We are going through a time period in which social change is extremely rapid. So much so that even though our body adapts to this fast tempo, “our souls lag behind” from time to time. We need to calm down, stop, settle down and breathe and live the “moment”. Especially during pandemic days, we are all more or less psychologically affected. Fear of getting sick or losing our loved ones, economic problems and social isolation lay the groundwork for many psychological disorders in the short and long term.
So, what can we do to improve our mental health in these critical times?
Even if there are physical distances, be sure to keep in touch with your loved ones online, with audio, video and in writing. Meet regularly with video calls by making an appointment and taking your coffees. It is unclear how long the pandemic restrictions will last. That’s why we have to reinforce ourselves before we run out of strength. Scientific research shows that people with stronger social ties and more frequent contact with their loved ones are happier and more emotionally resilient than others.
Man also misses himself. Our longest relationship in life is with ourselves, but this is one of the most neglected relationships. Small moments of seclusion where you will calm down by breathing deeply and be conscious of your body, mind and emotions will nourish you psychologically. When we look at history, we see that almost all spiritual leaders have periods of seclusion and being alone at certain periods of their lives. Sometimes our inner turmoil is so much that we run from activity to activity in order to escape from ourselves.
This exaggerated sociability does not solve our problems, on the contrary, it deepens our sense of loneliness. Facing and accepting our emotions realistically when we are alone with ourselves is a very useful practice for our mental health. “Yes, I feel a little fragile. Yes, I feel a little hopeless ”, it is necessary to see and acknowledge our emotion, but not to be drowned in that feeling. Every emotion is temporary. Knowing this, confronting ourselves makes us healthier.
Author Nuri Pakdil says “the day you don’t read, you are in the dark”. Continuously nurturing, updating and learning new things keep our passion and curiosity about life alive, even if a little. Even 20 pages a day adds a lot to us in the long run. According to research from the University of Sussex in England, reading books every day is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress.
“Act” in both senses of the word, especially if you work sitting or have a relatively sedentary life. Exercising not only provides many benefits for body health, but also makes you happy. Regular exercise makes us happy, according to research conducted by Oxford and Yale Universities. When we exercise for 20 minutes a day, dopamine, endorphin, phenylethamine and serotonin hormones are released, our blood circulation accelerates and more oxygen is provided to our lungs. This makes us “feel better”.
Life is not just about jobs and responsibilities. A hobby in which we will forget the world while we are doing and experience the “flow” state in the language of the science of happiness will contribute to our mental health extremely positively. There are many studies that prove that playing an instrument, listening to music, being busy with soil, plants or spending time on other hobbies can improve mental health. It is not essential that we have great talent. It is enough to enjoy and integrate with that action while doing it …
One of the most important behaviors that are good for mental health is to do something unconditionally. According to research, doing good makes us happy. Prof. Dr. Nevzat Tarhan states that doing kindness has a decreasing effect on depression and anxiety and emphasizes that when he / she does good, self-esteem increases. Scientific studies show that a happiness hormone is secreted in the brain of people who help others.
Spirituality is the sum of things that give meaning to human life. Many topics such as prayer, religious belief, being alone with nature, devoting yourself to a higher purpose, and being connected to an ideal that makes your life more meaningful are considered within the concept of spirituality. Spend more and more regular time on whichever one gives meaning to your life. If you don’t feed yourself from the “inside”, external supplements will work to a certain extent. This is exactly what Emily Dickinson talks about in her beautiful poem:
“If I can keep a heart from breaking,
I will not have lived in vain.
If I can save a life from pain
If I can relieve a pain or
I will not have lived in vain. “
From time to time, we may feel our strength running out. It may not even come from ourselves to take steps that can change this. If we feel sad, hopeless, exhausted, our sleep and appetite are affected by this, if we cannot find the strength to act despite our will, it may be time to seek psychological support. If we have a clinical problem, its treatment, if not, it may be one of the greatest favors we can do to ourselves to seek help from an impartial expert about our problems and to re-examine our lives in another light and find what went wrong and make the necessary transformation.