The topic on mental health among Malaysians has been gaining popularity over the years. But being true to ourselves, how many of us actually place mental health as an essential priority in everyday living?
According to the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) in 2015, 1 in 3 Malaysians above 16 years old have mental health issues. It is believed that many Malaysians are hindered from seeking professional help due to the unfavourable stigma revolving around mental illnesses. Moreover, some Malaysians may not even know they are facing developing risks of mental issues.
Talking about good mental health does not simply mean ‘not going crazy’. Having good mental health affects the way you carry yourself, be it having great mood, better confidence or self-esteem. It could even be your ability to provide peer support and emotional stability in overcoming obstacles. Maintaining good mental health requires work and you can help your mind in ways that it will thank you.
As the health of your body improves, so does your mind. Practice good habits such as healthy diets and regular exercise. It leads to improved sleep and stress relief while helping to lessen signs of anxiety and depression. A mere 15 mins of activity period can lead to a feeling of contentment.
Rest is an essential part in maintaining good mental health and the best way to achieve that is to have enough sleep. Getting enough sleep helps to regulate chemicals in the mind which process information and mood. Besides, sleeping sufficiently helps to improve mental clarity and mood all together.
This may come as a surprise for some but getting plenty of sunlight actually leads to a significant improvement of mood. This is due to your body’s natural tendency to produce Vitamin D that helps to lower risks of depression. Besides, sufficient sunlight also boosts production of Serotonin and Melatonin, which helps to improve mood, encourage relaxation and promote better sleep.
It is suggested that approximately 5 to 30 mins of sun exposure for twice a week, between 10am to 3pm on the face, arms, legs or back will be sufficient for vitamin production. If you plan to do this more frequently, remember to apply sunscreen to protect your skin against excessive UV rays.
It is okay to allow your mind to zone out a little as it serves as a subtle form of mental therapy. It allows your mind to relax especially during times of mental stress.
Close your eyes and regulate your breathing for a few minutes until your mind feels calmer. Reserving at least 5 minutes everyday for this practice serves as a great way to nurture inner peace. Besides, you can pair this practice with relaxing music or exercises such as yoga and medication which are known to instill calmness and improve better outlook in life.
A little social connection goes a long way in helping your mind to cope. Catch up with family and friends over the phone. Talk about things that your mind is occupied with. It even helps you in receiving mental support to deal with stress in life.
There are many ways to connect with your family and friends. Choose to simply dial them up or set up a video call with them. If you’re video calling from a computer, you can try out sites such as Zoom and Google Meet. If you’re on the phone, you can do video calls via the chat boxes in Instagram or Facebook Messenger.
These tips, if practiced regularly, are great in achieving good mental health. However, if you have made consistent effort to improve your mental health but still face trouble coping, remember to seek professional support. Professionals offer guidance and help to improve your ability to cope with mental health.
Your mental and physical health are closely connected. Another added benefit of good mental health is that it will help to reduce critical illness risk. However, we cannot completely eliminate the risk of critical illness and that is why financial protection is important. Starting from only RM11.50 a month, i-Protect Plus financially protects against 5 common critical illnesses. Get an instant quote here.