By Dr. Olga Filippa-Nel – Clinical & School Psychologist
Prioritising your health, including your mental health, is crucial because neglecting this aspect of your life can negatively affect overall well-being. Taking steps to ensure that your health is well taken care of can have far-reaching effects. You feel better about yourself, it improves your relationships with others, helps in gaining greater control over your emotions and helps you cope with everyday demands.
It does not have to be an overwhelming, all-or-nothing process! Baby steps are the way forward. What is vital, however, is that you take that first step. Here are just two simple ways to give yourself some psychological self-care that can boost your mood and add to your enjoyment of life:
1. See the good in others
Due to the brain’s negativity bias (yes, it is an exceptional thing) we are more likely to notice bad qualities in others, the things that annoy us or make us critical. In this way, we end up feeling surrounded by lots of negativity, less supported, even unsafe and, in return, others will pick up on the feeling that you do not see much good in them and reciprocate. Seeing the good in others is a powerful way to feel happier, more confident and more productive. Make it a point to slow down when interacting with people and take the time to look inside the person, then shift your focus to their positive intentions, abilities and character traits.
2. Open up to someone
There are times when taking care of your mental health necessitates seeking professional support and treatment however, this does not preclude you from taking steps to improve your emotional health on your own. Seeking and cultivating strong friendship bonds based on mutual trust and respect will make you feel valued by others, see yourself in a more positive light and allow you to share your ups and downs in a safe space. In such an environment, working through overwhelming feelings and problem-solving becomes easier.
There are so many ways in which you can optimise your mental wellness. Choose those that appeal to you and give them a try by making small daily changes. They will pay off in all aspects of your life.
Live mindfully and blossom!
Find Your Role in Life – The hen and the eggs
A Short Story Dr. Olga Filippa-Nel (PhD)
Once upon a time, on an African farm, there was a chicken, a rather old chicken, well past her prime. You could not call her attractive, even by chicken standards. She looked a little moth-eaten, scrawny and her neck bare, with just the odd straggly feather still covering it. Her egg laying days were over. She felt purposeless and shunned by the rest of the coop.
Dejected, she headed off into the bushes at the edge of the farm to see if she could scratch out a worm or two for her lunch. And there it was, a sight to behold, a nest with four eggs in it. ” How can any mother be so careless,” she thought. Admittedly, the eggs did look a little strange, but she could not just walk by and leave them to die. After all, an egg is an egg, and it needs a mom to care for it. Without a second thought, she leapt onto the nest, spread her wings protectively and settled down, filled with renewed purpose.
She patiently sat and waited until the eggs hatched. Four beautiful, speckled guinea fowl chicks emerged, looked lovingly at their chicken mother and followed her everywhere from then on. She protected them fearlessly until they were fully grown, a rare feat indeed. With her head held high, she returned to the farmyard, where she had become a bit of a celebrity and lived happily ever after.
We all need a purpose in life, our Ikigai, our reason for being. If we invest our time and energy into doing things that give us pleasure and make use of our skills in a way that makes a positive impact on the world, a deep sense of purpose will set in and make us excited to wake up every morning and live each day to the full. Do not doubt yourself. Live your life knowing that you are, indeed.
Just like the old chicken, find your role in life, reach out and give as extensively as you can to others because the best way to heal on the inside is to go outside. At a time when there is so much need all around us, touch a life and make a difference.
Originally published in the first newsletter Issue of Ndeipi