Mental health simply refers to our cognitive, behavioral and emotional wellbeing. It is all about how we think, feel and behave. It also includes our psychological and social well-being. However, it helps us determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
ARE THERE CONTRIBUTING FACTORS?
Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems and they include life experiences, such as trauma or abuse and family history of mental health problems. Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many do recover completely from it. Therefore, it’s important to take care of yourself and get the best from life.
Below are some ways to look after your mental health.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE: People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Make plans with supportive family members and friends, or seek out activities where you can meet new people.
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in a good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Talking about your feelings to family and friends is not a sign of weakness, it is part of taking charge of your well-being and doing what can make you stay healthy.
EAT WELL: There is a link between what we eat and how we feel. The food you eat has a long lasting effect on your mental health. The brain needs a mixture of nutrients to stay healthy and function well.
A healthy balanced diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables and plenty of clean water. Taking nutritious meals and enough exercise helps to decrease depression and anxiety.
AVOID ALCOHOL AND OTHER HARMFUL DRUGS: Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to get themselves treated but in reality, alcohol and other drugs only aggravate problems. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is always temporary.
DO SOMETHING YOU ARE GOOD AT: Volunteer your time and energy to things you are good at doing. You will feel better about doing something tangible to help someone in need and it’s a great way to meet new people too. Enjoying yourself helps beat stress by doing an activity you enjoy and achieving something that boosts your self-esteem.
VALUE YOURSELF: Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Decide on what you want to achieve professionally, academically or personally and write down your need to realize your specific and achievable goals.
Feeling good about oneself boosts one’s confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life makes a difficult turn on you.