Many stress factors such as the tiring and long working hours that come with the changing conditions of modern life, long study hours for students, the deterioration of the ecological balance, the economic and environmental conditions brought by technology and the economic and environmental conditions we are in are already affecting our mental health in a negative way. The stress rate we are exposed to has increased even more with the pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) almost 280 million people around the world suffer from depression and about 264 million people suffer from anxiety problems.
The mental health of almost all of us has been adversely affected during the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, the uncertainties and anxiety this period brought about and the restriction of access to mental health services caused us to feel the negative effects of this period more deeply.
Why Should We Care about Mental Health?
While many of us take great care for our physical health, we sometimes ignore the problems that affect our mental health or do not show the necessary importance in this regard. However, our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Negative effects on mental health in the face of difficulties and stress can lead to loss of motivation, decreased productivity, health problems, decreased enjoyment of life and impaired well-being. Therefore, our mental health affects both our behavior and our psychological well-being, as well as our physical health.
So, do you care enough about your mental health?
Although most of us realize how important it is to protect our mental health during the pandemic period, it is always useful to be aware of this.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is not just the absence of diagnosable mental health problems, good mental health involves being able to perform a number of basic functions and activities, including
- feeling, expressing, and managing many positive and negative emotions
- establishing and maintaining good relationships with others
- coping and managing change and uncertainty
In short, mental health is a state of being in harmony with oneself and the environment.
Our mental health is affected by many different factors. The environment we live in, our economic conditions, our social environment and biological factors are some of those. In research, it is also stated that apart from the pandemic, social, economic, and behavioral inequalities in the society negatively affect the mental health of people. Studies have shown that inequalities arising from reasons such as race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity have adversely affected people’s mental health in many countries around the world in the last few years.
Meditation and Mental Health
Meditation has many healing effects on mental health. Among the benefits of meditation, which helps us calm our mind and body, we can count less stress and anxiety levels, better focus and concentration, quality sleep, mental endurance, improved self-awareness and self-respect, and self-compassion.
The positive relationship between meditation and mental health is supported by many scientific studies. After meditation, it is observed that the symptoms of depression and anxiety decrease, and the psychological problems caused by chronic pain decrease.
1. Reduces stress and anxiety
Stress is the biggest source of mental problems we experience. You can learn to manage your stress effectively with meditation to prevent the physical and mental problems that arise when we cannot manage our stress. In many studies, it is stated that meditation is an effective method in stress management. Meditation increases the heart rate (HRV) and strengthens the frontal cortex, which is the administrative center of our brain, thereby reducing the negative effects of stress on our body and mind and helping us regulate our emotions. It is known that meditation done for 5 minutes a day shows its effect in as little as 10 days.
2. Increases focus and concentration
As the number of stimuli we are exposed to increases with the effect of rapidly developing technology, we may experience difficulties in concentrating and focusing from time to time. Focusing on your breath with meditation and watching it with awareness helps you to use your attention in a focused way by keeping it in the moment. Studies show that just as meditation is effective at reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, it increases focusing and learning concentration, and improve memory and attention span.
3. Increases self-awareness and self-respect
When we can't get out of our constantly flowing thoughts and are stuck with negative events, taking a step back and slowing down with meditation allows us to look at our thoughts and emotions from a wider perspective. Observing our feelings and thoughts without judgment through meditation practices increases our self-awareness and helps us realize our positive thoughts and potential with this self-awareness. This in turn improves our self-esteem and self-confidence.
4. Increases self-compassion
The friendly approach and understanding we show ourselves in the face of adversities is called self-compassion. It is important to protect our mental health that the relationship we build with ourselves, and our environment is in harmony. Being able to approach oneself with compassion, accepting and embracing mistakes and things as they are, improves the relationship with others and oneself and gives this relationship a healthier direction. The act of self-compassion begins with awareness. So, mindfully observing the realities of the moment through meditation is one of the most fundamental components of self-compassion.
5. Improves quality of sleep
Sleep is very important for our physical and mental health. Lack of quality and adequate sleep can cause many problems. You can try meditation to prevent sleep problems you experience, especially during busy and stressful times. Thanks to the physiological changes meditation provides in our body, it facilitates the transition to sleep and helps you experience a more comfortable sleep.
Today is world mental health day!
To maintain mental health, you can increase your awareness and enjoy the benefits of meditation.
To reduce stress by calming your mind and body with meditation download Innerjoy for free now and benefit from special meditation practices for you!