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By Ab. Razak Md. Noh, Ketua Penolong Pengarah Kanan Promosi Kesihatan, Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Sabah.

Mental Health (Healthy Mind)

A person well-being in life relies on his or her mental health condition. Good mental health helps a person to face all the challenges in life whereas poor mental health contributes to the unwanted action which harmful to a person and others especially family.

Mental health or healthy mind is the skill to peace of mind, control anger, resolve conflicts, decision making and good time management.

What are the differences between healthy mind and mental illness?

Mental illness is a disease suffered by a person. One has to face four level of situation in dealing with stress or problem. Level one is when we are restless, still energetic, signs of light stress. Level two is that fret heavier, feel like burdened, still easy to treat. Level three is when we feel frustrated, “the more we try the more difficult it is like”, signs of headache, anger, difficult to treat. Level four is exhaustion, lifeless, uncontrolled which lead to mental problem and physical illnesses. As for this level, we may conclude that the person is experiencing mental illness.
Mental health refers to the needed skill to overcome stress to face our life.

What are the signs that indicate the person is experiencing mental health problem?

Mental health or healthy mind related to stress and our respond physically, emotionally and mentally whenever we face challenges, change in life. For instance, when we chase by a dog, we might shiver physically, afraid and we run as fast as we can. We will continually worry as if we might have been chased by dog whenever we pass through the related area.

Signs that indicate we are experiencing stress are:

I. Physically; dry mouth, nervous, difficult to sleep, get tired, loss of appetite, headache and body aches
II. Emotionally; restless, easy to get angry, weak-willed, easy to give up
III. Behaviour; smokes heavily, eat heavily, easily startled and drug abuse
IV. Mind; worry, lack of focus, easy to forget and afraid of failure

How we can get a healthy mind to avoid mental illness?

As for a good mental health, we need to acknowledge skills in dealing with every problem which make us stress so that we are capable and able to face those stresses and not to give up, lose control or harboured feelings. These skills are important in workplace especially when we are dealing with “Dateline” or there are too many tasks and responsibilities need to do at the same time. Besides, good mental health allows us to handle our busy routine at home as well as to look after our health. Of all the skills required are positive thinking, control anger, assertive self, problem solving and relaxation technique.
As for today, we will share a few skills in establishing healthy mind. Those are:

A. Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is an individual ability to see goodness in every situation even it is negative. This is able to control the situation and help the person to solve his or her problems in a good way.

For this reason, we need to avoid negative thinking and try to cultivate positive values to ourselves instead of negative values. For examples, we always feel like we are not clever, not pretty, we are unable to do something which we can do actually. Thus, we really need to change all those negative values in ourselves to positive values. For examples; “i am not clever” to “i am clever”, “i am not pretty” to “i am pretty”, “i cannot do that” to “i can do that” and “i am not able to do that” to “i am able to do that”.

B. Control Anger

Anger is an emotion problem due to uncontrolled stress. This can be solved by practising 3B in Malay which are Berhenti (Stop), Berfikir (Think) and Bertindak (Action);

I. Berhenti: Stop being angry so that we have plenty of time to consider the situation (Seeing and listening); for us to calm down while taking a deep breath, recite the doa and take ablution. If we cannot control the anger, we just leave the respective place immediately.
II. Berfikir: It is recommended to think and to plan before we talk to the person who we are angry with, try to identify and solve the problem, don’t do something that complicates the problem, remain on the issue, don’t bring up old disputes and no hard feeling.
III. Bertindak. Take an action. It refers to our effort to overcome things cause problems.

C. Strictly Personal

Strictly Personal refers to our ability to express our feelings, needs and ideas clearly, honest and straightforward and respect the needs and feelings of others at the same time. For instance, when a person wants to lend money from us, we dare to say unable to help without offending the person. Or, as if there is a person invite us to smoke, we dare to say NO.

D. Problem Solving And Decision Making. We may use the IDEAL method to solve problems as follows:

I- (Identify). Identify the problem
D- (Describe). Elaborate on possible solutions
E- (Evaluate). Evaluate progress
A-(Act). Do choices for action
L-(Learn). Review the effectiveness of the action

As a guidance, it is very important for us to identify what is the problem and who is involved. Write down the process of decision making. Recommended solution. State down the good and bad for each recommendation. Choose the best recommendation base on good and bad recommendations. Believe in ourselves, even it is not 100% right, just believe on what we have done and don’t hurry to make a decision.

Are They Any Ways To Help Us In Maintaining Our Healthy Mind?

Apart from the skills we have discussed, we also recommended to do a few activities to help and cultivate healthy mind such as exercise, sports, picnic, traveling with family, massage, praying and sharing problems with our friends and people we love. In short, we practice the 10 B concept whenever we stress.

Those 10B’s in Malay are:

1. Bertenang / Calm down,
2. Bernafas dengan dalam / Taking deep breath
3. Berkata “Relaks, Tak Mengapa” / Saying “Relax, it is ok”
4. Beribadat / Worship
5. Bercakap dengan seseorang / Talk to someone
6. Berurut / Massage
7. Berehat dan mendengar muzik / Rest and listening to music
8. Beriadah / Recreation
9. Bersenam / Exercise
10. Berfikiran positif / Positive Thinking

Therefore, it is very important for us to focus on the importance of looking after our self-worth or dignity and not labelled mentally troubled person or mentally ill performance institutions and communities. We also need to learn how to handle stress wisely and correctly. Learn about positive thinking, control anger, improve self-assertiveness, practicing IDEAL concept in solving problems and decision making as well as practicing 10 B’s Concept. Apart from that, we need to change people’s perception and stigma about mental illness as it is not humiliating and degrading. Mental illness people need our support and they should not be discriminated whether in the community or workplace.

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