Over several years of practice as a physician, I have noted a trend ,that people often dedicate a lot of time and energy towards physical health , while that of the mind is almost always sidelined or considered of less importance and for some ,they are totally unaware of the role of the mind on their health. But today, this trend is changing, and there is an increasing awareness on the importance of mental health and that it is equal or more important than physical health. The truth lies in the fact that, both health of body and health of mind are interlinked.
When we exercise and eat right, we feel good .This is because there is release of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals, in the brain. Thus those who are more active, tend to enjoy a higher level of mental adroitness. On the other hand, the more healthier the mind , which means a mind which is capable of maintaining a strong sense of goodwill, towards oneself and others, keeps the good chemicals up ,which in turn maintains a good physical health, by keeping the unhealthy or negatively acting, chemical release in the body, at bay. But a disturbed mind, can disturb the body. For e.g. In a hypertensive patient, being stressed or angry could increase the pressure. Similarly suppressed emotions could find a vent through various parts of the body.
Thus bringing to light, that whatever we think and feel can affect our emotional, mental and physical health. Learning to focus on mind and body equally, will fetch us not only a quality life, but a satisfying life. Ignoring anger issues or psychological issues doesn’t really help , but answer lies in wanting to be free and seeking help ,if need be . Homoeopathy is one such system which focuses on treating emotions and mind symptoms along with body symptoms. Besides a healthy prayer life, meditation, counselling, yoga also helps channelize thought and alter feelings. Besides at times, a sound support from a friend or family member, or some group, possessing responsible, sensible and practical traits would also fetch direction. A little change in our outlook or perception towards a situation in life can help keep our mind, healthy and free. In fact, a strong mind can keep you more resilient to take on life’s challenges.
One main cause of disturbed mental health, I would attribute to an individual’s distorted response and reaction in a situation or problem. This not only affects the individual, but passes on a ripple effect to the others as well. There are 4 major, classical response types. Irrespective of what one possesses, a conscious understanding, and unveiling of our own type, is a task of introspection that each one of us needs to do and adopt that which is the best. One of these responses is an ‘aggressive response’. Aggression in itself emanates more aggression and fetches or paves path for an aggressive response in return. The aim of aggression, is to vent out frustration or to get one’s own way. It is to win, regardless of the damage caused by the words or actions. An aggressive response, is not interested in the rights, wants, and needs of others. It is often or always destructive in its nature. Destruction may be physical or psychological towards the other. Aggressive people may get what they want, but aggressiveness has other negative effects on the individual and on others as well. So long as the conscience is alive, the individual would always know that he/ she has wronged the other, and would experience guilt. Aggressive responses, discourage people from wanting to socialize with such individuals. This in turn can breed loneliness. The few who own up to such characters, are those who feel threatened by them or those who are scared of them. Hence in actuality, they stand by them, not out of love for them, but just momentarily out of fear.
The second type of response is a ‘passive response’. For such individuals, their entire life revolves around others’ rights, others’ opinions, and others’ wants, as though to say they have no right to have an opinion or to want something or to have others respect their right. They rather have no opinion or forfeit their opinion, so as to say, they never take the opportunity to say what they feel or think, and thus end up feeling suffocated for not opening up and land up tagging along others opinions, though they didn’t really want to. In the long run, they never enjoy life as they are always doing things they don’t want to do or which they are forced to do. There is a difference between these people and people who consciously choose to do something in order to make the other happy. The former feel dragged, helpless and unhappy, whereas the latter are happy as it is a conscious choice of the mind and heart.
On the other hand some express by, ‘passive aggressive response’ .These individuals adopt strategies of ignoring the party with whom in conflict, due to inner anger and begin to give cold treatment to them, with the attempt to make themselves heard through silence, as though others were to read their mind without them expressing in words, often resulting in a permanent unsolved state of affairs, for both parties.
Finally the ‘assertive response’. Individuals capable of such type of response, get the best of everything. Well to some it comes naturally and for some it’s a conscious ongoing effort to remain assertive. Assertiveness is, expressing your opinions, needs, feelings without ignoring or hurting the opinions, needs and feeling of others. Communicating with, assertive responses, is the most appropriate, direct, open and honest way of dealing in situations. Such individuals can greatly reduce the level of interpersonal conflict in their lives. It is a distinguished response as compared to aggression and passivity. Here one knows his boundaries and respects it.
Besides distorted responses, another major cause of a disturbed mind, is the making of assumptions. Assumptions today are the termites of relationships. The solution lies in finding out the truth and not relying on your thought. Thus, we ought to deal with our need, to express in an effective, responsible and healthy way. Most importantly, we need to keep away from being trapped in communication patterns which chain or prevent self-expression.
At the end of the day, a happy and peaceful mind, is an inner desire of every heart. The relationships we share, the expressions we make, leave a direct or indirect impact on our life and on those around us or associated with us. Thus, an effective and responsible communication can go a long way in maintaining a healthy mind, which is as important as maintaining a healthy body.
By -DR TRISHA TORCATO E MIRANDA
[MD (Homoeopathy), MS (Couns&Psy)], (Asst Prof), Homoeopathy College & Hospital,Shiroda
Clinic: Healthy mind-Healthy body,Aquem Margao.(9923417774)