The best treatment for mental health is fundamentally based on respecting that the mind is not separate from the body, and that the brain is an organ like any other organ and as such it needs care, nurture and at least respect. When we see this month’s posts on mental health awareness surprisingly few talk about the basic stuff, i.e., the healthy stuff. How could anyone have a healthy mind that subsists on a burger and coke diet and three hours on average watching one screen, after having sat all day in a poorly-aired office staring at another screen? The WHO mental health awareness month has not helped much this year either, but they have destigmatized it and that’s great. Now to the healing!
It’s really time to acknowledge the vast amount of research proving that a healthy diet and lifestyle creates the best foundation for a healthy mind, something no one doubts when applied to healthy athletic performance or compared to the fast tempo our city lives demand from the mind as a marathon from the body – unhealthy stress. Stress in the the form of input, hence information, is extreme today. Contemporary social interaction, (being an essential and complicated process for our minds), requires a 10 year old brain to assimilate as many new faces in a year as his/her grandparents did in a life time. This, like any other stress on our neurons shoots stress signals to other cells in our body that may have had to deal with toxic perfumes, a the sixth coffee to “deal” with a hangover so that the owner can get the work done. What’s wrong with us humans? When mental illness kicks in it is usually the tip of an of iceberg consisting of many years of pushing ourselves to higher performance, which is totally disrespectful treatment of the body that can become dislike of our bodies for “failing” to be perfect.
The only way back to a healthy mind and body
1. Stop causing your body harm by eating crap in noisy places and drinking, and inhaling toxic stuff. And when you do smell a perfume, detergent or softener that gets stuck and chocks you, take it seriously and get out of the room. Escape when the body tells you to.
2. Move, stretch, and breath deep, yes deep, deep, deep whenever you have fresh air around. Sit down, close your eyes and your ears, and breathe more to stop the mental information overload for 10 min, at least once a day, and even better at every moment the day offers. Don’t care about what the people around you think on the bus or in the waiting hall, just do it.
When you do all this, if you still have mental problems, let’s talk. That’s when you can solve all other issues. We just started to work with an amazing guy who visited our retreat about a year ago, Sunil Lad. He holds a PhD in psychology and works as a counselor in the UK. More on Sunil here.