by Dr. Neha Das
Mental Hygiene is a science of maintaining mental health and preventing disorders to help people function at their full mental potential. It includes all measures taken to promote and preserve mental health: rehabilitation of the mentally disturbed, prevention of mental illness, and aid in coping with worldly stress. Even simple self-care activities can be part of an effective mental hygiene routine: listening to calming or upbeat music, talking about your feelings with friends or family, and keeping your mind busy by doing small tasks.
Hygiene is nothing but a set of rules for health. It is the science of healthy living. No one would like to be ignorant of health and its rules. Thus Health and hygiene are very important subjects and a proper knowledge of the rules of health and hygiene shall help us a great deal in our lives. In the field of education, where we wish to have healthy pupils in educational institutions, it is very significant that from the very beginning healthy habits must be formed.
Mental hygiene helps to know the causes of mental disorder or disturbances. It helps to know the preventive measures to overcome mental problems.
Mental hygiene begins with the individual and we all need to look after our emotions, as the WHO recommends. For this, mental health experts agree on the need to adopt a series of habits for emotional self-care:
Listen to yourself The very step to deal with good mental hygiene is your own self. Listen to what your own self actually needs for better mental hygiene. It can be clearly understood in terms of sleep, food and fulfilling of basic needs. Carefully listening to one’s own actual needs, can prove helpful to keep check on excess or deficiency of anything. Ask yourself who am I? Do not answer in terms of your name, designation, family role or any identity.
Clearing self doubt There is great importance of high self-esteem. One may get affected by the environmental factors in term of nurturing self-esteem. It is necessary that we should know what amazing things we are capable of doing. Do not set limits for betterment. By working on self esteem, you can clear all self doubt.
Remove mental blockages Mental blockages are different for one person to another. The basic identity of mental blockage is something that won’t let your mind work at full potential. Instead of suppressing negative thoughts or beliefs, try to learn it. The best way to manage multiple blockages is to deal with it one by one consciously.
Realistic approach towards life A purposeful life lived is a virtuous life. If you are not aware about your purpose or your passion, you can try Ikigai, a Japanese technique to find purpose. Life becomes better when we have realistic approach to work life. This approach includes set of cost, awareness, sensibility, tracking your progress, learning from failures and always keep moving ahead in life. You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at water.
Behaviour patterns in challenging times The way you act or think, when the life becomes tough or challenging, has greater impact on long-term mental health. Look at the pattern of your behaviour when you face challenging times. The vice charges are always proved helpful for maintaining mental hygiene.
Time to time detoxification of mind No matter how hard we try, sometimes our mind becomes toxic. Toxic thoughts, feelings and behaviour will come out when you act. Whatever is inside us that same will reflect outside. That’s why it is necessary to detoxify mind. There are few helpful techniques for mental detoxification such as meditation, connect to nature, counselling, spirituality, forgiveness, gratitude and mindfulness.
Stay active Active lifestyle and hence mental hygiene. The routine can be pre-planned, according to short-term and long-term goals. The task is more fruitful when it is productive and content. Exercise also proves helpful for staying active.
Strong bonds The strong bonds of any relationship help to maintain good mental hygiene. Emotional balance can be achieved by spending time with dear ones. Human being is a social being. There are few essential social needs such as care, love, affection, presence of each other, emotional validation etc. These needs can be fulfilled by a strong bond with each other.
Dr. Neha Das is a counselling psychologist. She has done Ph.D in Psychology & is a certified counselor. She has published numerous research papers in national and international journals. Presently she is working as School Child Care Counselor at Sri Aurobindo Centre of New Education, Jodhpur and is founder of Serene Psychology Clinic where she does private practice of counselling. She was thrice awarded as best academic head at state level. You can find her on Twitter at @drnehadas