Celebrating the spirit of World Mental Health Awareness Day is a mark of observance to the Vitruvian Veritas philosophy, that creates a sense of everything graceful and agreeable, and essentially mirrors the laws of harmony and beauty.
It is based on the very foundation of how humanity can care for itself and the power of the brain over our wellbeing. It has assumed significance because of the positive impact it has had to restructure the DNA of society in the 21st century with its plethora of personal, societal, communal, national, and global interest.
Mental health may witness disruption or disturbance due to genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma, or a medical condition. Anxiety disorders are known to affect 18% of adults every year, while mood disorders affect 10% of the youth.
The stigma of mental health and awareness has manipulated not just the numbers seeking treatment, but also the number of resources available for treatment. Unresolved mental health issues lead to loss of children and adults to suicide every year, but actionable tips and tricks to understand ourselves, in general, are directed to enhance the respect and acceptance to consider it a vital part of the wellbeing of the human, and humankind in general.
We are a creature of habit, in part because habits give us more control. The art of intentionally being attentive with a nonjudgmental attitude, and triggering a shift in perspective from what was erstwhile the subject, to being the object of awareness is what meditation helps us inculcate.
The word “med”, from the word meditation, literally means to take appropriate measures. It is meant to reveal the interconnectedness of everything, and the fact that there is no difference between the subject and the object involved in the practice. The state of pure consciousness evolves into an expanded state of awareness.
Given the fact that meditative therapies are so easy to carry out without any known adverse effect, and the feeling of relaxation and inner peace, helps improve mental health. And there’s a growing body of research to support the various techniques involved in the process as follows:
USE OF SOUND: Mantra, which means the instrument of thought. It is known to create certain moods in the listener. It employs contemplative prayer or affirmation in the form of use of a particular sound, phrase, or affirmation as the point of focus. The power of sound is considered to potentially transport us to the world of expanded awareness. Chanting is one form of meditative practice that has been used in many cultures to uplift the spirit and activate archetypical energies of the mind and body. It has assumed significance because of the feeling and purpose it generates. Known for the soothing effect on nervous and brain systems, that bring resonance, tranquility, and relaxation, thus fighting off stress.
USE OF IMAGERY: Usually considered the most viable for beginners of meditative practice, it involves all the five senses to ignite positive healing messages throughout the mind and body. It involves a relaxation technique that draws on the ability to visualize and daydream, incorporating what you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. So, one is not just thinking it—they are living it. When one is engaged in imagination in this way, the body and your nervous system will respond as if one is actually there. The immersed state of mind by reconstruction of a state of mind, keeping in touch with the subconscious level of wisdom. The powerful technique focuses the imagination in proactive, positive ways to helps reduce stress, relieve pain, and treat insomnia.
GAZING: Considering the fact that sight is arguably the most powerful sense, and gazing meditative practice helps achieve the stillness of the mind. This refers to an open eye gazing of the object, with focusing the eye through intention but relaxed gazing. Focused on the approach that the eye position can instantly affect the mood and experience of a being. Initially, it is done with open eyes on an external object. Gradually it progresses to the internal practice with eyes closed and to gazing at the void. Candle gazing is a particularly popular concept for this type of meditation. Benefitting a whole range of physiological and mental functions, it unlocks the inherent energy of the mind and channelizes into consciousness. It is helpful to improve concentration, cognitive function, calms the mind, and increases nervous stability.
BREATHING: This technique refers to the counting of breaths, to purely observe the breath as it is, without changing it in any way. People are encouraged to relax with the breath as to become familiar with their self and what is happening to them, as opposed to what they wish may happen. This mindfulness also helps become aware of the muscles and how different body parts feel. The breath becomes the sole object of meditation. The discovery of thoughts has to overcome with shifting the focus and attention back to the next breath. It helps observe every nuance of breath and each sensation it produces, how the abdomen and torso move in lieu, how the air feels as it moves in and out of the nose, its quality, and temperature. It helps deal with stress, anxiety, negative emotions and sharpens the ability to concentrate.
BODY SENSING: This is practiced with the same degree of intricacy and involvement as the breathing technique of meditation. It helps tune in to the body as sensation, so one starts to respond. Physical sensations may inform and change behavior and mind. It helps achieve deep mental relaxation, enhances the body’s natural resilience to deal with stress, and grows the capacity to experience health, wholeness, and wellbeing. The particular sense is known to draw increased attention and thus, sensitivity.
Mental health is a vital part of developed and developing nations, improving the standard of living and revitalization of the future of the nation. There is empirical evidence to discuss how mindfulness and meditation can help reduce anxiety and negative emotions. To help people who suffer in silence and are walking the long tunnel constantly in search of light at the end of the tunnel, there is a growing interest in understanding and enhancing the mental health from development in the field of psychology to promotion of normalizing positive psychiatry.