Mental health is a state of psychological well-being in which there is the absence of a mental disorder in a person. It is the psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment. It also includes the ability to enjoy life, create balance between life activities, and be able to adapt to continual life changes. That is why it is important to pay attention to your mental health in order to live a well-balanced life.
The World Mental Health Day is usually celebrated on 10th October 2022. Its major objective is to raise awareness of mental health related issues around the world. It involves making mental health and wellbeing a global priority, and not just a relegated discussion for the lesser majority. It is also a day when organizations, institutions, and societal bodies talk about the various measures we can employ to improve our mental wellbeing, as individuals, families, nations, and the world at large.
Poor mental health and mental illness are not the same, even though we often used them interchangeably. You can experience a poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Conversely, a person who is diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of mental, physical, and social stability. The vast majority of people often relegate poor mental health to a mental disease, where such a person may need to be institutionalized. However, that’s not the case 9 out of 10.
Characteristics of a Good Mental Health
It is very important you understand the state of your mind at every given point in time so as to examine when you need help. Individuals who have good mental health would most likely exhibit the following attributes;
- Focused, flexible, and creative during good and bad times because they are resilient people who can recognize and appropriately express their emotions.
- People who are mentally healthy avoid negative mood states created by depression and anxiety by maintaining a strong support network of loved ones whom they can depend on for encouragement.
- During problems, they have the characteristic ability to step forward and take action as well as step back and re-energize themselves.
- Usually bright looking, full of life.
- They have lasting and satisfying personal relationships.
Causes of Poor Mental Health
Everyone at some point would experience periods of poor mental health. These are basically the moments when we are not at our optimal level of mental functioning. However, how we learn to manage and navigate these seasons of mental stress, as well as our mental resolve would determine whether or not we experience mental illness, eventually. Below are a few possible causes of poor mental health;
- Emotional trauma from death, divorce, or jilt
- Dysfunctional family life
- Stress at work/unemployment
- Substance abuse
- Discrimination and stigma
Signs of Poor Mental Health
You need to pay utmost attention to the markers of poor mental health if you are to take complete charge of your psychological, mental and social wellbeing. And these markers or signs differ among individuals, as everyone does not have the same levels of mental resolve and fortitude. Here are a few highlighted signs and symptoms of poor mental health;
- Loss of appetite (eventually stops eating)
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Loss of concentration
- Low energy level
- Loss of interest/pleasure (anhedonia)
- Increased Anxiety
- Mood swings
- Social Isolationism
- Continual Fatigue
- Outbursts of Anger
Poorly managed mental health can lead to a number of consequences which include; social: strained relationships (marital, parental, friends, etc.); health: stress-related diseases, migraines, higher risk for accidents, accelerated aging; behavioral: depression, develop bad habits such as alcoholism, smoking, and drug abuse. More so, reduced work performance and productivity.
Prevention of Poor Mental Health
Prevention is often the best bet when managing your mental health; of course, it is cheaper than dealing with the aftermath of poorly managed mental health. The effects often range from mild disruptions to severe full-blown mental illness. That is why we need to examine the various measures we can employ to live mentally stable lives. And this includes;
- Mind your body: A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Starting from your diet to routine exercises. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. You could as well join a gym or create your own home workout program and start addressing your physical health today.
- Relax more: Prioritize rest whenever possible. Do not take up more than you can handle at a time. Your body will thank you for it.
- Associate with positive people: Learn to surround yourself with likeminded individuals, either as friends, colleagues, or family members. They often can tell when your countenance is down and encourage you likewise. If your friends or family members tend to be negative and simply don’t see the glass as half-full, find yourself some better people to spend time with.
- Eliminate bad habits: Eliminating or cutting down on bad habits like excessive alcohol consumption or smoking will go a long way to helping your overall mental wellbeing. After all, these substances first have direct effects on the brain before obvious signs or symptoms. Either of these vices can give you short-term pleasure, but they often cause serious damage to your overall mental health. Excessive drinking can actually boost stress and may lead to depression, and smoking can increase tension.
- Set life goals: If you don’t have a clear direction in life, chances are your mind is constantly wading through the possibilities and stressing about the future. Whether it’s on a personal or professional level, try to set long-term goals. That way, you know what you’re working toward and it’s going to be easier to ward off career or personal life dissatisfaction. When you reach a set goal, your notion of self-worth often improves.
- Communicate more: This allows you to express what you have in your mind instead of bottling them up.
- Volunteer: This keeps your mind and hands busy and off distractions.