How to nurture mental well-being according to a clinical psychologist

May 22, 2022  — Our classrooms and workplaces are waiting for us. Ready or not, we have to go back into the world. But some of us are understandably hesitant to leave our safe spaces, so how do we do it?
“The challenge of the new normal in the mental health arena is to craft a lifestyle that will prevent the development of stress reactions into serious conditions, [and] help us become stronger and better persons experiencing mental health,” Dr. Violeta Bautista, licensed clinical psychologist and director of UP Diliman Psychosocial Services said.
The UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences, led by the Committee on Online Instruction (CAS-COI) hosted the webinar It’s Okay Not to Be Okay: Safeguarding Our Mental Health in the New Normal” to help faculty members better prepare themselves, mentally and emotionally, for the blended learning modes of instruction and the return to a limited face-to-face classroom setup.
During the webinar, Dr. Bautista shared that the Filipino term equivalent to mental health is ginhawa. Nurturing ginhawa is associated with sigla, gana, gaan, and ligaya which, when achieved, connotes a person’s total well-being.
Sigla. A person who experiences ginhawa has energy and strength, both physical and psychic to take up the challenges of life. 
Gana. Persons who are psychologically healthy have an appetite and enthusiasm for life. May ganang kumain, magtrabaho, at mabuhay. They are well integrated, well functioning, and effective in what they are doing.
Gaan, or the ease by which we go through life. What are the characteristics of people you would like to work with, study with, and be with? Mentally healthy persons are described to be “magaang kasama”, “magaang magdala ng problema”, and “magaan ang pakiramdam sa sarili”. 
Finally, the affective consequence of sigla, gana, and gaan is ligaya — a life well-lived that is experienced with joy, peace, and a sense of purpose. 
Growing in mental health is a process
“[However], there is something about ginhawa to take note of; [that is], we do not immediately become psychologically healthy.” You will be in a crisis, you will struggle, and you will experience what it’s like to be unsettled. But if you put your life together and deal with the challenges, you will thrive and eventually, excel.
Our mental health can be compromised, but the good news is we can always recover. With diligence and determination, and wisdom, we can once again recover, thrive, and excel. 
“Upang mas epektibo nating ma-proseso kung anuman ang ating mga pinagdadaanan o mga agam agam sa malapit na hinaharap o ‘developing normal’, huwag nating kalimutang alagaan hindi lamang ang ating pisikal na kalusugan kundi maging ang ating mental health upang patuloy nating makamit ang ginhawa,” Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Mary Dorothy dL. Jose, PhD remarked.
[For us to effectively process whatever we are going through or our doubts about the near future or ‘developing normal’, let us not forget to take care not only of our physical health but also our mental health so that we can continue to achieve ginhawa.]
College of Arts and Sciences Dean Maria Constancio O. Carillo, PhD added that just as we were challenged by the world’s shut down two years ago, it is imperative to have a deeper view of how the world presently works to help us navigate the post-pandemic times. 
For Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Nymia P. Simbulan, the colleges and departments will have to support their students, staff, and faculty during this transition by planning  preventive, promotive, and curative policies/programs, services, and activities at various levels of the college and community.

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