We Must Remember To Prioritise Mental Health In Times Of National Crisis

By Anushree Nandi

The core and context of India have been tolerance and understanding differences through a model of universality and accommodation. Indian culture could be regarded through the accumulation of thousands of cultures and religious practices. India has the oldest culture in the world with its richness seeping to its knowledge, traditions, and practices.

The ethos of Indian culture lies in the diverse traditions of knowledge deliberated upon in the various texts, artifacts, practices, and forms. Indian philosophy is inclusive of the spiritual growth perspective. The differentiation is only based on knowledge and accommodation of the differentiation through involvement in the larger culture and coming together of the larger beliefs.

The beliefs and ideology which have been ingrained are being challenged by the assumptive conditions being imposed on the people living in the Indian subcontinent. Social attitudes are derived from many private and public, rational and irrational, and conscious and unconscious factors. The interplay of these factors is what influences the unconscious mind.

These feed to the beliefs and formation of the identity of an individual. Thus, the passion for patriotism is born out of it. Patriotism can not only be aligned to only these aspects of the mind, but it is also influenced by the manipulation and exploitation using the power of the people in position (Bader, 2006).

Milgram is a famous name in the context of social psychology, who worked on the topic of obedience, and exhibited how, when we are in the situation with a person who exhibits symbols of power, individuals can be manipulated to any degree of violence by rationalising their acts through the obedience of the person of power.

Patriotism can be good or pure evil. Many wars of liberation have been fought on the patriotic fervor, but unfortunately, the ethnic puritanism works on the same lines. The passion for patriotism has been largely manipulated and exploited through the symbols of authority.

The human need to feel safe and idealise a person or symbol of authority and power is instilled through the parenting process (Bader, 2006). The infant reached for protection from the parent, and the dependence on the power of the parent, thus, the child grows up to idolise power and authority.

If the child is reared with protective and rational understandings, the child understands the correct use of positive and authority. Whereas, when parents fail to use their authority and exercise a general sense of power with their children, the child grows up to be insecure and unable to trust easily.

The uncertainty identity theory, given by Hogg (2007), resonates with this idea in exhibiting that every individual is ridden with uncertainty which leads to him/her joining a group. This, however, can be an extremist or even terrorist or fascist group if the individual uncertainty is high as the belongingness leads to a sense of security.

Maslow’s theory of need hierarchy exhibits how belongingness is a lower-level need, and unless it is accomplished the individual won’t be able to move up the ladder to self-esteem and self-actualisation needs. Thus, people who are not able to get rid of their insecurity give in easily to the authoritarian figures who provide them with a structure and a strict guideline as to the prototype behavior. This is the way political agendas evoke the patriotic passion of the insecure people and push upon the agendas. Thus, the political exploitation of our patriotic passion and distress has become a major stressor of public life.

The support behind many recent threats to unity can be backed by these understandings of human consciousness. The most important aspect of this is understanding and taking the view of all the nitty-gritty of these evolvements and taking care of one’s mental health. Such situations demand immediate recourse and thus, lead to spurs in our lives.

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The dynamic life that we live in is filled with information piling in from various sides and not giving us enough time to process them. But, everyone wants an immediate reaction and their opinion to be heard before others. This pressure leads to the mindless chatter that is created around us.

In such situations, one must take a breather and consider one’s mental health as the utmost priority over anything else. Taking care of one’s mental health in a situation of national crisis can be a bit difficult. The most helpful strategy can be to talk it out with anyone who would listen without judgment, and with a proper understanding of the rationale. Not only a one-sided act, but also lend an understanding ear to others to help them bring their thoughts into perspective and to promote mental health (Mental Health America, 2019).

Other strategies for maintaining your mental health include taking a break from social media. Social media has helped people reach to the masses and accumulate great drift for the pressing cause, but it can also act as a stressor when one is overloaded with too much information.

Thus, taking a breather from social media and engaging in other activities might help maintain a clearer perspective (Hartneck, 2015). Be mindful of the present, taking one step at a time helps a lot in maintaining your mental health. It also helps to give one time to process things well and understand the root and the rationale of the causes. Being mindful of the present gives one a way to take a step back from the daily hustle and pay attention to one’s needs (Kabat-Zinn, 2007).
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Some Pointers That One Can Takeaway To Help Maintain Mental Health:

  • Keep active: Exercise or engage yourself in some activity to indulge your mind.
  • Ask for help: Ask someone to help you with the issue that you are struggling with.
  • Lend a helping ear: Lend an ear to anyone who is in need.
  • Expert help: If the problems persist, then one should ask for help from an expert, such as a clinical psychologist or a counselor.
  • Take a break: Take a hiatus from social media.
  • Do something you are good at: Engage yourself in some activity or hobby of yours.
  • Accept who you are: Do not give in to peer pressure to take sides, having no opinion to maintain your sanity is important.
  • Do what you feel is good for you: Follow your heart and do what you feel is good for you.

The nation needs the collective voice and a rational understanding of the issues that the public is facing, but, a raised voice also has to be a rationale voice. For this matter, one must maintain their mental health. You must have a wit of your own to understand others.

References

Bader, M. T. (2006). The Psychology of Patriotism. The Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 87, No. 8, pp. 582-584

Hard neck, P. (2015). 9 Ways you can improve your mental health today. The Seleni Institute.

Hogg, M. A. (2007). The Uncertainty Identity Theory. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 39, pp. 69-126.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2007). Meditation is Not What You Think. New York: Hachette Books.

Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper and Row.

n.a. (2019). 31 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health. Mental Health America.

 

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