Puja Agarwal says good mental health might have a different meaning to each one of us. For the Happy Anniversary actor it is “being able to think, feel and react in the ways that she needs and wants to live her life as fully and independently as possible”. She explains further that it is about “being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy”.
While most of the time we take care of our physical health, we forget to give importance to the dealings of our mind.
“Jim RohnI said, ‘Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live’. I’m sure all of us have heard such quotes since childhood. One of the famous being, ‘Health is wealth’, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. But we never understood these quotes exactly. Health comprises your physical as well as mental well being. We do a lot to better our physical health but we never tried to improve our mental health,” she says.
About what is important for a sound mental health, Puja continues, “The one thing I do is sleep early and wake up before dawn. No use of any electronic devices one hour before sleep and after waking up. I actually use my grandma’s alarm clock so that I don’t have to use my cell phone at the beginning of a new day. Working out daily is also essential.”
There is a common belief that people from the entertainment industry are targeted when it comes to depression and anxiety. Reacting she adds, “I am the first person from my town and family who has been into showbiz. They eventually look up to me for all these answers thinking depression and anxiety mostly exists in our industry, which isn’t the fact. When I tell them about the stats and reports suggesting ‘India comes in the top 5 most depressed countries in the world, every 10th person in India is suffering from anxiety or Depression’ it’s hard for them to believe.”
She also does not agree with the fact that people associated with the entertainment industry go through more stress than any other field of work. “Even a mother who’s a home maker takes stress about what she is going to cook for dinner and lunch everyday. What I mean is, it’s not about the industry, it’s about the nature of the person. Like I never take stress for anything ever in life. When I feel low, I go neutral. Binge watch, order my favourite dish, maybe do a bit of online shopping… I just don’t worry and live a happy life,” she says.
Puja suggests meditation for good mental health. “As I said, I begin and also end my day with it. It’s a part of my daily essential activity,” she adds.
Ask her about the many reported death by suicide in the entertainment industry, especially because of depression and she replies, “Initially, it didn’t effected me much, slowly every next person started calling me and asking all type of weird questions, as if I know it all. Some people also called to check if I was doing okay. After all these calls, it did affect me a lot, not because of the cases as I am well aware of the statistics behind the same but because of people not really getting the meaning of depression.”