Thousand Reflections: How can we be mentally healthier in 2017?

Issue #23

About Thousand Reflections: Thousand Network is full of people from all walks of life and background. Here, we try to tap into this collective wisdom by offering a prompt every week and sourcing short responses from the members.

This Week’s Prompt:

2016 was a rough year for many people, and it closes on a world that is more unstable than ever. People are more and more attached to a screen, robots are a step away from taking over, the weather is heating up and so is war and violence, and the times they are a’changin’, indeed.

Chances are pretty good, we won’t be able to fix the world by ourselves in 2017. Maybe the best we can do is to be healthier ourselves, and in doing so, make a healthier world.

This month, we are focusing on mental health, so this week, give us your ideas. What will help us — individually, as a society, as young people, as leaders — be healthier mentally in the new year? What will you do personally, if anything? What would you recommend if there were no barriers, and what ideas could be realistically implemented?

Shihab Uddin

I am a bit troubled in summarizing the previous year, calculating gains and losses, but I feel the need to be mentally happy is an important part of leading a comparatively successful life.

Mental illness, in my opinion, is being unable to control yourself and your emotions. I grew up in a environment where a few of my family members were mentally unstable. But I have realized from their situations that they are also normal human beings. They also have those same spooky, weird thoughts like us, but as ordinary people we can control those feelings. They can’t, and so they outburst.

As for keeping myself mentally healthy in 2017, my recipe is sticking to routine, building habits such as writing regularly, exercising daily, talking with friends on an intellectual level, just thoughtful conversations with no emotional attachments.

I know the feelings of loneliness, being left out, being down or guilty will come to take me away at some point. The important part is getting through those feelings in the shortest possible time, getting back on the track and making progress again.

Gillian Rhodes

How can we be mentally healthier? I’m not sure I could possibly dare to presume what would help other people. I’ve come to learn that I’m naturally resilient — and as such, it’s difficult for me to understand people who aren’t. It took me a long time to understand that I couldn’t just tell my sister, who is clinically depressed, to “think positive.” She can’t. It’s not in her chemistry.

Maybe these things would help, then, and maybe they wouldn’t. I think we would be mentally healthier as a species if we did two things: 1, Spent more time in nature, and 2, saw the stars every so often. I’d like to say fancy stuff about connecting more, listening more, loving more, being respected and respecting, but the thing is, I’m not sure if that’s something we can just “turn on” like a switch.

Personally, my recipe is simple, and not so simple. That is to consistently, constantly, without any reason whatsoever and sometimes even when there is great reason not to, stupidly, foolishly, and fully, respond to the world with love. It is not easy at all, and I am not often very good at it. I wasn’t very good with it in 2016, but I will work more in 2017 — and most importantly, forgive myself if I lose it every now and then.

This is the first part of our January series on Mental Health. If you enjoy this series, be sure to click the green heart to recommend and follow the publication so you never miss an issue!

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