Mental health consists of our emotional, psychological, and socio-economic well-being. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by it. It determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
The importance of Mental health is visible at every stage of life, starting from childhood to adolescence and right through adulthood.
There are indicators that measure living conditions like housing and employment but they fail to measure what people think and feel about their lives and the quality of their relationships.
How people view their emotions and rate their resilience, whether they are being able to realize their potential, or what is their overall satisfaction with life – i.e., their “well-being.”
Well-being, in general, includes judgments of life satisfaction and feelings ranging from depression to joy. Mental health problems can alter the thinking, mood, behavior and the overall well-being of people over the span of their lives.
Factors contributing to mental health problems include:
– Genetic / Hereditary factors, such as brain chemistry and genes.
– Experiences in life, such as trauma or abuse.
– Family history of mental health problems.
– Alcohol / Drug dependency.
Positive mental health allows people to:
– Realize their full potential.
– Cope with the stresses of life.
– Work productively.
– Make meaningful contributions to their communities.
Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
– Getting professional help if needed.
– Connecting with others.
– Staying positive.
– Getting physically active.
– Helping others.
– Getting enough sleep.
– Developing coping skills.
Points to be noted:
- Mental Health does not mean the absence of disease alone; it is in essence a valuable resource which allows people to realize aspirations, satisfy needs and at the same time be able to cope with the environment in order to live a long, happy, productive, and fruitful life.
- Mental health enables socio-economic and personal development which is fundamental to mental well-being.
- Mental Health promotion consists of the process of enabling people to exercise increased control over their lives and improve their overall health.
- Environmental and social resources of mental health often include: peaceful environment, safe housing, economic security and a stable ecosystem.
- Individual resources for mental health can include: physical activity, healthful diet, social ties, resiliency, positive emotions, and autonomy.
- Mental Health promotion activities are aimed at strengthening such individual, environmental and social resources that may ultimately improve overall well-being.
- There can be devastating consequences of long-term Mental Illness on the human body and spirit. An inability to deal with daily life pressures can lead to issues with our job, relationships, and our overall health. Whether we realize it or not, our mental capacity to deal with life can negatively impact others as well.
Seven Components of Mental Health
1. In-person therapy
- Few of us are completely equipped with the tools needed for good mental health in daily living; we often need support to better understand our life experiences in order to see patterns and emotions that need further evaluation.
- There is a higher need for in person therapy in 2021, now more than ever before. In general, we humans feel a need to decompress from the pressures and stresses of life as we learn new techniques for self-care and regulation that can improve our quality of life.
- Treating mental illness in 2021 may look different from years past, but that is no excuse to isolate ourselves and wallow in our own unique set of issues. Building a solid community of support, love, and friendships around us will be an essential part of our wellness journey.
- We must surround ourselves with like-minded people; those who wish to become healthier and happier, and be uplifted by good conversations, in-person meetings, virtual care services and similar exchanges with their support circle. In doing so, one will realize that this journey is not a solo trip, and that they have people around them to improve the quality of their life.
3. Physical health
- The body and the brain are intimately interconnected, hence the saying ‘In a healthy body is a healthy mind’. Our body is an intricate network of systems, all working together to help us navigate life successfully, and we have a responsibility to take care of it.
- Eating well, getting adequate exercise, sleep, and hydration are valuable actions we can take to preserve our physical well-being, which in turn will help us feel more positive about life in general.
4. Intellectual health
Committing to being a lifelong learner and exercising one’s mind regularly is a valuable part of one’s mental health process. Like all aspects of mental health, intellectual health requires balance, learning of new skills and acquiring new knowledge that will open doors of opportunities, improving one’s life significantly.
5. Environmental health
- The environment can significantly impact a person’s mental state of mind; being subjected to daily stressors and less than ideal living conditions can negatively impact our mental health and cause mental illness.
- We must do what we can to remove those aspects from our lives that are stressing us out – relationships, living conditions, social situations, physical health issues – will help reduce the stress response in our brain that causes poor cognitive function.
- It is next to impossible to fulfill all of life’s obligations and to take care of oneself as well; learning to set boundaries and saying “no” to things that are not essential will allow us to take out time for prioritizing our mental health.
- Initially, one might feel guilty if they haven’t said no to friends and family before, but the more we stand up for ourselves and take back our time, the easier it becomes to practice daily habits that preserve our mental health.
- The gifts of the last few years include more time for many, people are learning the fine art of self-care from the comfort of their homes, this leaves one with no choice but to take an introspective look at what they need most.
- Doing those things that nurture body, soul, and spirit will improve not only our lives, but the lives of those around us as well.
Our Mental Health and Wellbeing is in our own hands, we must take the necessary steps to ensure that it is in a good condition so as to help us achieve our basic aim of living a happy, productive and satisfying life.