With Mental Health Awareness Day coming up on 10 October, the world is gearing up for “40 seconds of action” to raise awareness towards the scale of suicide around the world. In Namibia, suicide has become the number cause of death with a 2018 Ministry of Health report putting the rate of deaths from suicide at one per day.
To lead up to Mental Health Awareness Day, this MYD Africa episode highlights one of the best ways of treating mental health.
Meditation has been proven by researchers to help with managing negative emotions such as anger and fear and Melissa Mukaiwa is a practitioner who is passionate about teaching people how to use meditation to center themselves and find both physical and mental health.
MYD: It’s becoming more acceptable to talk about meditation. Are you seeing this as well?
It’s terrible to say but as things like depression, insomnia and anxiety increase, the need for awareness of solutions increases. That’s why meditation is getting a ridiculous amount of air play over the past two to five years, because it’s simple, practical and accessible and it works.
We also have a ridiculous amount of science behind it now. So the barriers that would keep people from engaging with meditation before, like ideas and beliefs steeped in a certain cultures or religions are being broken down.
MYD: We’d love to hear from you about connection. What is connection, real connection?
I think it depends on how you are going to think about it. You might see connection as being able to connect with other people or engage with them or feel comfortable with them, but I don’t think that is actually possible unless you’re fully comfortable with yourself. So the first part of connection is really just getting to know who you are, what makes you tick, what makes you come alive, what’s important to you and then actually taking that knowledge once you’ve gone through that process of understanding, and actualising it in the things that you do daily.
MYD: What are some of the other ways in which disconnection from ourselves manifests?
On a very practical physical level, if you are disconnected from yourself, your entire reality is lived in your thought scapes. So you worry about the future or the past and when you come back into your body through meditation, you realise that there was a pain in your foot, but that pain had always been there. So often you’ll hear about people who go to the doctor and there were a million warning signs before they started being unable to sleep, losing appetite, getting upset, anxious or depressed. This is all feedback from the body. Your emotions and the way you feel, this is all feedback from the body which always tends towards balance and homeostasis. By being connected just on a physical level you can get feedback on what your body is trying to tell you, so you can live healthier and perform better and that helps you know what you want and what you like. It helps you make better decisions in life and improves your quality of life.
MYD: What are your parting words of advice for Namibia?
In terms of where the world is right now, you know you can often feel hopeless and helpless, but what I would say to everyone is; use this as an opportunity to look into the world and hear, because a lot of the time we like to be very well informed and know what’s going on in the news and we can speak very eloquently and very well about the problem, we don’t have a lot of people speaking about the solutions and asking themselves, to what degree can I as an individual contribute to the solution.
Catch MYD Heart on 99FM, Mondays to Fridays at 17H35 on ‘The Pulse’.
Catch the MYD Africa Show on 99FM every Wednesday @ 18h00 or Watch the MYD Africa Show on One Africa TV (GOtv 90, DStv 284, NBC 301, DStv Now, TV2Africa.com) every Tuesday at 20h00 with repeats on Thursdays at 06h30 and Sundays at 19h30.