In today’s fast-paced, turbulent, uncertain and social-media obsessed world, anxiety and depression have never been prevalent.
According to the World Health Organization, 3.6 percent of the population (around 264 million people) across the world have an anxiety disorder.
A 2020 study by the University of Sharjah found that 57 percent of people in the UAE suffer from at least one mental health disorder, with the most common ones being anxiety and depression.
However, things are not as bleak as they may seem. There are so many different resources and techniques out there that are specifically designed to help you look after your mental health and improve your quality of life. Ranging from simple things such as keeping a gratitude journal, to trying alternative therapies such as chakra healing and manifestation, six mental health specialists share their top tips for combatting anxiety.
Keep a gratitude journal
Entrepreneur, media specialist and motivational speaker Mariam Farag has spoken openly about her history with anxiety.
She says: “One of the things that made me fall into the trap of anxiety was my overarching fear that I wasn’t achieving enough or doing enough. But we tend to create our own anxiety. Instead, I suggest writing down five things that you’re grateful for every morning in a gratitude book. We need to put less pressure on ourselves and put more focus on appreciating what we do have.”
Check your chakras
Jane Elizabeth Muff, a healer at Miracles Abu Dhabi wellness centre, recommends chakra balancing for those who are feeling anxious or stressed. A form of energy healing, chakra balancing is designed to balance out your energies, and rid your body of any unhealthy emotions or feelings.
She says: “Chakra balancing reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure and eases pain. It can even prevent panic attacks. People often come to me when they are severely stressed. I use my intuition to work out what the cause of their unhappiness is and work with them to overcome it. I’ve helped people come off their anxiety medication. I want people to realize that they don’t have to put up with feeling unhappy. There is something you can do about it.”
Stop The Blame Game
Performance coach Denis Liam Murphy believes that the world’s addiction to blame is behind a lot of people’s unhappiness. He wants people to become honest about what their problems are, look inwards, and stop blaming everyone else around them for their issues.
He says: “We’ve inherited this addiction to blame. It’s thousands of years old. People say if my boss was different, I’d be happier. Or it’s my girlfriend, my wife, or my husband that’s making me upset. It’s almost like a distraction from doing the internal work that you need to do. We’re pushing our problems under a rug and using so much energy to keep a lid on it. That’s why there’s so much chronic illness, tiredness, exhaustion, anxiety and burnout. You have freedom when you’re not in the blame space. Life is designed to be effortless. Once you are no longer in that blame space, things seem to just work out.”
Find a counselor
Dr Saliha Afridi, psychologist and founder of Dubai-based mental health clinic The LightHouse Arabia says thinks it’s essential that all of us have some form of counsellor or life coach, whether that’s a trained professional or a close family member.
“Every great person had a life coach. Even King Arthur had a counselor on his roundtable and we are not meant to navigate through life alone. I have a personal board of advisors, including coaches, Reiki healers and spiritual teachers. I also have a therapist who connects the past, the present and the future. This is essential, because if you don’t understand your history, you will continue to repeat it. We all need a support network.”
UK-based manifestation coach Esther McCann believes that manifesting doesn’t just help people achieve their goals, but also find true happiness.
“Manifesting comes from within us, it’s not just about the tools and intention-setting rituals. It’s a blend of energy, trust, belief and action. Who you are, determines what you create and attract. I help people release their subconscious resistance to love, money, success and more. In doing so, they create new and empowering belief systems that allow them to create a life of happiness.”
Find help and resources
There are a variety of new platforms devoted to providing mental health help, including Houna, which was created by Kuwaiti philanthropist Sheikha Majda Jaber Hamoud Al-Sabah. It aims to support those suffering from mental health issues, raise awareness and encourage open conversation by providing information related to mental health disorders, symptoms and treatments.
Sheikha Majda Al-Sabah says: “No one is immune to changes in mood, fears, anxiety or mental health challenges. We want Houna to be an oasis of knowledge, support, guidance and engagement for people who are dealing with mental health issues and challenges.”