Improving Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
Lack of mental and emotional wellbeing can manifest is various ways in different people. It’s important to be aware of the signs so you can recognize them in yourself or in family and friends:
• Frequent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
• Feeling irritable, restless, tearful, or angry
• Withdrawing socially or losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
• Changes to eating or sleeping patterns
• Fatigue or lack of energy
• Inability to concentrate
• Neglecting self-care and substance abuse
• Finding it difficult to work or study, or carry out everyday tasks
• Mood swings
• Thoughts of death, suicide or self-harm
Martin Seligman, a pioneer of positive psychology and director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, defined a model of well-being described by the acronym PERMA.
The PERMA model sums up five core elements of well-being and happiness and teaches you how to incorporate them into your behavior and daily life to improve mental health and emotional well-being:
1. Positive Emotions: Whenever possible, look on the bright side. You can train yourself to possess more positive emotions by being grateful and forgiving of the past, mindful and focused of the present, and optimistic about the future.
2. Engagement: Discover the things that interest you to the point of getting absorbed and occupy your time doing them.
3. Relationships: Connect as often as you can with family and friends, and find opportunities to support them and get their support when needed; both giving and receiving help and support builds stronger relationships.
4. Meaning: finding meaning and purpose are a result of focusing on why what you’re doing matters to someone other than you. Be conscious to align your efforts and strengths to be more considerable to people, not just you.
5. Accomplishment: celebrate your achievements and savor the satisfaction of reaching your goals. And don’t stop there, continue to strive for more accomplishments.
Take a moment to reflect and consider which of these core elements requires your attention.
We rarely have control over certain challenges or obstacles in life which could affect your mental and emotional wellbeing. But the most powerful tool you can have in overcoming these challenges is resilience. Here are some things you can do to help you put the PERMA model into action:
1. Connect with others – ditch the calls and zoom meetings and grab a coffee or lunch with a friend
2. Eat well – a well-balanced diet can do wonders for your mood, sleep and overall energy
3. Manage stress – recognize the triggers in your life and combat them with self-care
4. Exercise regularly – just a simple walk will release endorphins and lift your mood.
5. Practice relaxation techniques – relaxation looks different for every person, maybe it’s meditation or yoga class for you, or a breathing exercise is what does the trick.
6. Get enough sleep – the importance of good sleep hygiene can not be stressed enough.
7. Get professional help if you need it – sometimes we need more than the simple tips listed above, and that’s absolutely fine. Don’t be ashamed or worries to reach out for professional help.
For more information about emotional and mental wellbeing, download MyGIG app. Your policy may give you free access to professional psychologists via the ‘Mindset’ service. Mindset is available 24/7 in Arabic, English, French, Urdu and Hindi.