What is Mental Health?
Mental health is to do with how you think, feel and behave and it is also to do with your ability to cope with stressful life situations and processing your emotions including unpleasant emotions.
Therefore, mental health shows how well your state of mind and emotions are, and whether it is in a good health or otherwise.
Everyone differs in their mental health ability, some people are quick to handle and rebound from a stressful life situation whereas other people may take longer time to cope and some may not be able to cope and therefore suffer from ill mental health.
A good mental health does not mean one does not experience unpleasant emotions or stressful life events, but it is the ability to process these unpleasant emotions and cope with stress and come out resilient.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the definition of mental health is, "a state of wellbeing in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community".
Why is mental health important?
A good mental health is important in order to be able to achieve a fulfilling life even in face of life adversity. An impaired mental health can lead to mental health illnesses such as anxiety, depression, addiction that not only impacts the individual but also impacts their family, and their ability to contribute in society.
How does having a mental illness affect mental health?
A person can have good mental health in spite of having been treated for a mental disorder, and a person can have impaired mental health in spite of not having any history of mental illness. Treating the mental illness is imperative to be able to regain a good mental health. Conversely, not maintaining good mental health may lead to mental illness in someone who has never had the illness before.
Good mental health habits
Becoming aware of the importance of good mental health is the first step in attaining good mental health. Secondly, be aware of unhealthy coping habits that can be detrimental to your mental health, such as, when faced with life stressors one does the following:
- Ignoring the stressors
- Over-sleeping (especially daytime when it is time to work/study)
- Over indulging in other unhealthy activities to cope with unpleasant emotions such as eating, compulsive shopping, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
- Isolating oneself from others (most probably because of lack of motivation to enjoy socializing during unpleasant emotions).
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