Mindfulness in ramadan is the main theme here. Mindfulness seems simple, but it actually shifts your focus and can really help ease your nerves before going back into a loud or crowded room. Well mindfulness can last however long you need them to. Mindfulness in ramadan never ends. The fear of feeling left out drags us most of our day thats where mindfulness in ramadan helps. From one destination to the next, we move on without giving much thought.
We are in such an automated mood that sometimes we fail even to acknowledge the emotions we feel at that moment. It gets buried deep down, and mind you, and it never stays that way for a long time. Emotions have their way of venting out, and sometimes they come out in ways we can’t control them like anxiety, guilt, stress, poor mental health. here is where mindfulness in ramadan helps.
Every day it seems there are more things to do, think about and juggle, leaving no time to ‘be with yourself.’ Can you remember when you didn’t have to attend a meeting, pick up the kids, deal with phones ringing, or live without constant ‘noise’? By nature, we’re human beings, but most of the time, it feels more like human doings.
Understanding mindfulness in ramadan:
How do we deal with our emotions in the daily chaos, we are going through? How do we keep at anxiety at bay and try to live in the present state? We can deal with our daily stress and anxiety of everyday life by being mindful of our situation.
Mindfulness in ramadan is effortless, and it can help you stay very present, despite daily challenges and frustrations. Mindfulness in ramadan can help you manage your feelings and emotions to cope better with everyday life, no matter what it throws at you.
Although on the surface, we all have more than we’ve ever had before in terms of material objects and choices, this brings its fair share of additional stress and pressure. Most of the time, we live in a state of ‘going through the motions’ without awareness and miss out on the unfolding bliss of the present moment.
Because Mindfulness in ramadan is about being present, you can be purposefully mindful every day, even doing mundane chores, for instance. In fact, by being present when doing something you don’t like, you release the resistance often associated, which provides a significant shift in attitude. Mindfulness in ramadan can help you several ways.
○ Take control of your emotions.
○ Create serenity
○ Bring calmness and clarity into your life
○ Center your mind
○ Improve your breathing
○ Overcome challenges
○ Release and manage stress
○ Increase awareness to yourself and others
○ Make better decisions
○ Improve mental and physical wellbeing
○ Find harmony in a chaotic world
And lots more
Every year we approach mindfulness in ramadan with a list of huge goals we wanted to achieve in terms of our health and connection with Allah. Still, with so much going on in our lives, we fail to achieve our spiritual goals, giving us more guilt and falling in the eyes of the Creator.
Ramadan is a month of blessing, and we can acquire its abundance only when we stop the hustle and take a step back, and we try to be mindful of what we can achieve.
First, let’s understand the fantastic benefits fasting has on our physical and mental health and then understand how being mindful in Ramadan can improve ones mental health.
The benefits of fasting according to science on the body and brain in particular:
It’s ironic how we are made to believe that an average human needs to eat 3 meals a day plus snacks and drinks. But this amount of food is unnecessary to maintain a healthy body and mind. The bottom line is that healthy people who exercise and engage in fasting are not profitable for these billion-dollar food and pharmaceutical companies.
Today, many people lack self-control and do not eat out of hunger, but purely for comfort, and enjoyment. This has sparked a rise in obesity and many other Diseases.
The Prophet peace be upon him emphasized the habit of eating less, a method of preventing sickness and disease. He said nothing is worse for a person than to fill up his stomach, it’s enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger if he wishes more; it should be one-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, one-third for his breath.
Effects of fasting on the brain:
Professor mark Matson at Johns Hopkins University, chief of the Neuroscience laboratory with the National Institute on Aging, has published several papers that can explain how fasting two times a week can reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s disease, which is on the rise.
We’ve known for quite some time that alterations to one’s diet affect brain functionality. Neuroscientists have found that overfed brains are more likely to become impaired. Madsen reports that fasting causes an array of neurochemical alterations in the brain. Abstaining from food boost’s cognitive function, decreases inflammation, and helps one cope with stress. Fasting is equivalent to issuing a challenge to one’s brain; the brain responds by modifying stress pathways and reducing the risk for various diseases.
Proven benefits of fasting on the whole body :
● boosts your metabolism supports
● fat loss helps to clear skin and get rid of acne
● encourages better insulin sensitivity lowers blood pressure
● decreases blood sugar
● promotes heart health
● may slow aging and enhance longevity
● decreases inflammation
● improves cell recycling
● improves brain function
● improves your immune system
● enhances recovery from injury
● Enhances the body’s resistance to stress can help prevent and fight against cancer
Ramadan and mental health:
Ramadan is the month of self-awareness and reflection. It comes along with a mixture of emotions; it’s a feeling of joy because of the different habits we are trying to develop to get close to the Creator but owing to the pandemic, there is also this immense sense of sadness as Ramadan often is the time to come together as a community, but this year we feel we are losing the sense of community.
This leads to increase levels of anger and anxiety
It’s also that point of the year where most of our sleep cycles get disrupted. Many of us get less sleep which can affect our mood, and it’s tough to be happy and positive or even productive with tired brains and bodies.
Another cultural aspect of mindfulness in Ramadan that puts a lot of pressure on an individual is perfection. The idea that you need to read this portion of the Quran or need to give such an amount in charity, then your fast is accepted. This type of perfectionist mentality of all or nothing has a terrible impact on our connection with Allah.
We go back in the daily hustle of achieving our next goal on our list rather than trying to reach Allah’s pleasure. According to the Islamic perspective, Allah doesn’t expect perfectionism from us. Everyone’s goals and circumstances are different. There is no hard way to please Allah and get closer to him.
Getting Mindfulness in Ramadan for positive mental health:
If we want to get the best of this month and gain its immense barakah, we need to practice Mindfulness daily. As this month is all about reflection, let’s take a pause and reflect and be mindful of ourselves.
Here are specific tips to help to bring Mindfulness into our lives for better mental health this Ramadan.
● Positive intention for Ramadan: Identify and refine your preferences and activities. Focus on getting closer to Allah during Ramadan. Hope for the best and trust Allah.
● Explore and cultivate positive emotions
● Positive actions: performing positive activities increases positive emotions.
● Dangers on negative thinking:
● Focusing on negative thoughts can destroy your confidence and success.
● Negative criticism often leads to adverse effects.
● You internalize these messages and start to believe them
● Take time and reflect to see if these are helpful for your well being
● Beat the stress: be realistic is setting up a plan of ibadah and stick to it. Manage stress effectively. control your instinct to compare with others as everyone’s circumstances are different
● Positive self-care: Be kind and fair to yourself. Keep Suhoor and iftar simple. Do not overeat. Purify your heart and mind
● Avoid jealousy: always compare yourself with the ones who have less than you. This is the best way to be happy and appreciate what you have.
● Positive family life: keep a gratitude journal. Forgive family members, don’t let the past destroy your relations.
● Positive spirituality: establish Salah with kushboo, make sincere dua, and repentance. Rekindle your connection with the Quran.
Ramadan and people with mental health issues:
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 4 people struggle from a mental illness, and Muslims are no exception we struggle from the same issues that everybody faces around the globe.
Ramadan is a beautiful month of the Quran and self-reflection. Many Muslims abstain from certain things during this month. For those of us who are struggling with a mental illness, this time can be especially tricky.
Ramadan can be challenging for people with eating disorders because fasting may trigger or exacerbate their eating disorder. People who will struggle with social anxiety may find it challenging to keep up with social and community gatherings when Ramadan comes.
It may be incredibly disheartening if we’re not able to fast and this goes for people who are not only struggling with a mental illness but other issues that are keeping them from fasting we may feel well what’s the point if I’m not even able to fast, where we may spend our time hiding that we’re not fasting from other people.
Know that there is hope. We often get so caught up in the idea of fasting that we forget that there’s more to Ramadan than just fasting.
We know that it’s the month of the Quran and ultimately created for us to increase our awareness of Allah and reflect upon ourselves and luckily for us there’s many ways to do that.
Allah says that he created fasting to bring ease for us and if we’re not able to fast in Ramadan he gives us options to still fulfill our religious obligation and feel like we’re still part taking in Ramadan.
In certain situations, it’s permissible for us to not fast and instead feed a poor person, Ramadan is a month of self-awareness and self-reflection so you can use this time to start journaling your day, writing down something that didn’t go so well and then something you’re grateful for, this will not only help you keep track of your triggers but also help you identify things that you do enjoy and that bring you joy so that you can do more of them.
You can even use these to help you make dua to Allah to help you cope with your triggers in a healthy way and help you recover from what you’re going through, use this time to let go of unhealthy habits
If you can’t fast during Ramadan, you can still give back to others. You can try volunteering at a food kitchen, a homeless shelter, or an animal shelter, or if you don’t do so already, you can also help your family out by preparing a star. It’s incredible how much assisting others helps us feel better and helps us increase our utter lack of deficit.
In the end let’s all be considerate and mindful of people around us and actions that we do and the affects it might create in some one’s life. Taking time for self-reflection this Ramadan so that we make a difference in our and some else’s life. After all, Ramadan is all about striving to be a better Muslim and perfection.
Let’s create awareness around mental health and try remove the stigma around it for the betterment of our society and community in particular.
May Allah help us to make this Ramadan, a Ramadan of difference.