Millions of people across the globe suffer from mental illnesses. In most cases, the issue is diagnosed either at a later stage or goes unreported for a long time leading to poor quality of life and emotional well-being.
World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year to create awareness around mental health. During SheThePeople‘s Mental Health Summit REFRAME, Archana Pai Kulkarni discussed with Chitra Jha, Anju Venkat and Dr G L Sampoorna the principles around emotional well-being and simple, authentic ways to maintain it.
How Nature acts as a cue for emotional well-being
Anju Venkat: We need to understand that nature has given us our emotions as the mechanism or the cue through which we can understand what is happening inside and outside. And this is done via our emotions and that is the whole gamut, the good, the bad and the ugly. It is not just a specific emotion, so if it is joy, love, peace, anger, resentment or jealousy, all these emotions are just cues. An aid to our body, to let us know where are we now and how we want to respond to it, or the direction that we want to nudge towards.
Emotions are the process through which every day you are learning to acknowledge what emotion you are feeling, which is sensing what you are going through, being able to accept it and then choosing your response to it. So it is a daily practice, it is not a destination. It is something that you are going to continuously be doing and once we are aware that all these emotions are available to us as cues, recognise it and then choose how to work with it, there will soon be emotional well-being. Learn to be kind to ourselves.
‘Why Me’ is the most disempowering question
Chitra Jha “In the process of empowering myself”, Jha says she learnt that ‘why me’ in the most disempowering question. “When we are a victim, we keep asking ourselves why is it happening to me. So the day I gave up on that question, it became why not? why won’t it happen to me, am I so special to not go through any emotional upheavals, and if I don’t go through any challenges then what is life all about? So the day I started looking at everything as a growth opportunity and a gift, it was revealed not as an obstacle.
Self-empowerment helped me to come out of the victim mentality and understand that future will always be uncertain, people have always had emotional upheavals but learnt to take them in stride and handled them in a better way. When I was a teenager, I remember telling that in America everybody has a shrink, but I remember someone telling me here we have a strong support system, but today my business is thriving because people are deprived of that strong support system not that I don’t want them to have. But now we are looking for a family outside our family, and we are looking for connections beyond bloodlines. That is empowering for me to be able to connect with people,” the mental empowerment coach Chitra Jha adds.
On how forgiveness aids in relieving stress
Dr G L Sampoorna: If someone is unwilling to forgive, they will have a reason to hold on and that needs to be respected. There was a man who felt he would betray his family if he forgave his brother-in-law who cheated the family. So even if he remotely thought of forgiving, a part of him resisted very strongly, so we need to work differently there. There are both parts of him are respected and listened to. The best thing to do is to start from where the person is. Even being willing to think about the possibility of forgiveness is a good start. Research and psychology show that even thinking about forgiveness reduces stress and creates healing in the body.
If it is hard to forgive someone, you can start by choosing someone who is less difficult and has a smaller hurt. Expressing anger and hurt first, give it that full range of expression, so once that is done there’s nothing more but you will naturally come to the level of forgiveness, but don’t disown those feelings.
You can watch the session here:
Suggested Reading: Reframe The Mental Health Summit Puts A Spotlight On Issues We Are Facing