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World Mental Health Day 2023: Experts share daily habits to practice for better well-being

Updated on: 09 October,2023 10:03 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Tanishka D’Lyma |

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, experts share daily habits that readers can practise for better well-being

World Mental Health Day 2023: Experts share daily habits to practice for better well-being

Daily exercise will increase your heart rate and up your endorphin levels. Representation Pics

Wellness notes
Sophia Peermohideen, clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and director of Mind Wellness Center, Wadala

There are four main hormones that can be helpful in managing our feelings of well-being and alleviating our stress levels, and there are many ways to increase the levels of these hormones in the brain. You can incorporate the following into your daily life.

1. Endorphins: Producing endorphins will prompt a positive feeling. Endorphins also interact with pain receptors in the brain reducing your perception of pain. It can be acquired with exercises that increase the heart rate, listening to music, watching a comedy show and laughter therapy.

2. Serotonin: This hormone is responsible for well-being and happiness, and is known as the mood stabiliser. Acquire it with solar exposure, mindfulness or being with nature.

3. Dopamine: It drives the brain’s reward chemical and motivates you to do more. For instance, setting small goals and achieving them, taking up new hobbies and self-care activities increase happy hormone levels and give you a feeling of well-being.

4. Oxytocin: It is called the ‘love hormone’ and is released by giving and receiving love in all its forms. Taking care of yourself, having a meaningful conversation with family or friends, cooking for your loved ones, playing with your pet, or doing volunteer work will give you a sense of connection and raises satisfaction levels.

Happy kids
Nazema M Sagi, clinical psychologist, consulting at SRCC Centre for Child Development, Mahalakshmi

Daily playtime should be a part of children’s holistic development
Daily playtime should be a part of children’s holistic development

Growing children require sufficient energy to follow their curiousity, and to aid their physical and cognitive development. Often, insufficient sleep, poor diet and limited or no time allotted to playing can make them irritable and lower their energy levels.

It is important to include playtime of one to two hours daily as part of their holistic development. Spending long hours in study won’t help their concentration or pique their curiosity. Similarly, children should get enough sleep and a balanced diet to tackle the day to their best capability.

Managing work stress
Namrata Jain, counselling psychologist and founder, OutAloud Wellness, Khar

Work stress challenges that people face in their professions vary across age groups and profiles. However, one habit to practise in your daily life is to cultivate a positive mindset that can benefit your well-being.

Practise grounding techniques when faced with stress at work
Practise grounding techniques when faced with stress at work

Cultivating a positive mindset is about looking for a ray of brightness even when one is surrounded by darkness. When faced with challenges, there is a tendency to focus on the problem. Instead, help yourself overcome a challenge by turning it into an opportunity for growth and learning. To do this, practise self-awareness, self-compassion, gratitude and mindfulness, and uphold positive affirmations.

When you find yourself outside your window of tolerance, a go-to action can be a grounding technique that enables you to activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). When the PNS is engaged, it reduces the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, which will lower your anxiety levels. One grounding action is the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, where you name five things you can see, four things you can touch or feel, three sounds you hear, two things you can smell and one taste to focus your mind on.

A happy later life
Surabhi Dand, pranic healer, counselling psychotherapist, mindfulness coach and co-author

Senior citizens have to deal with changes and struggles that come with old age. Taking care of their mental well-being can help them overcome these challenges and live a fulfilled life.

Senior citizens can spend 10 minutes in the sun for sufficient levels of vitamin D
Senior citizens can spend 10 minutes in the sun for sufficient levels of vitamin D

Vitamin D is not just related to one’s calcium level, bone health and body pain; it is also a fat-soluble vitamin that is related to your mood and functions as a mood elevator. Soaking in the sun before 10 am for 10 to 15 minutes a day can boost serotonin levels and improve cognitive health. Avoid harsh sunlight from 12 noon to 4 pm. If facing time constraints, opt for a 10-minute sunbath once or twice a week.

Another primary tool is breathwork. Correct breathing techniques can combat the oxidative stress in the body. When we are stressed, angry, or anxious, our breathing is affected and the metabolic rate of breathing is disturbed creating cellular damage to the body. This aggravates health issues. Opt for techniques like deep breathing or pranayamas daily.

Right to a healthy mind

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, as observed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’. It aims to facilitate knowledge, awareness and actions to promote mental health as a universal human right, and recognises that everyone has a right to the highest standard of mental health. The WHO states that good mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being.

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