With prevalent “burnout” syndromes arising from hectic lifestyles, there’s now a movement of “mind health” rising as a trend. The concept is simple: mind can be taken care of and trained in a manner as light as that of physical exercise. With the available technology, mind training is in fact getting simpler. The guided mediation app Headspace, for example, has a game-like structure and approachable instructions. Apparently, more people are sensing the need for mind health and taking advantage of technology — with more than 0.4 million paying subscribers Headspace’s valuation is estimated of about $250 million.
While it’s a concept unfamiliar to many of us in Korea, places for mind health can be quite easily found within Seoul. “Psychology cafés” like Dareuda located in Yeonnam-dong offers several personality tests and professional advice on relationship and personal issues. With a casual atmosphere, they’re becoming a popular dating spot for couples who seek to have “quality time” beneficial for their mind health, as well. There are also places for mind health run by religious institutions throughout the city. Hwagyesa Temple located in Ui-dong which is known for its international zen center has recently opened up a “seon room” for the public. Mondays through Fridays, dharma teachers offer instructions for meditation, and anyone with or without a religious affiliation can participate after a consultation. Surrounded by beautiful a forest, the temple is a nice spot to visit alone for the peace of mind, too. The Catholic Church also provides tranquil spaces for reflection. While traditionally serving for nuns and priests, the center for retreat located in Ui-dong offers individual retreats and spiritual guidance. For those who are in need of more practical techniques for mind health, there is Happiness Village’s city location in Insa-dong. Largely practice-based, the non-sectarian programs offered there can be quite useful for real-life situations.
Mind health surely isn’t something to be achieved in a day. Hence, it’ll be only beneficial to start seeking the individual ways that work for us. And let us not forget to be kind to ourselves while we’re on the journey — as crucial as it is in life, we’ve never got to learn it at school or at home.