5 Halal Techniques for Better Mental Health

In Islam, psychology is incorporated into everyday lives in various ways, including spiritualism. Mental health and emotional well-being are of great importance to Islamic thought. Qur’anic teachings can serve as a guide to individuals who suffer from emotional distress in order to lead them to a meaningful quality of life.

What Is Mental Health?

Having good mental health means being emotionally, psychologically, and socially healthy. Besides affecting our thoughts, feelings, and actions, mental health also affects the way we cope with stress. Some daily problems are not actual mental health issues. They may be relatively simple challenges that we encounter and need to resolve on our own or with help from friends and sometimes professional counselors. For example, there might be a problem between a couple or between parents and their children. A counselor or therapist may also be able to assist an individual who is underperforming at school or at work in resolving these issues.

In keeping with the Qur’an and hadith, we've compiled 5 essential tips for maintaining your mental health. A few of them are general mental health tips that can be applied by anyone, whereas others relate to more serious mental issues.

5 Halal Techniques for Mental Health

Muslim girl struggling through mental health issues.

Be Sure to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy physical state is linked to a healthy mental state. Taking the time to exercise, having a healthy proper balanced diet, reducing screen time, and initiating a good sleep routine are all important lifestyle changes. Physical fitness can be a beneficial factor in decreasing anxiety or stress in a number of ways.

“He shaped you in the womb, perfecting your form. And He has provided you with what is good and lawful (at-tayyibaat, i.e. from nutrients and other things)." al-Quraan 40:64

So, eat from the good, lawful things (at-tayyibaat) which Allah has provided for you, and be grateful for Allah’s favors, if you truly worship Him alone.al-Quraan 16:114

One cannot overstate the importance of eating a healthy diet. Eating the right foods can have a positive effect on your cognitive capabilities. You can become irritable, or even sad when you have a slight deficiency in certain nutrients.

Always try to consume Halal food. Any food you consume make sure to check that it meets Halal certification requirements. Consuming alcohol and/or drugs whenever in distress won’t help or change or improve your situation.

“O humanity! Eat from what is lawful and good on the earth and do not follow Satan’s footsteps. He is truly your sworn enemy." al-Quraan 2:168

Fruits and veggies are always Halal and healthy.

Here are some nutritional tips to help you maintain a healthy mental state:

  • Fish, which is high in protein and low in fat, helps to energize your brain and increase your level of alertness.
  • Carbohydrates increase the brain's serotonin levels. When you are dealing with the winter blues or are generally depressed, this may lift your spirits.
  • Green leafy vegetables and legumes contain folate, an antioxidant that may reduce depression and improve sleep.
  • Nuts and fruits are high in boron, a trace mineral that improves your cognitive ability.

Check for Halal certification from Islamic Services of America on any food you are about to consume.

Find Strength in Allah’s Promise  

Allah does not burden any soul beyond its capacity.  All good will be for its own benefit, and all evil will be to its own loss. al-Quraan 2:286.

So, surely with hardship comes ease. Surely with ˹that˺ hardship comes ˹more˺ ease. So once you have fulfilled your duty, strive in devotionturning to your Lord alone with hope. – al-Quraan 94: 5 – 8

 Another way to withstand the test of time is to believe in Allah’s promise. The verses quoted above are some of the most uplifting verses of the Qur’an; it promises Muslims that Allah will not burden a soul beyond its capacity.  Allah also promises that He will bring ease after their hardship.  As such, we must continue on the path prescribed by Allah, devote ourselves to Allah, and seek ease from Him alone.

Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness only comes with Allah.

Mental health issues are a challenge which often push us into a dark and isolated place. However, believing that Allah is surely with us and keeping our faith brings us physical and spiritual strength. Moreover, when we follow Allah’s prescribed way i.e. offer prayers at prescribed prayer times, recite the Qur’an, abstain from Haram, and do the things Allah has ordered us to do and abstain from all that He has commanded us to abstain from, then He will surely bring us ease and contentment.

Salah or daily prayers and recitation of the Holy Qur’an plays a big role with believers in achieving better mental health. They bring us closer to our Lord and make us believe in His mercy more and more. Therefore, for better mental health make your connection strong with Allah and believe in His promise. 

Helping Others Will Also Benefit You and Your Mental Health

It has been scientifically proven that being kind and generous can be beneficial to your emotional and physical health. The University of Zurich research found that being generous and helpful to others makes people happier. Furthermore, research indicates that generous people tend to be healthier and even live longer than those who are not.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Sadaqa is due on every joint of a person, every day the sun rises…” Sahih Muslim 1009; Book 12, Hadith 72

And he (saw) said: “Whoever fulfills the needs of their brother/sister, Allah will fulfill their needs; whoever removes the troubles of their brother/sister, Allah will remove one of their troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up their fault on the Day of Resurrection". [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

An Arab man consoling another Muslim man.

Think of The Positive Things in Life Instead of The Negative

And He has granted you all that you asked Him for. If you tried to count Allah’s blessings, you would never be able to number them. Indeed, humankind is truly unfair, totally ungrateful.” Al-Quraan, 14:34

Social media has rendered this lesson especially pertinent in the age of the internet. Social media presents people's lives in a glossy and perfect manner, which can create false expectations and thereby cause anxiety or dissatisfaction to our impressionable youth which has been a hot topic since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and will always continue to be.

We should focus on the positives in our own lives rather than thinking about what others are doing, saying, or buying. Rather than focusing on what you lack, be thankful for what you do have.

Living with a mental illness can have the outcome of leaving a person with a sense of hopelessness. Feeling grateful may not be easy when you are experiencing such feelings. Nonetheless, we should persist and use our faith to bolster our sense of confidence and fulfillment.

Muslimah facing pressure at work.

Have Confidence in Your Own Capacity to Cope

Stress occurs to all of us at some point in our lives, whether it be related to work, finances, health, or family.  In the case of feeling overburdened, it is suggested that you do three things:

The first thing one can do is write everything down so it doesn't recirculate in our head. As we see it all on a screen or on paper, we may be able to manage things more effectively and in a timely manner. Furthermore, it can assist us in prioritizing them or determining if some of these tasks can be eliminated or delegated to others.

As a second step, consider scheduling a time for de-stressing, even when our schedules are already busy. Productivity and success are often defined in material terms, but this is not always true and it is also damaging to one’s mental well-being.

You can take a break and recharge by de-stressing. This can be done by either or both mental and physical activities ranging from reading the Qur’an, a leisure book or magazine, to walking or riding a bicycle outdoors, taking pets for a walk in the early morning or early evening, vigorously working out at the gym, doing yoga stretches, taking your children or grandchildren to the park, calling an old friend, keep a personal journal or simply sit and daydream. Choose something that makes you feel relaxed and incorporate it into your daily routine, while keeping in mind that one of the most effective de-stressing activities is the constant remembrance of God.

Reciting Qur'an gives shifa to all diseases.

“Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort.” al-Quraan 13:28.

And last but not least, please be aware that there may be nothing seriously wrong with you if you are feeling overwhelmed. It’s quite natural for many of us.  This life was made to be a test, and there will always be ups and downs.  The true life and eternal bliss are reserved for the hereafter.

“He is the One, who created death and life in order to test which of you is best in deeds. And He is the Almighty, All-Forgiving.” Al-Quraan 67:2.

“We will certainly test you with a touch of fear and famine and loss of property, life, and crops. Give good news to those who patiently endure —ho, when faced with a disaster, say, “Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we will all return.” They are the ones who will receive Allah’s blessings and mercy. And it is they who are rightly guided.” al-Quraan 2:155-157.

“This worldly life is no more than play and amusement. But the Hereafter is indeed the real life, if only they knew”. al-Quraan 29:64.

A Muslim man helping his wife.

No matter what you have on your plate, it will never be too much for you to handle as previously mentioned.

Allah does not require of any soul more than what it can afford.al-Quraan, 2:286

You are capable of dealing with every task and problem you encounter in life. You must have trust with Allah, then confidence in your very own abilities. A little help from friends and family means you’re never alone.

 Final Thoughts on Techniques for Better Mental Health

These are 5 tips to help us in improving our mental health. Remember, avoid overthinking in any scenario. Ups and down happen in life and not every outcome is positive and happy. Everyone deals with disappointments, but many times it disturbs our mental health. These 5 tips may well help you to cope in such situations.

Rafia Tahir | guest writer for ISA


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