I have been fortunate in my life to have had the opportunity to work with many different people, whether that be as a counsellor, a music psychotherapist, an educator or as a businessperson working in different corporate sectors. One commonality I have found is this, no matter who we choose to be or what part we choose to show of ourselves, it is at the core of our being that, the truth and essence of who we are resides. Therefore it is essential that we take time to know us, in the way we would a dear friend, a partner, a valued work colleague, child or pet. That we invest time in ourselves and build an intra-personal relationship with ourselves, rather than just inter-personal relationships with others. If we consider that all that we do, all that we hear and all that we respond to, comes first through the filter that is ‘us’, then it seems worthwhile to ensure that we invest time in ‘us’ to support our hearing, reading, understanding and responding to circumstances and events in the most effective and accurate way we can through first knowing ourselves.
The term ‘Mental Wellness’ suggests that the focus is on the mental aspect of our being, but if we consider that at the core of our being all is connected, then our physical health, mental health, emotional health and spiritual health (in whatever shape that takes for you or means to you) all contribute to our overall state of ‘Mental Wellness’. An example of this connectedness which Jonathan Goldman author of ‘Healing Sounds,’ applies to the human body, helps us understand the nature of this connection. Jonathan shares; ‘Let us conceive of the human body as a wonderful orchestra which is playing this marvellous symphony. When we are in a state of health, the entire orchestra is playing together. However, when disease sets in it is as though a player – the second violin for example – has lost its sheet music and begins to play in the wrong key and the wrong rhythm. First it begins to affect the rest of the string section. Ultimately this person causes the entire orchestra to sound poorly.’(Goldman, 1999, 13-14).
Now, for any of you who have listened to an orchestra or a band you will notice that one musician that may be playing out of time, out of tune or just simply in the wrong key impacts the sound of the whole performance. This metaphor, in turn can be applied to us and our health, for we like the orchestra are made up of different parts and if one part of our health is not performing or operating at its best, it in turn can impact on another part of our health. So rather than seeing an aspect of our health in isolation, it is best to consider the totality of all of our parts and how they are interconnected in contributing to our overall sense of wellbeing.
So, what is ‘Mental Wellness’ and what is ‘Mental Health?’ Beyond Blue on their website (www.beyondblue.org.au) note that while the term ‘mental health’ is frequently used, it is readily misunderstood and is often used as a substitute for mental health conditions – such as depression, anxiety etc. Whereas the World Health Organization defines ‘Mental Health’ as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’ In this definition, we can understand that ‘mental wellness’, like ‘mental health’ is focused on a state of well-being and good ‘Mental Health’ through adopting practices and strategies which we can integrate into our lives to enable us to live a fruitful, meaningful and well life.
Eight tips you may wish to consider implementing into your life to help support ‘Mental Wellness’.
Implement a sleep routine to support you in optimising your capacity to get good rest as well as to replenish and recharge your body, mind and soul. A Harvard Health letter advises that ‘blue light’, light that has ‘blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.’ Furthermore