your psychological state and mental health. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night.
Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. At Puerfons, we do believe that individuals do not have to be controlled by their body and mind. In other words, we have the power to tell them what to do.
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