Mental Health includes how we feel, think, and behave. It can affect our relationships, daily lives, job, physical health, etc. Mental health experts and therapists help people struggling with depression, addiction, anxiety, sleeping and eating disorder, bipolar disorder, and other mental conditions.
Here is a blog to explore the importance of mental health, the factor affecting mental health, and how we can ensure mental wellness.
What is Mental Health?
In general terms, Mental Health is the absence of mental disorders, but it’s way more than that. It exists in a complex continuum. Each person has different experiences, and the degree of distress, social outcomes, and clinical results can vary from person to person.
Mental wellness enables people to cope with anxiety, life, and stress by realising their potential. Moreover, it affects our ability to make decisions and build relationships. Mentally healthy people learn well, seek opportunities, and contribute to the community.
Earlier, people hardly used to talk about mental care and their idea of overall wellness was restricted to physical well-being. However, with more people coming forward and talking about their mental health conditions, it has now become a basic human right. It is integral to community, personal, and socioeconomic growth.
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Why is Mental Health Important?
We cannot emphasise the importance of mental health enough. Psychological wellness has a direct impact on our behaviour, which affects our relationships and overall health. Here are a few primary reasons why we all must pay more attention to our mental wellness and health.
1. Cope Better with Stress
Due to professional stress, financial woes, relationship disputes, and other life issues, many people adopt isolation, drugs, fighting, and other side effects. However, a stable mind encourages us to overcome such obstacles with a positive attitude by improving our coping mechanisms. With emotional and mental wellness at its peak, we can better deal with life’s challenges and overcome any hurdle without stress.
2. Creates Connection
A lot of stigma and discrimination surrounds mental health illness. Hence, increasing the importance of mental health in today’s world. By improving our knowledge and understanding of mental health, we can recognise symptoms of mental disorders and seek help on time. Also, we can increase awareness and support others who avoid asking for help and suffer in silence. This can create safe environments for discussions.
3. Wiser Decision Making
Mental health affects our decision-making capabilities. So, when we are mentally strong, we tend to have positive behaviour, whereas poor mental health can adversely affect our decisions.
4. A Positive Self-Image
Another importance of mental health and mental hygiene is it affects our self-esteem and how we perceive ourselves. Our mental health correlates with our feeling about ourselves. Confidence indicates a healthy mental state.
This is crucial for students as they face peer pressure, exam pressure, and whatnot throughout. If their mental health is flourishing, they will focus on the good in themselves rather than having an inferiority complex. They will put their energy, focus on honing their qualities, and strive for a happier and healthier life.
5. Improved Quality of Life
Mentally healthier people work toward improving their quality of life. They are encouraged to participate in community building and volunteer for good causes. They stick to their schedules, eating, sleeping, and exercising daily on time. Also, they can spare time to pick up new hobbies, travel nee destinations, and connect with people. It is one of the key reasons why mental is important.
6. Healthier Relationships
The way you feel mentally affects your relationships with friends, family, and loved ones. You give them enough time, share your concerns, listen to their stories, and spend quality time with them. Also, you are capable of providing support and affection whenever they need it. However, people dealing with stress and anxiety become hostile and short-tempered, which often strains their relationships.
7. Enhanced Productivity
There is great importance of mental health in the workplace as your mental state affects your productivity and efficiency. When you feel mentally stronger, you work with zeal and dedication, delivering quality results.
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Connection Between Mental and Physical Health
Mental and physical health are closely linked. Any physical condition or mental disorder can affect the quality of life, need instant care, and generate serious consequences. Your mental health condition can lead to harmful habits, such as smoking, alcohol, unhealthy eating, and an irregular sleep cycle.
WHO has stated, “There is no health without mental health.”
Chronic conditions are significant evidence of a close relationship between physical and mental health.
- Poor mental health may cause various chronic conditions.
- Chronic physical conditions can lead to the risk of poor mental health.
To prevent such conditions, ensure a balanced diet, physical activities, social inclusion, and social support. This will create a protective wall around you and eliminate mental and physical health risks.
Moreover, it is important to know that the difference between the two is way less than one may assume. You might feel that your mood, mental state, and thoughts are separate from your physical condition, but it’s all the result of your brain activity.
Factors Contributing to Poor Mental Health
There is no one reason behind poor mental health. Different factors affect our mental state and behaviour, be it biological, social, professional, academic, or environmental. Some people struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing a terrifying event, accident or natural disaster, while some inherit it.
Many struggle with depression and anxiety due to hectic work life or academic pressure. We are discussing three major factors that affect our mental health.
1. Biological factors
Many a time, mental illnesses run in the family, which may be passed down to members through genes. Research and experts have concluded that various mental health conditions are linked to abnormalities in many genes rather than a few.
These genes interact with the environment in a unique way for each individual. Moreover, mental illnesses often come from the interaction of multiple genes and other involved factors, such as abuse, stress, traumatic event, etc., which trigger an illness in a person.
2. Environmental factors
Another strong factor of a mental health illness is an unusual environment and circumstances, which negatively impact some people’s psychological wellness. For example, a natural disaster can cause post-traumatic stress disorder.
Likewise, an abusive environment can lead to suicidal thoughts. Even air pollution can cause depression. On the contrary, positive social surroundings can eliminate the risk of mental illnesses and provide protection against any such challenge.
3. Social factors
Loneliness is among the major contributors to mental health conditions and disorders. We all feel lonely at times, but surrounding ourselves with friends, family, and loved ones can give us the happiness and peace that we seek.
When we lose a relationship, we experience grief at deeper levels, which leads to anxiety and depression. The point to note is loneliness is different from isolation; the former refers to feeling alone even when we have people around.
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How to Improve Mental Health?
To ensure mental wellness, you need to work on various aspects of your life, including social, self-care, emotional, etc. You need to make efforts to be a part of a community, ensure active participation, and interact with people who can help you. In addition, you have to change your routine and ensure a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise shouldn’t be an option; it must be your lifestyle. Spare a few minutes every day to practice yoga, meditation, or any other form of exercise. It relaxes your mind and body, which improves your mental state and perspective.
Meditation can help you find inner strength and peace amidst stress. Make sure to have the right environment when you meditate or exercise. You must be able to focus. And yes, wear comfortable clothes for effective results. Joining authentic yoga courses will prove to be of great help here.
2. Healthy diet
What you eat is what you become. When you eat junk food, you feel constant restlessness, find it hard to sleep, and can’t focus on anything. On the other hand, a nutritional and balanced diet enhances your mental health and keeps your body active.
Eat as many fruits as you can, including various colours of fruits, along with green vegetables, beans, and food that include mood-boosting nutrients. Include proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients in your daily meals.
3. Good sleep habits
Sleep is critical not just for your physical health but for your mental health as well. According to research, people who sleep for 6 hours or less per night (average) are 2.5 times more likely to experience mental disorders or distress than those who sleep for more than 6 hours.
So, have a proper schedule and stick to it. Also, have disrupted sleep because your quality of sleep matters the most and contributes significantly to your mental health.
4. Relaxation techniques
You can do several daily practices to produce your body’s natural relaxation response. This reduces stress and muscle tension, lowers your blood pressure, and slows down your breathing.
Some effective relaxation techniques that you can include in your routine are progressive relaxation, biofeedback, guided imagery, and deep breathing exercises. You can join online meditation courses and practice it the right way with top yoga teachers of India.
Seeking professional help
Seeking help for mental health doesn’t indicate your weakness, but it’s a sign of your strength. If you feel depressed and have negative thoughts about everything, talk to a professional therapist.
It’s your chance to share what you are going through and talk to someone who can understand you. Don’t suffer in silence or ignore the symptoms of mental health conditions; seek timely treatment.
This treatment can give amazing results within a few weeks. Many people who have received appropriate care have recovered from mental illnesses and addiction and are living a rewarding life.
It’s time to get rid of the stigma. That’s the reason initiatives like mental health awareness month are happening.
Many people suffering from mental disorders may need medication along with therapy. These prescriptions may include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anxiolytic drugs.
Medicines alone cannot cure mental illnesses, but they can help in reducing symptoms. Medications are also recommended for people with social interaction issues as they improve the body’s absorption of feel-good chemicals from the brain.
3. Support groups
If you are not ready for therapy yet, joining a support group is also helpful. It allows you to meet people going through the same mental distress and conditions as you. When you meet others who share similar experiences, you realise that you are not alone.
Moreover, you also get to meet people who have recovered from mental illnesses, which motivates you to focus on your mental health more. Participate in group activities, talk to people, learn from their stories, share yours, and you will feel better soon.
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Building a support system
1. Family and friends
We, humans, are social creatures, and strong, healthy relationships keep us going. Support of your family, friends, and loved ones can protect you from mental harm and stress. It keeps your mind in a healthier state as you have people to share your problems with.
Try to have different types of connections. Your bond with your parents will be different from that with your siblings and friends. You can also join a group hobby class, organisation, or community to keep your mind occupied.
There are a lot of communities that help people with mental illnesses by organising events, campaigns, and other activities. Find such communities in your neighbourhood and be a part of at least one of them.
Also, keep in touch with people who understand and support you. Go out for lunch or dinner dates, meet for reading sessions, and talk about happy times, as these small efforts can make a big difference.
Mental health includes emotional, cognitive, and behavioural well-being. It impacts almost every aspect of our lives- how we interact with others, our decisions, emotions, relationships, and whatnot. While taking care of your mental health, you need to manage your stressors and several conditions along with maintaining your happiness and overall wellness.
If you have been ignoring your mental wellness, it’s time for self-care. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if and when you need it, discuss it with your family and friends, and spare no effort to live a happier and more fulfilled life.