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The glorious Indian festival, Dussehra, is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil. While some celebrate the victory of Goddess Durga over the monstrous Mahishasura, some rejoice in the annihilation of the king of demons, Ravana, by the hands of the mighty Lord Rama.
The 10-headed Ravana's effigy is burnt every year to mark the victory of goodness over darkness. Unfortunately, what we miss to acknowledge is the darkness present within ourselves - negativity, homelessness, toxic patterns, and unhealthy habits that are weakening our mental health.
This Dussehra, why don't we take the opportunity for a little introspection? Let's find out the evils within ourselves and heal them. This year, winning over these 8 evils will bless you with perfect mental health.
1. Comparing yourself to others
There are two kinds of comparisons -
a. Upward comparisons
b. Downward comparisons
Upward comparison is the one that you make with people living a better life than yourself. You compare your current situation with theirs, envy their happiness, and feel bad about yourself.
Downward comparison is the one that you make with people who are having it worse than you. You see them being unfit or having a poor job. This makes you feel good about yourself. But in return, it leaves you unmotivated by giving you a fake sense of satisfaction.
Both these comparisons are bad for your mental health. The only kind of comparison that should exist is the one that you make with yourself. Redirect your efforts to be dedicated to being better than you were yesterday.
2. Inactive Lifestyle
Living an inactive or sedentary lifestyle accounts for doubled risks of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, and other cardiovascular diseases. It also impacts your mental health with anxiety issues, stress, depression, and insomnia.
You may enjoy perfect health and fitness, yet exercising is a must for everyone alike. Including physical workouts should be a priority in your list to defeat the evil of a sedentary lifestyle.
Make exercising fun to make it a long-term habit. Try finding an accountability partner. Choose any means to sweat it out from weight training, cardio, skipping, brisk walking, yoga, or group activities like Zumba to remain fit and healthy.
The "I'll do it tomorrow" attitude slaughters millions of dreams every year. You keep sitting on your plans until one day you lose the means and time to turn them into reality.
You keep making one resolution after another just to remain the same. The habit of delaying your tasks and ignoring your duties may work for a dinner table joke but destroys your sanity in the long term.
Apart from restricting your potential, procrastination brings anxiety, lifelong regret, low self-esteem, and symptoms of depression as its end product. Take proactive steps to defeat the silent killer.
4. The inability to say "no"
Are you the kind of person who says "yes" to helping others in their projects when you're struggling to meet your own deadlines? If yes, then it's a habit that you need to drop soon.
Being kind and empathetic towards others is a great trait. But it shouldn't come at the expense of your mental well-being. By saying yes to everyone and everything, you spread yourself too thin.
You may find it difficult to reject requests and invitations for the fear of hurting or losing them. Realize that the people who care about you will understand your circumstances and those who don't, shouldn't matter.
Who thought drinking 1 liter of water a day can lower your concentration span and turn you into a crybaby at work? Well, recent studies prove that dehydration does exactly that.
Not drinking enough fluid makes you prone to mood swings, anxiety, stress, and in extreme cases, depression. You lash out at people for petty reasons. Plus, it affects digestion.
You can avoid these unfavorable situations by simply drinking around 3 liters of water per day. Soon, you will experience a positive change in your relationships and brain performance.
Gone are the days when perfectionism was considered a positive trait. I'm not telling you to stop giving your best to a task. What's unhelpful is setting unrealistic expectations and constantly obsessing over perfection.
It is the shortcut to distorted self-image, dissatisfaction, frustration, and failure in completing tasks at times.
A perfectionist often finds it difficult to deal with disapproval and accept constructive feedback. They seem confident but silently struggle. Overcoming perfectionism is not a cakewalk. Combat this habit by setting realistic goals, acceptance, celebrating small accomplishments, and searching for meaning over perfection.
7. Inadequate sleep
Your body repairs itself while sleeping. It boosts your mood, memory, attention span, and productivity. On the other hand, not getting sufficient sleep on a daily basis invites a list of physical ailments and mental disorders.
Dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and Paranoia are some of the major diseases caused due to lack of sleep. Its minor drawbacks include poor decision-making abilities and interference with proper brain function and simple cognitive functions.
Fighting this evil is simple. All you have to do is to get 6-8 hours of interrupted sleep every night. Keep your room cool and dark to fall asleep early.
8. Living without a purpose
A purpose gives meaning to your life. Without a purpose, you don't feel like getting up in the morning, making your bed, and going to work. You lack direction in your life and have nothing to look forward to.
An existence like this deactivates your brain reward system making you feel numb. Slowly, you don't find pleasure in the things that you once enjoyed. A thick cloud of hopelessness engulfs your reality.
Be dedicated to your goals if you are already aware of your purpose. Those who are unaware of their objective in life, take your time to find out what drives you to lead an overall satisfying life.
Don't forget to pledge to defeat these evils this Dussehra!
Mental Health Helpline Numbers:
1. COOJ Mental Health Foundation (COOJ)- Helpline: 0832-2252525 | 01:00 PM - 07:00 PM (Monday to Friday)
2. Parivarthan- Helpline: +91 7676 602 602 | 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Monday to Friday)
3. Connecting Trust- Helpline: +91 992 200 1122 | +91-992 200 4305 | 12:00 PM to 08:00 PM (All days of the week)
4. Roshni Trust- Helpline: 040-66202000, 040-66202001 | 11:00 AM - 09:00 PM (Monday to Sunday)
5. Sahai Helpline: 080-25497777 / Email at - SAHAIHELPLINE@GMAIL.COM | 10 AM- 8 PM (Monday to Saturday)
6. Sumaitri: 011-23389090 / FEELINGSUICIDAL@SUMAITRI.NET |2 PM- 10 PM (Monday To Friday); 10 AM - 10 PM (Saturday and Sunday)
7. Sneha: 044-24640050 (24 HOURS) / 044-24640060 | Email at- HELP@SNEHAINDIA.ORG |8 AM - 10 PM
8. Lifeline: 033-24637401 / 033-24637432 | Email at LIFELINEKOLKATA@GMAIL.COM | 10 AM - 6 PM.
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