“Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.” 

Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It is all about how people think, feel, and behave.Mental health is an integral and essential component of health. The WHO constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.It is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health. Mental health can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health.The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.It is common for everyone to experience increased levels of distress and anxiety, particularly as a result of social isolation. Physicians and other frontline health care professionals are particularly vulnerable to negative mental health effects as they strive to balance the duty of caring for patients with concerns about their own well-being and that of their family and friends. It is normal to feel fearful and anxious during tough times like this.We must Treat ourselves with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. This is the best time for making time for our hobbies and favorite projects. We can do many things like daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.Taking care of ourselves  physically can improve our mental health. We must eat nutritious meals, avoid smoking and vaping, drink plenty of water, exercise, which helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods, get enough sleep. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in college students. Some other ways by which people can overcome stress and anxiety are, volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You’ll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need — and it’s a great way to meet new people.Try meditating, Mindfulness and/or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy.Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don’t over-schedule. You’ll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goal. As rightly said by Michelle Obama –

“Sadly, too often, the stigma around mental health prevents people who need help from seeking it. But that simply doesn’t make any sense. Whether an illness affects your heart, your arm or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there shouldn’t be any distinction…we should make it clear that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness — it’s a sign of strength — and we should ensure that people can get the treatment they need.” In short we can say that mental health is as important as physical health and we must take good care of both.

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