What is good mental health?
We are all more or less mentally healthy, and this usually varies throughout our lives, especially when we are dealing with difficult life events, changes, and so on. Whether we call this psychological well-being, happiness, contentment, or a positive mindset, all these terms refer to good mental health.
With our physical health, it’s part of our daily conversation to be ambitious. We want to be physically fit, energetic, strong, and well-balanced, to eat healthily, to be flexible and resilient, and to be resistant to minor ailments. Of course, we complain about our problems and talk about not being able to do all the things we know we should be doing. We know it’s not easy to stay physically healthy without working at it, especially if you’ve had health problems. We understand that even if we achieve the pinnacle of physical fitness, we will not be able to maintain it for the rest of our lives unless we pay attention to it.
Research tells us that good mental health is even more beneficial than good physical health. A positive mental outlook increases the speed and speed of recovery from a serious, even life-threatening illness. Psychological resilience and well-being empower people to turn problems into challenges into triumphs.
But when I ask a group of people to tell me what words come to mind regarding “mental health,” their answers are about mental health issues! It’s like the term has been hijacked to become completely problem-focused.
Meanwhile, we are experiencing an epidemic of mental health problems. About 1 in 4 people experience some form of common mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, and various stress-related symptoms. At a time when GP practises are inundated with such problems, mental health services can only support 1% of the population with much more serious mental health problems, and there is an abundance of largely unregulated services, treatments, and remedies on the private market. A recent study found that the majority of long-term absenteeism at work was due to stress-related conditions.
The problem with focusing on the problems and the pain is that we become experts at it. We look for cures and treatments to solve the problem, rather than focusing on what makes for good mental health. We know that physical health is multidimensional—no one can imagine that pumping iron to build your muscles is a recipe for overall physical health, although it will certainly make you stronger for certain activities.
So what are the essentials of good mental health?
The connection is certainly one of the best known. Having positive close relationships is good for our mental health, as is having a larger network of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that will vary over time. Giving to others is another way to connect with others and improve our self-esteem and well-being.is about learning and developing; that’s how we grow. For children, every day brings new challenges, but as adults, we often become increasingly afraid of change, unwilling to learn new skills or put ourselves in unfamiliar situations. So, expanding our comfort zone, sometimes in small ways when we feel especially vulnerable, will help develop our confidence and sense of personal achievement.
Peace of mind means a sense of balance and the ability to distance yourself from your thoughts and emotions. It means our ability to react rather than react. This can be described as our sense of spiritual connection, which can come through a particular belief or belief, or can be found through connection with nature. A mentally healthy person will feel an inner strength of spirit and find ways to support it.
Character relates to the way we interpret our experiences and our reactions to them. We all have our own personal story, or stories, that we may or may not tell others. We can pretend to be the hero, the victim, or the villain, and however we do this, it will generally affect our mental health. Someone who has experienced severe life trauma can have great difficulty fitting their storey together, leaving them feeling literally fragmented. Good mental health means having a strong sense of personal values, awareness of our own strengths, skills, and resources, and personal stories of learning from mistakes, survival, success, and appreciation.
Creativity represents the fun, childlike aspects of our mental health. As children, we are naturally creative and love to play. As we mature, our creativity and playfulness are often discouraged or devalued, and this can cause great frustration, literally diminishing our brain’s ability to function at its best. Exploring creative activities can be very therapeutic, and having fun, being playful, and being creative is a big part of having a healthy mind.
These 5 C’s of good mental health provide a framework within which we can think about our mental health in the same way that we do about our physical health. It’s damn hard to be a perfect example of physical health, but who needs to be perfect? Like our physical health, our mental health is a work in progress and always will be.
In recent years, many people with physical illnesses have been treated cruelly because of ignorance and shame. I remember cancer being whispered about as the “Big C.” Today, mental health is the “elephant in the room” that we have had to watch for a long time, exposing ourselves to practical common sense and intelligent discussion.
Help your anxiety!
There are many different reasons that people struggle with anxiety, and therefor many different products people could take to help. Try to avoid prescription medication as long as you can, because anti-anxiety meds tend to lead to addiction. Stick to using CBD for anxiety symptoms, instead. This natural substance does wonders for people in this area.
World Mental Health Day on October 10 is a timely reminder that good mental health really is something we can all pursue. Let’s make it like this!
Carolyn Barber, Bsc (Hons), CQSW, is the founder of Wayfinder Associates, a social care education and consulting firm specialising in team development, independent supervision, and staff wellbeing. As a serial social entrepreneur, Carolyn has developed community-based programmes to advance the understanding of mental wellbeing using positive, solution-focused approaches.
Carolyn has over 30 years of experience in social care as a practitioner, trainer, researcher, and manager in the public, voluntary, and independent sectors.