It is always important to remember that we are all affected by mental health and, like our physical health, it also needs care to ensure that we remain well. It is not only our body that needs to be healthy to function correctly, but our mind as well. Although studies show that we don’t always use our brain’s full capacity, it seems that our minds are always full and tired from the stress and anxiety caused by daily activities, work demands and concerns in general. All of this burden damages our mental health.
To understand the meaning of good mental health, it is important to know that this is a broad concept. Some definitions emphasise positive psychological wellbeing, whereas others see it as the absence of any troubling mental issues or mental illness.
The definition of the World Health Organization (WHO) is that: “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not just the mere absence of disease or infirmity.”
Why take care of mental health?
We have heard the idea of maintaining a “healthy mind in a healthy body” several times, and it is a very important one. Our body is a machine and needs to be perfectly adjusted to work properly. We need the whole combination of physique, mind, emotions and spirit to be in balance to feel well and have quality of life. There is a very close relationship between what we feel and how we act, it is not possible for someone with emotional concerns to always have healthy attitudes, and vice versa.
In order to pay attention to your mental health, you don’t have to wait until you are experiencing emotional distress or undergoing active psychological and/or psychiatric treatment. After all, taking care of your mind is directly linked to our quality of life, so it should be something we prioritise all of the time. Maintaining good mental health care is essential for quality of life and disease prevention.
Tips for taking care of our mental health:
Maintaining a balanced mental health and achieve a good quality of life will require daily effort and commitment to looking after yourself. There is no perfect recipe! However, we have come up with some tips that you can follow. One way to strengthen mental health is through preventive behaviour, and some simple shifts in attitudes, such as:
- Positive thinking: Not just a cliché. We usually externalise what we think. When we manage to keep our thoughts positive, we see things more clearly and believe that everything is possible and that we will find a solution.
- Pleasurable activity: Doing what you love brings enormous benefit to mental health; if you like what you do, the effort will be less and you will enjoy the activities more. It is also important to do fun activities outside working hours or study something that bring us pleasure. These can be a hobby, physical exercise, reading or anything else that brings us satisfaction.
- Take time for yourself: In addition to doing what we enjoy, it is also necessary to set aside some quiet to connect internally and take care of the spiritual and physical part. It is essential to take this time to align your mind, emotions, physique and spirit in order to feel fulfilled and happy.
- Human connections: Escaping isolation and being close to people we like keeps our minds healthy. Having quality personal relationships enhances our wellbeing.
- Dreaming and having goals: A mind occupied with dreams and goals is focused on positive ambitions and has no time for negative thoughts. A glimpse of a dream or goal being achieved brings us joy and motivates our mind to think positively about the future.
- Common interests: Joining a group or a club that revolves around shared interests provides a sense of belonging and is good for mental health. Contributing to the community, whether through voluntary work or just by helping a neighbour, makes us feel good about participating in the lives of others and brings a greater benefit to ourselves.
These are just some of the many attitudes and steps we can take to look after our mental health. Have a careful and attentive look at yourself and how you can protect and improve your wellbeing. Don’t feel you have to stick to society’s standards and don’t feel pressurised to feel happy all the time! Problems and concerns will always exist, but being able to approach them from a strong position mentally will really help us push through the harder times and come out the other side more resilient and ever before.
Finally, if you have tried all of the above and still feel that the emotional load is too high, or that you can’t take care of your mental health without help, don’t despair! Speak to your GP and seek assistance from a mental health professional who should be able to give you more tools and ideas to support you.