Mental Health in your five (5) Senses
In today's world, we can easily conclude that we have as much mentally unhealthy people as there are physically sick people. In reality, there are more mentally sick people than the physically sick today.
Mental illnesses are just hard to detect, aside from in obvious cases of psychosis, neurotic disorders prevail among people today. Everyone is basically carrying his/her own share of the mental health pandemic, and the 21st century is only making things worse, instead of helping.
In this brief mental health article, I'll be looking at mental health through our five senses - vision, olfaction, taste, audition and somatosense. I'll be exploring how these senses contribute to our mental health and how we can protect our mental health through these senses.
Remember, our senses are what connects our minds with the world around us, and the information they feed our brains can mean a lot to our mental health and wellbeing.
Mental Health and What you See: Vision
Remember the common saying that a smile is contagious! If someone smiles at you, it's only natural to smile back at them. That's neuroscience in play. With pleasant images and pleasant scenarios, we naturally tend to be happier and feel better about ourselves and those around us. This interplay could be more complex than this and goes deep into higher levels of neurosciences, but let's leave it at this.
With this in mind, the question is, what do you feed your eyes with? Too much exposure to horrible and graphic images and videos could mean more harm than good to our mental health and wellbeing. In a world of violence and hatred, if you make it a point of duty to avoid highly graphic visual materials, you could be a bit more happier, that's especially so, if you could control what you hear.
Mental Health and What we Hear: Audition
Our ears are the microphones of our body. They're very unique organs and one of the most enduring. With our ears we hear the world around us. The world is a place filled with mixed events, both good and bad, and a simple news is usually enough to alter our mental health state, either in a desirable or undesirable manner.
So, what to do? For me, I think the mainstream media should be rebranded as a portal for bad news and maybe, a new form of media developed to deliver goodnews to people. I know of an agency that tried delivering goodnews, but it failed as the search process for goodnews was really tedious. If you can do without, I'll recommend you limit your consumption of news. Keeping up with the news coverages daily, or for some, hourly, we result in an unreversible harm to your mental health.
But sometimes, even without bad news or sight, our mental health may not be at it's best. Could it be our environment?
Mental Health and What we Feel: Somatosense
What you feel in this case refers to what you feel in your skin and not that which you may feel in your head. Your immediate environment plays a vital role in the state of your mental health. You can easily get mad in a crowded, hot, noisy and unfavorable environment.
This is why when people gather to protest. It may not take long before a peaceful protest deteriorates. The environmental condition impacts their mental health negatively, and increases the tendency to become violent.
So, make conscious efforts to make your home, office and your surroundings a safe and comfortable place. Do the little things such as good housekeeping, cleaning and open up windows for good ventilation, it will always make a difference.
Mental Health and What we Smell: Olfaction
Our sense of smell is vital to our mental health and wellbeing. A quick and relatable analogy is this: who do you rather spend time with? Someone wearing a nice and moderate cologne or one without? You no doubt know what's best for you.
An environment that smells nice or at least, is odourless brings more calmness and relief than one with some unnatural odour. So, don't cheap out on how well your surroundings and you yourself smell. Your fragrance can be what someone needs to change a bad day to something more pleasant.
Mental Health and What you Eat: Taste
While food is more than taste, we cannot deny the importance of taste when it comes to choosing food and actually eating. Coming home only to taste a very salty food, after a tough work day spent on junks and trashy meals could easily change a bad day to a worse one.
The quality of a meal is usually directly correlated with its taste (may not always be so). So, take time out, prepare good and tasty quality meals and indulge yourself in them. And trust me, you will thank yourself later.
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. And prevention has always trumped over cure. So, never skimp on efforts to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Don't forget, good health is a sound mind, in a sound body.