Wellbeing the key to a healthy mind, body and soul

There comes a time in our life when we feel sad or anxious, either because we are facing demands in our jobs, did not pass exams or we have conflicts with Friends and family. These are known as stressful events and may cause individuals to feel down or defeated.
A normal part of our life but when it becomes a constant and we fail to cope with it, our body and mind may give up and we start to feel unhappy or we lack energy and motivation. We may also develop physical symptoms like constant headaches, losing interest in food or poor sleep.

Dr Hamed al Sinawi
Sr Consultant Psychiatrist
Sultan Qaboos University

This is known as stress and in some cases make be severe enough to have a negative impact in our social and occupational activities .
Not long ago , talking about mental health was considered a taboo. People with mental health issues used to get locked away in family homes, some were even considered victims of witchcraft. In both cases the affected person would often lose their ability to function as a valid member of the society and their health would deteriorate even further due to lack of treatment.
This lead people to hide away when they develop psychological problems , they often suffer in silence or tend to self-medicate, seeking help from unexperienced so called healers (faith or otherwise).
But with the advance in health care and technology more people are becoming aware and are able to speak to friends or family and even mental health professionals. Some start by googling their symptoms and get relief that what they are experiencing is an illness and has nothing to do with their belief in god or personal weakness.
This brings a tremendous relief, to know that you are not alone. What follows, however is not always positive and depends where you get your information. We often see people with negative experience with mental health professionals posting unhelpful comments or recommending unauthorized therapies. Therefore we recommend that you consult a qualified mental health professionals such as psychiatrist or psychologist.
Here I would like to point out that the your mental health does not stop at treatment but includes adopting a healthy lifestyle. The media often promotes physical wellbeing with several campaigns encouraging people to exercise and eat healthy but hardly any tips are provided to support your mental wellbeing.
This can be explained by the stigma associated with mental illness which makes it of little interest to the readers and publishers. Because of this, many professionals shy out of raising awareness and addressing the public regarding issues that are relevant to our cultural and religious values and also common in our daily life, rather than importing ideas from the west or other parts of the world which may be of little relevance.

So what can you do to empower your mental health and well being, here are some tips:
1 Learn to identify your stress ,some of us become irritable when under pressure. Others have bodily symptoms like headaches or stomach aches and it is important to learn when your body is giving you signals that you need to do something to restore harmony to your life..
2 Have some “me time “ Where you do things that help you relax, be it painting, cycling or simply a walk by the beach. Often spending some times with friends and family can also be helpful.

3 Connect with others , there is no substitute to a good friend who listen to you when you are feeling down and restore you self-confidence..

4 Be kind to your self , some people fall in the trap of self-blame when things don’t go well. Statement “I should have studied longer hours” or I should not have invested with a large amount of money” such thoughts would only make you feel more worthless and frustrated. Try to be more objective, reflect on what went wrong and plan a new approach to avoid it in the future

5 Take care of your physical health, it’s is well know that exercise makes the body release hormone that makes is more relaxed and energized

6 Learn to practice meditation ,or simple breathing exercise, there are more studies supporting the role of meditation and mindfulness in improving mental health and wellbeing

7 Learn new skills , read a new book. Such activities often widen your prospective about the world and stimulate your brain to be active which could delay the onset some of the disease with Alzheimer’s and other related disorders.

8 Travel , When possible, take the time to travel. It doesn’t always have to be an expensive overseas holiday (leaving you with more stress) but getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be beneficial. There are a good variation of places to visit in Oman that will make you relaxed and charge your batteries without draining your pockets.
And finally ,remember that your body is a gift from god so you should look after in and nourish it both physically and mentally .