- 1 1. What is mental health?
- 1.1 2. What factors affect mental health?
- 1.2 3. How to improve mental health?
1. What is mental health?
In the history of modern medicine, the concept of “health” has mostly been defined as “a state of absence of disease”. If you’re not sick, that means you’re healthy. Mental health used to be understood this way: if you’re not crazy, you’re mentally healthy.
But with the continuous development of medicine and psychology, the concept of mental health has been analyzed as a collection of many emotional and social factors that are not necessarily related to psychological illness.
This new concept is closely linked to quality of life in all aspects – from the individual level (psychological, emotional, cognitive, …) to the community scale (family and society, etc.). romantic relationships, successful career, …).
The impact on daily life of mental health is diverse: from the way we respond to pressure, make decisions, interact with others, conception of satisfaction, purpose in life. and more.
Mental health never ends with mental disorders. Therefore, it is important to approach the concept of mental health holistically.
2. What factors affect mental health?
Studies have discovered that our genetics play a crucial role in our mental health and quality of life. Your level of happiness is determined by genetics up to 50% . For example, if you have a hot-tempered parent, chances are you will also tend to have a temper like theirs.
And you’ll also be at increased risk for mental illness , if a close relative is diagnosed with a mental disorder.
Speaking of which, I hope you don’t rush to be pessimistic and think that your “destiny” is already “arranged”. In fact, mental health is significantly influenced by environmental factors over which you can control .
For example, you can still take steps to reduce the impact of your innate anxiety tendencies on yourself. Seeking advice from a therapist to clarify the cause and learn how to cope with the condition on a daily basis is one kind of solution. Reading, meditating or applying common therapies are also helpful suggestions for you in the healing process. In short, regardless of genetic influences, you can still take proactive action to reduce anxiety.
Life experiences and traumas
The truth is heartbreaking: severe negative experiences and trauma are sure to turn your life upside down.
When you have good things like a job you love, friends and family to believe in, and good health, your mental health is likely to be better. If you hate yourself, your life, and the people involved, your mental health will go down as well.
To a certain extent, there are certain kinds of inevitable tragedies in the world. We are all “made hard” – one way or the other. Research has shown that it is common for everyone to experience at least four to five major traumatic experiences. It could be anything from job loss, bereavement, health fears, or more seriously, physical and emotional abuse .
The timing of the upheaval also determines how much of an impact it has on us. Trauma from a young age has the potential to cause lifelong problems. However, trauma during adulthood can still have a severe emotional impact.
But hurt, no matter how bad, doesn’t have to be to torment you in the long run. In fact, for most people, grief is the driving force behind personal growth.
3. How to improve mental health?
If you’re often lost, disgruntled, or feel “something’s wrong” and sometimes fret over it, here are some tips to help you manage your mental health more confidently.
Note, I am not a therapist. If you or anyone you know is struggling with a mental illness, you should seek legal and professional medical help.
A strong social background is one of the cornerstones of a healthy mental health diagnosis.
Money, sex, prestige, status – all of these are short-term boosts to morale. Soon, you’ll be back in the flawed state of the present. Believe me, don’t follow the hyped vanities out there to fill the hole inside. I’ve been through it before, I still have scars left on my body to prove it.
Instead, knowing that there is still someone by your side (even just one) to confide in during difficult times is your psycho-social protective net. The point is, such relationships need to be cultivated and nurtured over time.
To do this, open your heart to others sincerely, even in the most fragile state . This may upset some people, but don’t worry. The people who respond positively to your honest confession are the ones you can choose to start building your “community”.
It is not necessary to make friends with everyone. When it comes to relationships, quality always trumps quantity.
Develop healthy living habits
I understand that taking care of the body sounds very “know, it’s hard, talk forever”. But most of us (myself included) are still pretty bad at this practice. This is even more important when you are trying to improve your mental health.
Your mental health will always benefit from incorporating healthy living habits into your routine . After all, the “mind-body” connection is essentially one, because the brain is a part of the body. So taking care of your body is also taking care of your brain.
The big aspects that really need your attention are:
Get enough sleep
The medical field has finally woken up (pun intended) to the fact that getting eight hours of sleep isn’t just about a ‘should’. It really is a matter of survival to health.
People who are chronically sleep deprived (sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night) are not only more irritable and easily distracted, but also have more pre-existing symptoms of depression and anxiety. A few sleepless nights are inevitable, but when you can’t sleep well for years or even decades or more, then the consequences will extend to your entire life.
Develop a consistent sleep routine , limit/eliminate caffeine and alcohol consumption, and don’t use a screen device when you’re in bed.
If you’re really struggling to sleep, see your doctor. The level of intervention can be as simple as helping you find a new habit or needing treatment. But it’s worth it either way.
A good night’s sleep will also make it much easier to implement healthy habits. You will have the energy to do those things.
I probably don’t need to list the benefits of how regular exercise will make you feel better,…I wouldn’t say exercise is a panacea, but it certainly boosts your mood. Push your body and mind in the right direction.
Taking a short walk can help revive you when you’re stagnant, providing the extra motivation you need to get work done or get through the day’s unhappiness. Nearly all forms of exercise help relieve stress, especially martial arts.
The key to finding the right form of exercise is 1) you enjoy it and 2) it works for you. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get the benefits of a workout. Don’t try hard. Daily walking, jogging, simple stretching and regular exercise are enough to help you boost your mental health.
Once exercise has become a habit, you can optimize how and how it benefits.
Good sleep and regular exercise give the mind and body a better starting point for daily mental health management. Healthy eating habits will help give you energy.
Honestly, I’m not the best person for nutrition information, but I’ll say this: whenever I binge eat , my mental health immediately takes a hit. I became more tired, started to feel insecure, and from there it was easier to fall into bad habits – triggering a vicious cycle that became increasingly difficult to break.
No need to complicate things, actually just sticking to the basics will make maintaining a healthy diet more feasible. So lean meats (if you eat meat), fruits and vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet. Limit fats and carbs, including sugar.
Meditation can help you identify toxic thought patterns and analyze them more deeply. Thus meditation can enhance self-dialogue and body harmony. Meditation also makes you slow down and really think to be more present in reality, thereby reducing the feeling of being entangled in the worries of life.
There are literally millions of resources to help you meditate. Some apps I like are Calm and Headspace. Renowned neuroscientist and podcaster Sam Harris also offers a course on his Waking Up app .
Spend time in nature
Outdoor enthusiasts have long talked about the benefits of being in nature, both physically and mentally. But with serious scientists doing research, they have concluded that this is indeed correct.
Results from research show that spending about two hours a week in nature is beneficial for physical and mental health. You can simply go for a walk in the park near your house (it’s even better combined with exercise) a few times a week, for example.
Whatever the form, nature always has a calming effect on people, especially for urban dwellers who spend all their time in the noisy and rushed city environment.
For me, being in nature makes me more aware of the scale of everything: my life, the problems I’m dealing with, etc. You realize you’re part of something much bigger than yourself. and will last long after you’re gone . For a few moments when I’m in nature, I feel connected to the big world and all the troubles seem smaller.
Get professional help
There is no such thing as an absolute cure for mental health. However, small changes in the suggestions above can be of great help to you.
Even so, if you still feel like you need outside help, I encourage you to try counseling.
Therapy isn’t a cure-all for everything you’re going through, but it can be a powerful tool in moving you toward your goals of better mental health management.