Since Covid-19 mental health has become a buzzword. When you visit news sites, read news papers, watch television or scroll through social media messages published by celebrities and influencers. There will be topics related to mental health. Especially celebrities speak out much more often about their mental health struggles. Now, the question is what is mental health and how can we deal with mental health issues in these difficult times?
Sunita Pattani is a psychotherapist and researcher, who is currently specializing in using energy psychology to treat psychological trauma. Sunita also published books about mental health and recently she co-authored her third book, The Quantum Science of Happiness with doctor Amit Goswami, who is based in America. Over the years Sunita has helped more than 1000 people with mental health related problems.
“When we look at mental health from a surface perspective, the question that we ask is, “How can I feel better?”, but actually, the pursuit of mental health needs to go much deeper and really should be about looking very closely at our individual and collective belief systems.”
Defining mental health
The definition of mental health according to Mental Health .Gov is “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood”. Sunita also adds that mental health is a “whole-being experience”. “Which means that the mind and body are not separate and that they are deeply interconnected and are in constant communication”. So, when it comes to the treatment of mental health, there are different facets that needs to be addressed: mind, emotional, physical body and environment.
Concept Transcendent Mind
In 2014 Sunita launched a book about emotional wellbeing ‘The Transcendent Mind The Missing Peace in Emotional Wellbeing’. After working with a lot of people she noticed patterns of what healing looked like. Therefore she proposed the concept of a Transcendent Mind and how it relates to emotional healing. In an age where depression, stress and anxiety have become such common terms, Sunita states that we should deepen our approach and begin to question who we are at the very core. Pattani discusses why exploring the link between science, spirituality and phenomena such as near-death experiences, is essential to long-term emotional healing, and guides you through the key concepts that you need to apply in order to live more of a peaceful life.
“My view has always been that in order to get the most of our healing process, we first have to understand more about ourselves and our environment. The Transcendent Mind is a book that explored the nature of our reality from a psycho-spiritual-scientific perspective, and then gave some guidance on how to start the healing process. I think society would be somewhat different if more of our education was geared towards understanding ourselves – it affects everything, from dealing with our thoughts and emotions, to understanding our learning styles and passion. Much of our outer experience is a reflection of our inner world – our thoughts, feelings and beliefs systems”.
Suffering mental health in silence
There seems to be a culture of shame, silence and even taboo in the South Asian community when it comes to discussing psychological health. The silence of suffering mental health problems has a couple of different facets says Sunita. “There’s definitely a huge need for mental health awareness in the South Asian community which I think includes:
- Understanding what mental health means.
- Understanding who you are as a human being – the fact that you have a mental aspect, an emotional aspect, a physical aspect, a spiritual aspect and then a social/environmental aspect.
- Understand how to work towards healing/improve your mental health.
“Beyond this, when we consider the South Asian community, I think that there has been a lot stigma attached to mental health and what it means. I have worked with many members of this community and it’s not uncommon for people to be considered “mental/mad” when they’re dealing with mental health conditions.”
“Furthermore, as with all communities, the South Asian community does come with its own nuanced belief systems, deeply rooted within its culture. So for example, our experiences include arranged marriages, honour killings, living in extended families, marrying within one’s own religion/culture etc, and of course this has quite an effect on one’s mental health, and in order to tackle these issues, we need awareness, conversation and understanding.”
Impact of Covid-19
During this difficult time, living in a lockdown situation makes it even more challenging to look after our physical and mental health. Many of us are looking for ways to strengthen our immune system to function properly.
“Covid-19 impacts our lives in many ways. We see an increase of fear of the disease itself and fearing for our loved ones. Then there is isolation and loneliness, especially youngsters are feeling alone since the lockdown and fear about their educational progress. People are losing their jobs or are threaded to financial security. It’s now even more difficult in getting more work. We are afraid of not being able to get the right medical attention, not having anyone to look after the children, not to mention the frontline staff who are dealing with the coronavirus patients and deaths. Effectively these worries and fears may all be perceived as traumatic experiences.”
Sunita recommends a couple of techniques for daily practice to stop anxiety, or stress related symptoms. There are a couple of techniques that can help to lower down anxiety or stress levels.
- Ensuring that you have a daily routine
- Eat in the most balanced/nutritious way that you can
- Go out for a walk if you can – fresh air is super important
- Watch and engage in things that make you happy, like listening to music
- And do some tapping……(emotional freedom techniques)
And no, we are not talking about a new dance form. Tapping is a technique…. Used to delve a little bit deeper to understand ourselves by analyzing our emotions and what they mean. “We can’t work with something or fix something unless we know what we are dealing with. Tapping can help to raise awareness how the body and mind are linked“.
“A lockdown situation can impact people in different ways. We all experience thoughts, emotions, physical sensations of some sort, with many of these causing stress in the body. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a tool that allows you to shift that energy and calm the nervous system by tapping on certain acupressure points. The technique encourages you to become mindful of the different sensations, to acknowledge them and then to release them. Techniques that address an individual’s mental, emotional and physical level can be very effective at helping one to process emotions and calm the mind.”
Sunita made a webinar series that people could access via her website which will teach you more about the tapping technique and how to use it in a safe-space environment.
Sunday 10 January Sunita will be online on social media to discuss the main factors a person needs to recognize if it comes to mental health. What is it? She will elaborate about the different levels of mental health and how it can affect people, but also how it can be managed. This crash course with tips and tricks will be supported by Hinal Pattani. He will accompany Sunita, during this live session, on the piano to give you some relief from all the stress related to the coronavirus.