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What is good mental health?
Good mental health is a sense of well-being where you can function properly in your space and cope with the everyday stresses of life. But, of course, how precisely it will play out will vary across cultures, social domains, and values sets.
The World Health Organization says that good mental health is where you ‘can realize your own abilities, cope with stress, work productively, and contribute to your community in a meaningful way.’
Therefore, the fact that you don't have a physical mental disorder does not mean that you are necessary ‘mentally healthy.' Mental health is in a way very much like physical health: We all have it, and it can fluctuate. You are not always ‘happy,' and bad days will come.
But, if your mental health condition symptoms are overwhelming and you can't cope, you probably don’t have good mental health.
Why is good mental health important?
Good mental health contributes to overall health. For example, depression increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Someone with good mental health can:
- Manage, feel, and express negative and positive emotions.
- Look after themselves and carry out everyday tasks.
- They can take part in a range of activities they enjoy and build relationships with others.
The foundations of good mental health
Are you worried about your mental health?
Are you worried that you are not living your best life?
Perhaps it is a good idea to look at your life and decide what changes you can make to improve your overall well-being. (Even people who already have good mental health should work on maintaining it – it can fluctuate if we don’t stay on top of it.)
- Live a healthy lifestyle.Improving your physical health benefit your well-being. You must make sure that you get enough and quality nutrition. Eat healthily, sleep well and exercise enough. Don't use too much sugar, alcohol, or caffeine. A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind!
- A circle of care.We all are social animals if you want to know if or not. Even if you are introverted, you still need family and friends. Your support network is an integral part of any mental health strategy. Colleagues, teachers, a roommate, or even people in your community can also be part of your support group.
A support group can give emotional and practical support – simply knowing that you have people in your life that care for you can make all the difference.
- Meditation can assist with keeping you calm and in equilibrium.Free apps such as 'Calm' or 'Headspace' can be a good starting point to guide you through a meditation routine. Meditation is all about learning to recognize what triggers stress and anxiety in your life. It is to think about your strengths and weaknesses and to learn to value yourself. Meditation sets the tone in your head in a positive direction!
- What gives meaning to your life?Activities that make you feel productive, happy and that challenge you will make you feel good and, indirectly, improve your mental health. Perhaps you like to draw, ride a bike, or care for a dog. Some people swear by exercise. Do what gives you pleasure, and you feed your mind.
- Professional support. Some people might need more help. For example, if you notice changes in your thoughts, behavior, and feelings that last for more than two weeks, professional treatments might be necessary. Students can take advantage of university counseling services. Sometimes medication can be helpful to those going through a difficult time – but discuss your options with a professional before you commit to medicines as an option.
Mental health is essential.
We all take care of our physical health. We eat when we’re hungry, we brush our teeth, and we sleep regularly. We reach out to our doctor if we have physical pain – so why don’t we do the same for our mental health?
Create a mental health plan that works for you
It does not have to be anything fancy. Start with an area that you think needs the most work or help right now and do something about it. There are no rights and wrongs, only a plan that is right for you.
We all experiences loss, change, and disappointment to different degrees at different times in our lives. Yes, it is normal, but it can also cause extreme anxiety, sadness, and stress.
People who look after their mental and bodily health can bounce back better from trauma, stress, and adversity. This skill is called resilience, and we all have it within us. It is possible to get these tools for coping with difficult situations in life.
Let us at Largest Heart help! If you feel overwhelmed, please look elsewhere on our site for relevant contacts and numbers where you can find the help you need. Our mission is to provide these resources – please get in touch with us if we can do more for you.