Mental health is an important part of overall health. It includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects our thoughts, feelings, actions, decisions, response to stress, and the way we relate to others. Like a strong and healthy body, mental well-being is essential to functioning well in life.
If you have positive mental health and overall well-being, you may find that that you:
Certainly no one can have all of these characteristics all of the time. Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean you are never unhappy or angry or that you never struggle with tough decisions or experience problems in relationships, for example. Emotions and disagreements are part of being human — they are healthy.
But just as you pay attention to physical symptoms — such as pain, fever, or fatigue — that alert you if something is not right with your physical health, it is important to recognize when something is off with your mental health. And just as there are things you do daily — such as eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly — to improve your physical health, there are also things you can do to improve your mental health.
Mental health and physical health are closely intertwined. Mental health problems such as ongoing anxiety or depression can increase your risk of lasting health problems including diabetes and heart disease; physical health problems can also increase your risk of mental health problems. Fortunately, many of the same things you do to promote your physical health can also improve your mental health.
Other things you can do to improve mental health include:
Rather than a sign of weakness, acknowledging you need help is a sign of strength and therapy can be beneficial to your overall well-being. Whether your goal is to learn relaxation techniques, improve skills for decision making or expressing emotions, or get through a difficult situation in your life, a therapist or mental health professional can help you address any issues that keep you from being as mentally healthy as you can be.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, June 28). About mental health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm
Characteristics of mental health. Section I - Mental Health Facts: Characteristics of Mental Health & It's Okay to Ask for Help. (n.d.). Retrieved August 23, 2022, from http://mentalhealth.tulane.edu/SecIb.htm
Staff, F. E. (2020, June 23). Mental health: Keeping your emotional health. familydoctor.org. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from https://familydoctor.org/mental-health-keeping-your-emotional-health/
University Health Service. (n.d.). Ten Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health. University of Michigan. Retrieved August 23, 2022, from https://uhs.umich.edu/tenthings