I’m Samira, Good Thinking’s Project Officer. My role in the team is focused on engaging with communities in London to collectively improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners. I regularly meet residents at events across London to raise awareness of the great NHS-approved resources that Good Thinking offers all Londoners, free of charge.
I’m currently observing Ramadan and want to share a little about my experience of how taking time for spiritual reflection can benefit mental wellbeing. Ramadan marks the 9th month in the Islamic calendar and is a month of fasting from dawn to sunset for Muslims worldwide. The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid al-Fitr, a day for all Muslims to unite and celebrate by dressing up, visiting family and friends and, most importantly, eating great food!
For many Muslims, such as myself, it is a very spiritually healing time observed through prayer, reflection and engaging with my local community.
I, along with many other Muslims, chose to reduce the time spent on social media, watching TV and reading the news. We do this because Ramadan is a time when we enjoy focusing on reconnection with our faith and genuinely taking the time to treasure what the month can help us achieve. I have found Ramadan to be especially healing to my physical and mental health and wellbeing.
One of the most important lessons of Ramadan is to be kind and empathetic toward one another. We are reminded of the less fortunate people around the world and our very own communities living in poverty and suffering from great hardships.
In remembrance of those less fortunate, it is commonplace for Muslims to increase our charitable donations and support as a way of giving back to those most in need.
But please also remember that you can give back to those less fortunate in other ways. There may be people within your very own circle that need support.
The month of Ramadan is the perfect opportunity to check in on those around you and see how you can support them in improving their mental health and wellbeing, particularly if they find fasting tough. You can make a significant change by looking out for those around you, looking out for your friends and colleagues at work and the children and young people around you who may shy away from these conversations.
You may also find our Five ways to good mental wellbeing and Islam guide a great tool to support your journey toward positive mental health.