You would be surprised to learn that every 40 seconds one person dies of suicide. Annually, we lose about one million people globally, out of which over 200,000 people die in India alone because of this mental epidemic
How many precious lives have we lost to this epidemic of suicide? Just in the last few months, we have read multiple stories of people committing suicide and many of them have had good social, financial and educational standings.
There would be many more precious lives lost to suicide but their names may not be significant enough to make it to the headlines.
Death by suicide is highly painful for people who are left behind. It causes mental havoc in the lives of family, friends and loved ones. Shocked by grief of untimely death of a loved one, added to it is the stigma of suicide which leaves them with devastated, feelings of guilt, of helplessness and resentment of not even being able to say goodbye.
Reading some of the comments on social media by prominent personalities, I realised these heart-rending tragedies leave us with so many unanswered questions…
- Why did they never reach out for any support or help?
- Why didn’t they think of their loved one and families?
- Why did they punish themselves?
- What led them to take such an extreme step?
- What was so pressing and painful in their life?
It’s for certain that people are driven to this sad and extreme step because of mental depression and extreme unhappiness in their lives. These incidents highlight the myth of money, status and fame, for it’s believed that all these can make one’s life happy and fulfilling. On the other hand, they increase vulnerability and fear, which makes it more difficult for celebrities to open up to someone or reach out for help and they end up feeling alone, isolated and distant.
Why people commit suicide
There are multiple mental conditions and factors that can drive people to take their own life, namely depression, isolation, bipolar disorder, persistent pressure, financial or emotional loss, addiction, and chronic illness are just a few of them.
These are typical situations when a person gets into a state of narrow mindedness or tunnelled vision where they are unable to come out of his negative thought process and see no hope in future.
This persistent mental pressure can cause further downward spiral or valley of depression where the person constantly thinks ending his/her life is the only way to find relief from this mental agony.
Mindfulness: A way to healthy life
Most of the time we all are so busy in building our physical and financial strength that we forget to strengthen our intangible and most important emotional and mental abilities.
In today’s world, mindfulness plays an extremely important role in building mental abilities and strength. These practises enhance one’s ability of purposely focusing one’s attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Which means people become less driven by the past and get more invested in the present moment, hence they get more calm and can see themselves more clearly.
Mindfulness enriches a person’s ability to be in the present moment. This helps in observing one’s thoughts and being aware of emotional state.
This develops one’s emotional awareness, meaning, one can observe one’s thoughts and understand that these thoughts are like passing clouds and hence not be emotionally carried away by them.
Today there are enough scientific studies and evidence that support the key role of mindfulness in stress management, cultivating mental well-being and overall happiness.
What to do?
There are many mindfulness practises and techniques which help in cultivating a more calmer state of mind by paying attention to thoughts and sensations without any judgment or prejudice.
One such practice is open awareness and self-compassion. It helps a person deal with depression and build greater capacity to deal with difficult life events.
9 things to do when feeling depressed and isolated:
1. Seek Help: Reach out to friends and family; show your vulnerability, it is strength not weakness.
2. Be aware of your thoughts: Remind yourself, whatever your mind may be thinking may not be true. You can try this meditation to focus attention.
3. Mindful breathing: Five rounds of deep breathing and do it four to five times daily.
4. Mindful walk: Take a mindful walk, just do nothing and observe your breath and sensations.
5. Practice forgiveness: People who forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives. First forgive yourself, there will always be next time.
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new – Albert Einstein
6. Gratitude: Write 10 things that you are grateful for in your life.
7. Avoid smoking and drinking or any other substance abuse as these cause emotional distress rather than creating calm.
8. Find a peaceful place and meditate: Meditation helps you bring self-reflection, relaxation and mental peace. Give yourself just 10 to 20 minutes of your time away from doing, planning, not even thinking, just being with yourself. Best way is to observe your breath or bring attention to whatever is happening in the environment. You might like to try this pre-guided meditation.
9. Do some charity: Look at people who are suffering and how much happiness you can bring in their life.
A regular practise of mindfulness helps people accept their life, experiences and painful emotions, as it is, rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance. No fancy gyms or equipment. just your full awareness in the present moment. This is how a simple practise of mindfulness can improve your mental and emotional health and can improve your quality of life.
There always will be dark clouds in our life, just remember that this too shall pass. Stay connected with your breath and do not shy away from asking help from your family or friends. We all go through difficult life moments and you are not alone and we all are connected to each other.
Hope more and more people can start these practises to bring a check on this growing epidemic of suicide.
Manish Behl, Mindfulness Coach & Conscious Thinker and founder of Mindfulness India Summit and Mindful Science Centre
Author Manish Behl is Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Expert International TEDx Speaker, Neuroscience based Mindfulness educator, mentor and trainer. Founder of Mindfulness India Summit and Mindful Science Centre. He offers practical strategies for leadership transformation, which enhances leadership skills, increase performance, transform anxiety and negativity into calm and focus. He has over 25 year of leadership experience and his workshops facilitate physical and mental wellbeing, cultivate inner peace and fuels purpose and motivation.