Monday, January 30, 2023 | Rajab 7, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Keep moving for mental health

The sea has always been a fascination along with what it brings back to the shores. It does not stop moving.


Childhood also meant reading books and the concept of letter in a bottle was indeed a thought for imagination even in this day of wifi and staying connected.


As a child walking along the shores of sea in Oman, in addition to collecting shells was the lookout for anything that could have drifted away from a ship. Suppose it is a fascination with stories. Then there were the beautiful drift woods that would remain as untold stories.


A walk along the beach this weekend I did come across two bottles. Neither did they have letters in them nor were they made of glass. They were 1.5 litre mineral water bottles label less - one filled with water and the other completely empty. The waves continued to play with them at the same time attempting to push them back to the shore. There were bread bags and other plastic bags that were partially buried in the sand. Remnants of picnics and get-togethers. They were not pretty sights next to the shells.


STAY HEALTHY


As the world celebrates 'World Mental Health Day' on October 10 as every year one of the ways to stay healthy mentally is to stay close to nature. It is not going to be too great for mental health when we are so effortlessly hurting the life of the marine creatures and in turn our own health.


In other words at least for selfish reasons we ought to be keeping our environment clean. Waiting for others to clean our mess is not going to make sense in the long run, and has not until now. So it has to be a built in culture to feel responsible not just for our home, our possessions but our earth too. It was the long weekend and families came to enjoy the sun, sand and the sea.


Enjoying walking with the waves was a crane which quickly searched the sand as soon as the waves retreated. The crane looked vibrant with the available opportunities until it decided to fly away just before sunset.


These are the lives that are equally important as us.


The earth is well balanced when all species are protected and are thriving.


Even our own mind needs balancing of both the hemispheres of the brain.


The World Federation for Mental Health Day has set the theme of 2022’s World Mental Health Day as ‘Make Mental health and well-being for all a global priority.’


But most importantly the objective is to get help if someone is struggling with mental health.


Another interesting factor is moving makes you mentally fit, thanks to endorphins. So moving not only helps you to stay fit but but makes you happier too.


However I suppose if one is physically strong it need not necessarily mean one can also be mentally strong. Our mind and thoughts are influenced by so many factors varying from emotions to surroundings, words to actions, chemicals to hormones. But moving can make a difference. It seems the best way is to increase awareness about ourselves - our thoughts and feelings and at times accept the fact that it is okay not to be okay and find a way to talk about our struggles.


This month we are talking about the various causes of stress that have an impact on our mental health on our podcast called GreenMent with Dr Hamed al Sinawi.


We are looking at the benefits of sports and mental health, impact of competition in schools to workplaces and stress of urban lifestyle.


Interestingly Dr Hamed pointed out the impact of pollution on Alzheimer’s patients. Goes on to prove how environment has an impact on our mind like a friend who could not bear a squeaky chair during a meeting until she explained so to the other person. The chair was silenced and she was not annoyed anymore but how often would we express ourselves to find our peace?


Well, that is what World Mental Health Day is all about. We might laugh it off, but the fact remains we can do better by learning and managing our emotions, by talking to someone we trust, getting more from our sleep, being kind and helping to create a better world, getting advice on financial matters, eating healthy, being curious and open minded to new experiences as per mentalhealth.org.uk.


What we have to remember is also that at times we can be the cause of other people’s mental health issues. So we must try harder to practice empathy while we are focusing on mindfulness.


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