Learning to manage stress and sadness, helping others,
social support and short-term thinking all contribute to good emotional hygiene.
By SHA Wellness Clinic
In the last two decades of the 20th century, good health was associated exclusively with a perfect figure sculpted in the gym. Those were the days of the cult of the body, of fitness is my business and of the quick, artificial and, as it turned out, very harmful tanning in UVA tanning booths. However, with the dawn of the new millennium, the social perception of health began to change and expanded to a global concept that integrates the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes.
As Cinthya Molina, one of the psychologists at SHA Wellness Clinic, tells us, ‘Nowadays, the vast majority of society is aware that mental health is an indispensable factor in achieving a complete state of wellbeing and that the body and mind are closely related. That is why, in addition to taking care of your diet and practicing sport, it is necessary to learn to manage negative emotions’.
When we are sad, discouraged, or lack energy, any small setback becomes an insurmountable obstacle. As Cinthya says, ‘Having good mental health is very important because it allows us to cope with the normal stresses of life, to be physically better, to maintain good relationships, and to work productively’. To achieve this, the expert gives us nine keys:
The first step to good mental health is understanding that negative emotions, such as sadness, uncertainty, fear, or frustration, are part of life. We must learn to accept that, at some point, we will face these negative feelings. However, if, when this happens, we maintain a positive attitude, we will prevent negative emotions from becoming an anchor that paralyses us and prevents us from moving forward.
Limit your consumption of negative information. Spending all day reading bad news is not mentally healthy and makes people more irritable and catastrophic. It is one thing to be informed and quite another to be constantly overexposed to news, rumors, conflicts, and discussions, which in turn can cause anxiety.
Practice gratitude. We are always searching and longing for what we have not yet achieved and that is fine because it helps us to move forward. However, we need to be grateful for what we have, share time with loved ones, and appreciate the little things in life that usually go unnoticed, such as enjoying a good meal with laughter and friends.
Take care of your physical health. As we have said before, the body and mind are connected. Therefore, regular moderate exercise, sufficient sleep, and a healthy diet will ensure that we have a balanced system. If the body works well, so does the head, and vice versa.
Connect with others. Human beings are social beings, which is why it is essential to maintain close relationships with our family and friends. Connecting with others is a very effective tool for maintaining good mental health and social support is a determining factor in avoiding mental psychopathology.
Help others. Being altruistic enriches us as individuals and makes us develop meaning and purpose in life. When we do this, our organism releases oxytocin, which generates pleasure and happiness.
Practice mindfulness. Any discipline – such as meditation, yoga, or pranayama breathing techniques – that promotes relaxation and helps us to focus on the present is very positive for mental health.
Don’t try to control everything. Focus on the positive and what you can control and stop making long-term plans, which creates a lot of frustration. Being short term is very healthy mentally.
Don’t abuse social networks. It is very striking that, although we live in a completely interconnected world, society in general, but especially young people, are increasingly isolated. Excessive use of new technologies can cause social isolation.