Lately, you may have been hearing a lot about mental health. But what exactly is it? And how do you make sure YOU have good mental health? The World Health organization (WHO) defines mental health as:
Mental health: A state of well-being in which every individual realizes their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to their community
Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences every aspect of our lives, including how we think, feel, and act. It also affects how we interact with family, coworkers, and the wider community. Mental health is important at every stage of your life, from your earliest childhood to your late adulthood. A combination of factors influences a person’s mental health. These factors include biological factors, such as genes, family history, and brain composition, and life experiences, such as traumatic events. The WHO estimates that one in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, making mental health one of the leading health issues in the world.
How do you know you may have a mental health issue?
The following list includes some common warning signs for mental health issues. It is extremely important to note that this list is by no means comprehensive and you are always encouraged to seek an expert opinion.
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Pulling away from people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Having unexplained aches and pains
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Yelling or fighting with family and friends
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
So how do you promote positive mental health?
Now to the question you’ve been wondering the whole time. How do you stay mentally healthy? As with all things health-related, there is no one easy solution. But here are a few things to get you started:
- Connecting with others, whether it be family, friends, or your wider community
- Staying positive
- Getting physically active
- Helping others
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating healthy
- Taking a break when you need it
- Asking for help
- Doing something you’re good at
- Developing coping skills
- Getting professional help if you need it!
As previously mentioned, this list is by no means complete. The most important step to maintaining your mental health is finding the routine that works for you, and then sticking to it!