Taking care of your mental well-being should be your number one priority

October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The 2023 theme is “Mental health is a universal human right”.

The first World Mental Health Day was declared on October 10, 1992, by Richard Hunter, who was the deputy secretary general of World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) at that time.

Corporates and organisation worldwide hold awareness programs to create awareness and work towards reducing the stigma associated with mental well-being.

It begins with us

World Mental Health Day is a reminder call to pause and reflect on our own mental well-being and assess where we are in that journey. Our journey towards sound mental well-being starts with us. The stress we carry about our work, relationships, expectations, and just about everything else, has the power to weaken our thoughts, emotions and actions. In order to control the flow of our thoughts, we first need to be aware. Awareness of our thoughts can lead to identifying pathways to refine them and actions that we need to perhaps redesign in shaping our attitude towards life and its stressors.

A journey is always made of small steps. Here are some workplace hacks that you can use to improve the quality of your life:

Pause and breathe

Workplace stress can be very overwhelming. Deadlines to be pursued. Performance appraisals. Toxic managers. Team conflicts. Unclear job descriptions. The list can be never ending. Pause when you get that feeling of being overwhelmed. Pause when you feel your heart racing at the very thought of a task to be finished. Once you have paused, breathe in deeply and pay attention to your breathing. ‘Mindful breathing’ can be practiced anytime and anywhere in your workplace.

Share and talk

Look around. You will be surprised to find that you are not alone in your struggle. Life is made up of many curves and ups and downs. And everyone experiences them. When you share your personal story, you will find comfort that there are many who are with you and many who have successfully crossed the hurdles. Being part of a community provides support and comfort. Most importantly, it gives us courage to deal with situations.


This ain’t something new. We know the importance of prioritisation. Yet, it merits discussion because not many of us practice it. Learn to say ‘no’ to things that are not urgent, nor important, and not required to be done by you. Ask yourself ‘what will happen if I don’t do this?’ Take breaks between work to recharge and feel refreshed.

Cultivate a positive mindset

Do you know that for every negative thought generated, it takes at least three positive thoughts to offset that thought?!

According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a positivity researcher at the University of North Carolina, we need to apply the 3-To-1 Positivity Ratio to change our negative mindset and move towards a thriving mindset. “Positivity doesn’t mean we should follow the axioms Grin and bear it or Don’t worry, be happy,” Fredrickson says. “Those are simply superficial wishes. Positivity runs deeper. It consists of the whole range of positive emotions—from appreciation to love, from amusement to joy, from hope to gratitude, and then some.” We can control our thoughts the way we want them and therein lies the trick and answer to generating positivity. Fredrickson further says, “The potential for life-draining negativity lies within you, just as does the potential for life-giving positivity. You have more say than you think about which you feel and when. The treasure for your own positivity is waiting.”

Lifelong commitment

But mental well-being is not about one day. One celebration. One office event. One HR activity.

It needs to be sustained. It needs to be our number one priority. We need to be consistent and regular with our journey towards our own mental well-being. We need to be the master of our own life!

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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