According to World Health Organisation, mental wellness is defined as a state of emotional and psychological well-being whereby an individual can use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, meet the regular demands of everyday life and contribute to the society.
Mental wellness can easily be affected if an individual is unable to cope with day to day stress, which could begin to affect a person’s ability to cope with his/her own emotions and to properly use cognitive skills in severe cases. Therefore, it is very crucial that we take diligent care of our mental health.
Mental Wellness is as important as physical wellness
There are different self-care tips to help maintain a healthy state of mind which varies from proper diet, Omega 3- fatty acid and Omega 6- fatty acid which have shown to help fight against depression as these supplements boosts the brain functions.
Mental wellness is a combination of the following:
- Your ability to build relationships with others and contribute to your communities
- How you feel about yourself, the world and your life
- Your ability to achieve your goals at work and in life
- Your ability to solve problems and overcome challenge
Exercise promotes the release of norepinephrine thereby increasing attention focus and ability to cope with challenges. Meditation, yoga and music helps maintain a healthy mind as well. This article aims to centre round the effects of meditation, music and yoga on mental wellness.
According to current research, mindful meditation helps affluence mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder by affecting the para-sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for moderating the heart rate and release of certain hormones thereby curbing the body’s response to stress. It has also been studied that Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is just as effective at preventing recurrence of depression as much as anti-depressants. MBCT involves the combination of mindfulness meditation and cognitive therapy. For best result, it’s been said to meditate first thing in the morning, focusing on your mind and being present in the moment would help to create a balanced mind for the day.
Essentially, yoga helps maintain a healthy mind as it involves the concentration on the body and breath which helps calms the mind and relieve worries by discharging tension and stress. Yoga comprises of activities such as relaxation, meditation, socialization and exercise all which help to regulate a person’s stress response system by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. The ability of yoga to improve concentration helps boosts memory by clearing your mind and calming your senses as it removes static noises. In general, these activities centered around yoga practice positively affects mental wellness encouraging positive thoughts, peace of mind and reduces effects of traumatic experiences.
Yoga is said to be a relaxing, low impact activity for people who don’t like the thought of walking or running.
Benefits of Yoga for the mind
- Increases supply of fresh blood to the brain
- Improves mental capacity and promoting concentration Increases mental awareness
- Increases confidence and acceptance of the self
- Improves mental capacity and memory function
- Improves ability to deal with daily stresses
- Improves intuition
- Balances the emotions and the hemispheres of the brain
- Releases blocked channels of energy
In addition, good music has also shown to contribute to balancing a healthy mind as research has shown that music can control our emotions and mood as they evoke certain neurological stimulation. Neurological music therapy can provide improvements in cognition, motivation and motor functions.
Analysis showed that anxiety and neuroticism were higher in participants who tended to listen to sad or aggressive music to express negative feelings, particularly in males. “This style of listening results in the feeling of expression of negative feelings, not necessarily improving the negative mood,” – Dr. Suvi Saarikallio, co-author of the study and developer of the Music in Mood Regulation (MMR) test.
To investigate the brain’s unconscious emotion regulation processes, the researchers recorded the participants’ neural activity as they listened to clips of happy, sad and fearful-sounding music using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at the AMI Center of Aalto University. Analysis showed that males who tended to listen to music to express negative feelings had less activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In females who tended to listen to music to distract from negative feelings, however, there was increased activity in the mPFC. “The mPFC is active during emotion regulation,” according to prof. Elvira Brattico, the senior author of the study. “These results show a link between music listening styles and mPFC activation, which could mean that certain listening styles have long-term effects on the brain.” –Medical News Today
The journey to daily mental wellness begins from positive activities which could include the right diet, yoga, meditation, good music and of course, enough sleep.