Pay attention to your mental health during this festive season

By Dr. Michael Nyemenim

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental health is very important to every individual because when there is lack of it, depression sets in and from depression comes suicidal thoughts.

A lot of people may become depressed during this festive period if they allow the degree of successes of their peers to affect the way they view life or because of their inability to achieve much.

Also, family problems may likely weigh some people down during this period, such as too much expectations from siblings or immediate family and financial hindrances especially in this austere economic challenges.

Most people misconstrue the meaning of success. To some, it is the acquisition of material things such as clothes, vehicles, landed properties and so on but the truth is, it is not everybody who comes home with these things that may have honestly earn such. The problem is that most people at this time do not care to ask questions.

We need to take our time to x-ray the mental health situation around this festive season. Mental health is not just a subject that deals with crazy people. In Nigeria, when mental health topic is raised, basically everyone thinks you are talking about mentally deranged people in neuro-psychiatric hospitals in chains or ambulances. Mental health is all about how we react to the challenges of life.

For some people, the challenge could be how to get food, for others, it could be how to get into school, pass exams and make good grades and to others, it could be how to secure gainful employment and take care of families. Everybody faces challenges in life, the difference is the way we handle our problems or react to them.

The basic question we should ask ourselves daily is” what are our philosophies in life or what do we classify success as?” A lot of motivational speakers will say” if you wake up and you have not put smiles on the faces of people then that day should be counted as a real failure. When you look at life from this perspective, you will understand that it is not everyone who you see during this period coming along with tones of naira or other material things can be classified as a success.

People must learn how to be satisfied with what they have. Existential philosophers say it takes basically food,shelter and clothing to be happy. To be content is the first step to avoiding depression. In life,there is no competition, people do not become successful all at the same time. If people can look at life from this perspective, then mental issues such as depression or having suicidal thoughts will be kept at bay.

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