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  • Writer's pictureZsuzska Juhász

Oriental wisdom on how to approach mental health

Updated: Jan 19

Mental health is an essentially important topic nowadays and it should be. Since Covid we have learnt that we need to take care of ourselves more deeply than we ever imagined or in fact expected. It's not a cliche anymore, but a hard truth that we are living in a changing world and considering our well-being and resilience we need to enhance our adaptability on both global and personal level. What we knew about the old way of doing things, let's say the past 20 years, is now  drastically changing. 

Let’s take something common as security as an example. Starting with a hard fact: security, as we thought of it until now, no longer exists. By now (hopefully) everyone realized that we cannot turn back how things were in the past, we cannot walk backwards in time. We need to find a different path and we need to be able to align ourselves, our way of living to accommodate these changes. This gives an enormous pressure on everyone creating high levels of anxiety and worry about the unfamiliar and possibly even scary future we are facing. 

In times like this it is good to have something to lean back on, for example a few thousand years old empiric ancient system which can guide us through this alignment process.

But first let's go back to the basics and define what the concept of mental health is. According to WHO “mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stress of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community. It is an integral component of health and well being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. Mental the basic human right. And it is crucial to personal community and socio-economic development.”

This definition is indeed a complex one, and has a lot of important components which need to be truly considered on the issue of mental health, however most oriental systems have a more holistic approach. What I personally find very useful in this more holistic approach is that it makes very easy to identify the area you need improvement on. 

Most systems regardless if it's a modern or an ancient one, there is some kind of trinity included, and this trinity revolves around the body, the energetic or emotional and the mental or spiritual levels. Since in these systems the basic principle is that an individual cannot be considered happy or content unless they tend to all three of these levels. Therefore if you take a closer (and honest) look at your life you can easily spot which level you have neglected.

Naturally all three levels are very vast and complex, but let me give you a short Introduction to all of them.

The level of the body by nature consists of anything related to the body itself, meaning all the basic nurturing Elements the body needs in our everyday life: proper food, enough sleep and suitable movement, but actually it's more broad than that. Iit is also connected to anything which is a foundation in your life. It's easy to understand that if your groundwork is not good or not stable enough, if your body is not supporting you, you will not be able to achieve any goal in your life, nor live a fulfilled life.

The second level is the level of energy and emotion, and is related to emotional well-being, energy levels and all the connections and relationships you have in your life. To take care of this level you need to practice awareness and recognition of your emotional processes, finding a balance and harmony on how you are relating to them. In western society unfortunately this topic is not very high on the priority list, we are not learning neither from our parents, nor in school how to properly manage our emotions. Depending on how we were raised some emotions could become completely unacceptable and others could have been over exaggerated. To find balance we need to have a healthy way to relate to our emotions. 

The other part of the second level is about our relationships  and communication. I'm sure I don't need to tell you how important is how and what you're communicating, which in fact is even more significant to the ones close to you. It also includes how well you can express yourself and how well you can make yourself understood on a more general level.  In our modern society a lot of people have issues with not being able to show their inner wealth, showcase their amazing skills and knowledge or not being able to connect the way they want to. Fortunately this is something which can be remedied with conscious effort, but it definitely needs attention and willingness to work with.

In my next blog post I will continue with the third level and on exploring the Oriental approach or mental health specifically about how to manage change and how to adapt quickly  and in a smooth way.

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