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Mental Health And Stress: How Your Mind Affects Your Overall Wellbeing

Mental Health And Stress: How Your Mind Affects Your Overall Wellbeing
Health & WellnessPost Category - Health & WellnessHealth & Wellness - Post Category - WellnessWellness

Get your mental health in check to keep your body and brain healthy.

Ever wonder why, even if you’ve been working out and eating healthily, you still don’t feel your best? Founder and Director of All About You Centre, Sonia Samtani, tells us it has little to do with what you’ve eaten or how much you’ve exercised, and much more to do with your mind. Over a two-part series, she explains how the mind works, and how you form a blueprint to deal with common situations; useful advice for your mental health.

Read more: 7 Health And Wellness Goals For The Family

Woman looking out window mental health

Mental Health: What Is Wellness?

What do you think of when you hear the words “wellness” or “conscious living”? I bet it’s something associated with yoga, fitness, kale, organic-eating or low-waste living. Fortunately, most women are acutely aware of what wellness means by now and are actively looking for ways to incorporate it into their lives. Unfortunately, when thinking of wellness, most people find it synonymous only with food or fitness with very little emphasis on mental wellness. The truth is, you can do everything “right” – eat all the organic greens and proteins, have a strict exercise regime and an eco-friendly lifestyle. But, if your mind is not at peace, none of these will bring the desired results!

“Your mind is the gateway to wellness and can heal or hinder the state of your body and physical reality”

I am not saying that food and fitness are not important; they definitely are. But, their effects are completely dependent on your state of mind. Your mind is the gateway to wellness and can heal or hinder the state of your body and physical reality. If you think about it, the quality of your life is qualified by how you feel (i.e. if you are happy, stressed, depressed, etc.), and all of this is controlled by your mind.

Every issue you have or have ever had has been sanctioned by your mind, be it physical pain, a relationship issue or emotional feeling. In simple terms, your mind is either at peace or in pain. The state your mind is currently in determines how you feel emotionally, and then your emotions exert energy that permeates into your physical body, and your body reacts accordingly. So, whether your physical body is at ease or has a disease is often dependent on the state of your mind. Since our minds control our lives, we need to look at what the mind is, how it impacts us and what we can do to truly live consciously?

Read more: Raising Resilient Hong Kong Kids By Teaching Them Happiness

Mental health for parents in Hong Kong

Mental Health: What Is The Mind?

The mind is basically a ball of energy all around your physical body, the centre of which is located at your gut. So, your physical body is floating inside your mind, and hence every cell of your body has a memory of everything your mind has experienced (your cellular memories). We may point to our heads when we indicate that we are referring to our mind; that is us pointing to our brain, which is the hardware that runs the software of our mind.

Our mind is split into two parts, conscious and subconscious. Our conscious mind is our logical part which constitutes 10% of our total mind, whereas our subconscious part is 90% and 6,000 times more powerful! Our subconscious mind is like a giant filing cabinet that just collects data of everything that has ever happened – it only really has one job, to keep us alive. So, our subconscious mind isn’t concerned about the quality of our lives, as long as we are ticking! The subconscious mind contains the data of everything that we have ever thought and felt; it contains the blueprint of our beliefs, which influences our behaviour and how we live. Our conscious mind has our desires and subconscious has our beliefs.

“The subconscious mind contains the data of everything that we have ever thought and felt; it contains the blueprint of our beliefs.”

If in any area your desires are aligned to your beliefs (like you want more money and you believe you deserve it), then life works. However, when your beliefs and desires are in conflict, your blueprint takes over and you’ll find that you can’t get what you want no matter how much you desire it or try to change your lifestyle. So, if ever you are experiencing something you don’t want, like anxiety, depression or an inability to stick to your commitments, your subconscious mind is saying the opposite of what you want. This is why it’s so important to look at your beliefs and blueprint when you want to achieve anything you want.

Read more: Your Guide To Meditation And Mindfulness In Hong Kong

Mental health positive thoughts

How Are Beliefs Formed?

Our beliefs are embedded in the subconscious mind but are formed by the way we interpret the events in our lives and the conclusions we draw. Whenever something happens, our conscious mind takes in the “fact” of what’s happening in physical reality, and then it goes through a perceptive filter of what we “make it mean”. Our filter gives us our interpretation of reality and we form a conclusion.

For example, a fact could be that your parents fought relentlessly when you were younger and you could hear the screaming in your room. Your interpretation at the time could be, “I am not safe, relationships are hard, and maybe this is my fault”.  You felt helpless, and perhaps your body coped with this by putting on weight to protect yourself from feeling unsafe. Even if that happened years ago, anytime you make an interpretation three times it becomes a belief, and that belief has the capacity to run your entire life (unless you address it)! So, basically, anytime you are triggered, your mind will tell you that that you are not safe and the weight will stay on until you address your original blueprint and belief.

Read more: Adapting To Change By Setting Goals In Your Life

Wellness in Hong Kong

Wellness Is In The Mind

Now more so than ever, we are understanding that physical disease can be mapped back to your state of mind. For example, many studies (as well as my own cases) have shown that cancer can be linked to repressed feelings of anger and resentment which has been buried deep inside, and releasing these feelings can work towards healing the tumour.

So, if you really want to make a difference to your wellbeing, I would suggest taking a good look at your beliefs. We all have beliefs that are empowering and ones that are limiting, so first let’s get over the stigma that having negative beliefs is bad or wrong. Having limiting beliefs is absolutely normal, yet it’s disempowering and something that can be shifted, so why not address them? My suggestion is to write down the beliefs that you have in various areas:

  • The physical body
  • Relationships
  • Money
  • Self-esteem
  • And life itself

Check the ones that are empowering and what’s limiting. Chances are, the limiting ones are having the biggest impact on your state of mind and general wellness. There are various methods you can adopt to shift your blueprint; you could start with feeding yourself positive affirmations before going to bed (the last 30 mins just before sleeping are most powerful), linking the belief to where it first started and mentally shifting your initial interpretation, or if things persist then seeking help from a professional in the field.

A great place to start is to be consciously aware that wellness begins with the state of your mind. Anything done from a place fear or pain is only going to reinforce that feeling; no matter how much you adapt your behaviour to eat well or exercise more, it won’t give you a permanent shift in how you feel. Regular practices on mindfulness, meditation and being consciously aware of your thoughts is a great place to start. Remember, a healthy mind can get you anywhere!

If you enjoyed this post, watch out for the second part of this series next month. Part Two: Stress: How it’s formed in the mind, what causes it, how it affects the mind and body, and tips on how to handle it.

Read more: Mental Health In Hong Kong: Let’s Talk About It

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in July 2018 and updated in February 2021. 

Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image 1 courtesy of Roberto Nickson (@g) via Unsplash, image 2  courtesy of Xavier Mouton Photographie via Unsplash, image 3 courtesy of Ashley Whitlatch via Unsplash, image 4 courtesy of Ellieelien on Unsplash.

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