The Path to Mental Health Starts with You
According to Merriam-Webster, mental health is defined as: the condition of being sound mentally and emotionally, characterized by the absence of mental disorder, adequate adjustment especially as reflected in feeling positive and comfortable about oneself and about others and the ability to meet the demands of life. Basically, mental health consists how you feel about yourself and those around you, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with setbacks. People who are mentally and emotionally healthy have a sense of contentment, the ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity and the flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change. They exude self-confidence, a high self-esteem and a sense of meaning and purpose in the activities and relationships in their life. They have the ability to build and sustain fulfilling relationships and can balance between work and play. They are in control of their emotions and behavior amid difficulties, adversity, trauma, and stress. They have the tools for coping and maintaining a positive outlook.
An article on HelpGuide.org about ways to improve your emotional health provides key factors and strategies to improve and maintain good mental health. Mental health requires genuine effort to build and maintain but this can benefit all aspects of your life such as: adding to your overall pleasure, building resilience and heightening your mood. One of the key factors in building and maintaining good mental health is the ability to balance stress and your emotions. Recognize your emotions and express them appropriately. This helps you avoid getting stuck in negative mood states. Another key factor is having a strong support network with people you trust and turn to for encouragement and support in tough times.
Mental and physical health goes hand-in-hand. The mind and the body are connected so if you improve your physical health you’ll experience greater mental well-being. The activities you engage in and the choices you make affect the way you feel both physically and emotionally. To have good mental health, it’s essential to take care of your body which includes getting enough sleep to function optimally, practicing good nutrition, exercising, getting a dose of sunlight every day to lift your mood, and limiting the consumption of drugs such as alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine.
Take care of yourself and you’ll be more prepared to cope with challenges when they occur. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings in order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health. Try to maintain a balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy and don’t let negative emotions and stress build up. Stress takes a profound toll on mental health so it’s exceedingly important to manage. While not all stress can be evaded, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into perspective. Try to limit harmful habits like worrying and avoid becoming absorbed by negative thoughts about yourself and the world around you that drain your energy and trigger feelings of anxiety and depression. Also, remember that play is a mental health necessity, so engage in meaningful creative activities and make leisure time a priority. The idea is to find activities that you take pleasure in and that give you a boost.
Supportive relationships are the foundation of mental health. We are social creatures with an emotional need for relationships and positive connections to others. Social interactions can help to reduce stress. Establish a supportive relationship with someone you can talk to regularly and who will listen to you without a pre-existing outline for how you should feel or think. You can always join networking and special interest groups that meet on a regular basis to connect with people that have similar interests. Try spending time daily with people you enjoy and choose individuals who are positive and genuinely interested in you. Finally, volunteering helps others and has a beneficial effect on self-perception. The meaning and purpose you find in assisting others can truly enrich your life.
If you have made consistent efforts to improve your mental health with no relief or success, then it’s time to inquire about professional assistance. Input from a knowledgeable, caring professional can motivate you to do things for yourself that you could not do alone.
The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 877-845-5235 for more information.