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Friday, 21 January 2022

5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Aisha Adam

Mental health involves emotional, psychological, and social well-being. If they are not in equilibrium, they can significantly affect one’s thinking, mood, health and behavior towards others. Oftentimes, more emphasis is placed on physical health and mental health is often disregarded.

Below are 5 easy yet useful techniques to maintain a positive mindset:

1. Practice gratitude

Islam has placed emphasis on making Shukr. Shukr means ‘gratitude’ or ‘thankfulness’ and is one of the highest virtues in Islam.  One of the most beloved words to Allah is Alhamdulillah which means ‘all praise and thanks are for Allah’.

While modern science has recently started placing emphasis on practicing gratitude daily, our Prophet (saw) taught us to make Shukr from the very onset as he (saw) teachings were centered around always making Shukr- no matter how little we have.

Here is an easy way to incorporate this technique in your daily life:

As part of your morning routine, list five things that you are grateful for. For example, you can verbally affirm yourself by saying:

‘Alhamdulillah, I am grateful for ….’ 

Make sure to consistently repeat this technique every day and notice how you start being more positive.

2. Be physically active

Research has proven that physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our mental well-being by providing stress-relief, improving sleep and mood patterns and increasing energy levels. Try every day to exercise in one form or another, either by taking a walk or in nature, going for a run or simply doing a home work-out. Consistency is key, and focusing on your physical health will automatically improve your mental health.

3. Connect with others

In today’s age, in an attempt to strike a balance between work and our personal lives, we often disregard socializing and connecting with others. Research has shown that connecting with others can be beneficial. It regulates emotions, increases empathy and improves our immune systems.

In order to have a positive mindset, it is important to make time for socializing including going out with friends, meeting up with colleagues outside of work, or having a family dinner.

4. Practice self-care

Self-care means taking care of yourself so you can be healthy and well, both physically and mentally. It is one of the leading factors resulting in coping with our daily stressors.

A self-care routine does not have to be something too hectic, but can literally be small things you do every day to make yourself feel better. Below are some activities you can include in your self-care routine: 

  1. Start journaling daily
  2. Read a chapter of a book daily
  3. Light a candle and meditate
  4. Go for nature walks
  5. Do something crafty; knitting, painting or a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) activity

5. Meditate

Meditation is essential for promoting mental health and this mindful exercise can stimulate relaxation and inner peace, which ultimately contributes to good mental health. It is known to promote emotional well-being, reduce anxiety and depression and improve memory.

Our beloved Prophet (saw) used to practice spiritual meditation also known as Muraqabah. He (saw) used to meditate in the cave of Hira, where he received the first revelation from Allah. As such, Muraqabah is highly encouraged to gain closeness to Allah and strengthen your Imaan.

Below are tips on how to prepare for Muraqabah: 

  1. Make fresh wudhu and read 2 rakats Nafl salah
  2. Recite Kalimah Shahadah (3 times), Istighfar (70 times), Surah Ikhlas (3 times) and Surah Fatiha (1 time).

Method on how to perform Muraqabah

  1. Choose a time of the day when you can be in a quiet place alone
  2. Choose a posture you find comfortable or relaxing e.g. sitting on a chair, sleeping etc.
  3. Begin by focusing on your natural breathing
  4. Begin to perceive the feeling of ‘muraqabah’ with Allah- know and ‘feel’ that He is watching you
  5. Supplicate or remember Allah; His Beautiful Creation, His Attributes (He is The Most Merciful, The Most Forgiving…)
  1. If your mind starts to wander off, bring your awareness back by reciting the remembrance of Allah
  2. Start by practicing this for 5 minutes a day, and then gradually prolonging your period of meditation over time.

 As you practice Muraqabah and nurture gratitude to Allah for bestowing His blessings upon you, the angels write this down in your record of good deeds and polish away some of the rusted spots from your heart, insha Allah. (source: Yaqeen Institute) 

We hope this blog helps you incorporate techniques to adapt a positive and healthy mindset for 2022. May Allah SWT shower His endless blessings and Rahmah upon us, and grant us good health and prosperity this year, Ameen.

 


Muslim Hands ZA

Established in 1996, Muslim Hands South Africa is an aid agency and NGO aiming to help those affected by natural disasters, conflict and poverty. It is a branch of Muslim Hands UK established in 1993 in Nottingham.