Fine, good, well, great? This is how we normally reply when we're asked this question - and the one we normally expect (and hope!) to hear when we ask. It may be the most common question we ask another person.
But maybe you're not feeling so good. Maybe you're having a bad day, or a few bad days, or maybe a bad month or two. Being human, we just can't get through life without feeling sad or low at times. But we can usually get through these days with a bit of time. But depression is more than this. It is something which is much deeper and hangs around a lot longer. It can affect everything, from our work to our relationships, to our sleep and our physical health.
Thankfully, depression is not the taboo it once was. There are lots of ways to manage it, and feel joy, contentment, peace and well-being again.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Today (10th October) is the WHO-led World Mental Health Day today. This year, WHO's theme is "Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World". WHO says that "half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated". Depression is just one of many mental health illnesses - this is the one that carries the heaviest burden for not only young people, but for people of every age.
Mental health should be a priority. It should be treated with the same importance as physical health. We go to the doctor with a physical health issue, so we should also seek expert help for our mental health.
Much research shows that Yoga and Meditation can help enormously. Physical exercise is also proven to be extremely beneficial.
Why not make this a day to really pay attention to your own mental health, or that of a young person in your life. Can you make time to be there to simply listen to somebody who may need to talk? Or to encourage somebody to talk? Maybe it's your own child or a young person in your life. Or maybe it's to listen to yourself.
Keep in mind that cultivating positive mental health is a full-time, life-long job. But with new awareness, you can bring about small changes and develop a different relationship with your mind. One that will allow you to thrive, grow and find a solid sense of contentment, even when there’s challenges.