A Healthy Mind for a Healthy Life
As October – the month we honor mental health – draws to a close, let us remember that acknowledging and respecting our mental wellbeing is imperative all year round.
All too often, we focus on the physical being, spending our time and resources to keep our bodies fit, healthy and strong, and we overlook our mental health.
However as David R Hamilton, PhD, shares in his book “It’s the thought that counts”, medical research shows that body and mind are intertwined. Every thought, feeling, and intention you have sends ripples throughout your body. They can be so powerful they even affect our genes. The implications are enormous, and every function of the human body is susceptible to these thoughts and feelings.
Navigating states of anxiety, mood swings and high stress are part of life, but when we fall into severe and chronic states that impact our overall health, and our emotional, psychological and social well-being we need to reach out for help.
However, whilst times are changing, mental health problems are still perceived to be a sign of weakness and is considered taboo in daily conversations. Sufferers are left alone with a sense of guilt, shame and hopelessness, impacting their welfare, inter-personal connections, work productivity and personal lives. Here’s the thing: we all have the potential to develop mental health problems, no matter our age, gender and social economic status. Given the alarming rising rates of stress, anxiety and depression in Hong Kong, we all owe it to each other to speak up and step up for ourselves and each other.
Here are some suggestions to support our mental wellbeing on a daily basis. These are not intended to replace therapies or treatment prescribed by qualified doctors. The key to success is detecting early warning signs and receiving qualified treatment. Therapies, medications and self-help are part of successful treatments.
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based approach that helps people to manage their thoughts, feelings, and mental health. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (or MBSR) is an 8-week group program that was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s to treat patients struggling with life’s difficulties and physical and/or mental illness (Kabat-Zinn, 2013). MBSR is available in HK through qualified facilitators. For more information: https://mindfulnessteachers.hk/
- Bach Remedies – The original Bach Flower Remedies is a safe and natural method of healing discovered in the 1920s by Dr Bach, an English doctor. They gently restore the balance between mind and body by casting out negative emotions like fear, worry, hatred and indecision which interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. The Bach Flower Remedies are made from wild flowers and are safe for the whole family including pets.
- Support Groups – Reach out for help in your community. OCD & Anxiety Support HK was set up in January 2014 to support, educate and to be a resource for individuals suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Anxiety Disorders (AD). The aim of this not for profit organisation is to give mental health sufferers a voice to express how they feel, to reduce stigma and to build a sense of community where individuals feel safe and accepted. For more information: https://iocdf.org/organizations/ocd-anxiety-support-hong-kong/
OCD & Anxiety Support HK’s founder, Minal Mahtani, brings to bear personal experience and a wealth of professional experience to support mental health sufferers. We are honoured to have her join us here to share three more techniques on a daily basis.
- Deep breathing – Practice deep breathing to calm the mind and activate the part of the brain responsible for relaxation and restoration. Try deep abdominal breathing, inhaling through your nose to the count of three (1-2-3), holding the breath for 1 second and then exhaling through your mouth to the count of 3 (1-2-3). As you breathe out feel any tension/stress leaving your body. Practice 5 rounds and then return to normal breathing and observe how you feel.
- 5 senses Mindfulness – When you feel anxious or stressed, practice the 5 senses mindfulness technique by naming and describing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch (go touch them), 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste (roll your tongue around your mouth to find the current flavour of your mouth).
- Be kind to yourself – Practice self-compassion by being kind to yourself when you make a mistake, feel anxious, or when something goes wrong. Cultivate the habit of praising yourself each day for something that you are proud of achieving no matter how small. This boosts self-esteem and helps to combat feelings of depression and anxiety.
With the right support and treatment, mental health sufferers can make it to the other side. This month and for every month of the year, we need to be responsible for ourselves and each other. We need to create a safe and healthy society where we can share the challenges we face without fear of judgement or lack of understanding. Be it at home, at play or in the work environment, we need to speak up and step up for mental health.
“Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on.”
Manipura Wellness Practice
Photo by Fannie Wong Man Lai, Hong Kong
Kirtan for All
Kirtan WhatsApp Group with Monthly Events and Playlists
We have been growing beautifully and organically and have created a WhatsApp group for our community. The objective of this group is to share Kirtan and related events, Spotify playlists, and our passion for healing.
If you wish to join the group, please WhatsApp me on: 9126.3747
Want to know more about Kirtan? Visit www.manipurawellness.com/kirtan/
Meditation with Kirtan at IMI Central
6.15-7.15pm, 26 Nov
In this unique blend of Kirtan – the usage of powerful yet gentle mantras – techniques, and guidance, Cristina aims to help you to develop a simple mindfulness or meditation practice.
To secure your seat book now by calling 2523.7121 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meditation with Kirtan at NEW Enhale Meditation Studio
6.30-7.30pm, 23 Oct
Enhale Family welcomes Kirtan at their new Meditation Studio in the
heart of Central. Enhale is here to bring out the best of you. Feel great being your best self.
Fee: Free launch session
To secure your seat book now https://enhalems.com/schedule/
Kirtan at Women’s Empowerment DayFest
9:30-5:30pm, 10 Nov, Platform Coworking
A wonderful day of nurturing and connecting to self as we journey together to rise into the empowered feminine with Michelle Harris.
Kirtan joins so we express our truth and chant for inner peace.
Event link: www.facebook.com/events/515401068873804/
Kirtan Home Session
6.00-7.00pm, 14 Nov
We are blessed to be invited by chanter Cats to host our monthly Kirtan session at her home in Mid-Levels. As our voices unite, we help our body soothe and release emotions through the powerful and healing sounds produced by ancient sacred mantras.
Fee: Free, just bring your vegetarian potluck to share
Number of chanters: 12 maximum
To secure your seat book now by WhatsApp 9126.3747 or