Many people are acutely aware of their physical health. Less focus is typically on their mental health. Both are important and impact one another. Unfortunately, there is a stigma that is associated with mental health because people often assume it implies mental illness. Mental illness is different than mental health.
Mental health is wide-ranging. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health “as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
Having good mental health does not imply you will not experience negative emotions in life such as anxiety or sadness when you are faced with a challenge. However, good mental health does imply you may be better able to tolerate emotions, cope with hard times and continue to move forward.
Easier said than done sometimes, right?! Here are some tips that can help with improving your mental health:
- Learn healthy stress management skills
Being able to cope with stress is invaluable. Find different strategies that help calm you down and find joy. Utilize them consistently and add new ones when needed.
- Seek quality social support
Surround yourself with family and friends that are supportive and enjoyable. Once you do, communicate your feelings, make time to socialize and laugh with them.
- Manage expectations & set goals for yourself
Find a balance every day. Seek acceptance and evaluate your perceptions of yourself and others. Pursue goals and schedule yourself realistically.
- Be kind to yourself
Pay attention to your mind and body, they are connected! Treat your body well and focus on saying nice things to yourself. Try new things, keep learning and enjoying. Get enough sleep, make healthy food choices and be active.
- Seek professional help if you need it!
Sometimes we need help from a professional. There is nothing wrong with that. Reaching out for assistance is a positive thing rather than a flaw.
Written by Erica David, PsyD