Maintaining good mental health

Health Watch, Normal

The National, Thursday 23rd August, 2012

GOOD mental health is essential for us to have a balanced and productive life.
It is always a challenge for us to keep this in focus so that our society is happy, healthy and wise.
So my readers, how then can we train ourselves in maintaining a good mental health.
Talk about your feelings
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It is part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.
Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while.
Just being listened to can help; you feel supported and feel less alone. And it works both ways. If you open up, it might encourage others to do the same.
It’s not always easy to describe how you’re feeling. If you can’t think of one word, use a lot of expressions.
What does it feel like inside your head? What does it make you feel like doing?  
You don’t need to sit your loved ones down for a big chat about your well-being.
Many people feel more comfortable when these conversations develop naturally – maybe when you’re doing something together with family members.
If it feels awkward at first, give it time. Make talking about your feelings something that you do.
Eat well regularly
There are strong relationships between what we eat and how we feel.
As an example, caffeine and sugar can have immediate effects. But food can have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.
Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body.
A diet that’s good for your physical health is good for your mental health. A healthy balanced diet comprises:
l    All types of fruits and vegetables we have on our land;
l    Wholegrain cereals or bread; 
l    Nuts and seeds;
l    Milk, cheese and other dairy products;
l Oily fish that has Omega-3; and
l Plenty of water.
As a guide, you must eat at least three meals each day and drink plenty of water.
Try to limit how many high-caffeine or sugary drinks you consume, and avoid too much alcohol.
Keep in touch frequently
“Just being out with friends relaxes me. I have a laugh and I feel good.”
Strong family ties and supportive friends can help you deal with the stresses of life.
Friends and family can make you feel part of them and cared for.
They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head.

To be continued.

Please write to my team if you have queries on:
Dr Uma Ambi
Principal adviser
Mental Health Services
C/o Kundu 2
(Beautiful Mind)
P O Box 8, Boroko