“Schedule your worrying, then put it at the back of your mind. Accept it. Incorporate what you are worried about into your schedule. Brainstorm for solutions alone or collaborate with others. Do not procrastinate. If you need to do something, schedule it immediately into your day or week,” said Leah Florence C. Adricula-Sicad, MD, during an online lecture forum on Maintaining Mental Wellness held on August 10, 2022, organized by the UPV Healthy Lifestyle and Wellness Committee.
According to Sicad, the above-mentioned tips are a few of the ways that people can consciously maintain mental wellness. Sicad’s lecture was greatly welcomed by over 133 online participants because of the practical ways by which she talked about how we can maintain our mental wellness.
To further achieve mental wellness, she recommends that people:
Acknowledge their stress by talking about it with a supportive person. They need to reach out and reconnect with family and friends. Everyone experiences stress and anxiety. Acknowledging and discussing it will help diffuse it.
Rationalize their thoughts because anxiety from prolonged stress triggers our thoughts about the worst-case scenarios. They need to examine their thoughts and question their irrational fears, then create realistic scenarios of possible strategies or outcomes.
Make carefully thought-out routines, which should include non-strenuous exercises. This is because anxiety from stress thrives on turbulence and uncertainty. This also includes planning their diet to minimize or exclude altogether alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, as well as food containing stimulants. Those with medical conditions, such as hypertension, should strive to achieve good control. Illegal substances are a big no. Also, practice relaxation breathing (3-5 seconds to inhale, hold your breath, exhale, pause, then repeat) of 10 to15 sets, 2-3 times a day.
Practice intentional mindfulness by finding things that occupy and relax their minds at the same time. Focus on every part of their daily routine. Go deeply into each activity in their day, no matter how mundane. Pray. Seek spiritual counseling. Stay away from the mindless use of electronic gadgets. Meditate. Do yoga.
Cultivate a sense of humor by looking for the ridiculous in any stressful situation. Surround themselves with funny and fun-loving people.
Lastly, as a last resort, they need to consult a mental health professional.
At the start of her lecture, Sicad also defined stress, its various stages, its emotional and physical manifestations, and how to detect these among loved ones.
Sicad is an alumna of the BS Biology program of UPV. She earned her degree in medicine at West Visayas State University and her General Psychiatry degree at UP PGH. She is a Fellow of the Philippine Psychiatric Association and a Diplomate of the Specialty Board of Philippine Psychiatry. (Ms. Mary Lyncen M. Fernandez, IPO)