The term “mental health” sounds so intimidating. Really, it’s quite simple. Mental health is the part of our health that includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It can influence how we think, feel and act. It also dictates how we handle stress, relate to other people and make life choices. Vibrant mental health is important at every stage of life, from early childhood through adulthood.
Over the course of our life, if we experience mental health problems, our thinking, mood and behavior are often affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors, such as genetics or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma, abuse or life crises
- Genetic history of psychiatric disorders
- Family history of mental health problems
Warning Signs of Mental Health Challenges
If someone isn’t sure if they are having health problems, the following list can help. If you or someone close to you is experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors it may be a warning sign of a problem:
- Eating too much or too little
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Staying away from people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- A feeling of numbness
- Thinking that nothing really matters
- Experiencing unexplained aches and pains that you cannot account for
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than normal
- Your thoughts seems confused or forgetful
- Feeling on edge, angry, scared, upset, or worried
- Yelling or arguing with family and friends
- Having severe mood swings that create problems at work or in relationships
- Experiencing persistent thoughts and memories you cannot stop thinking about
- Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of yourself
Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery
Sadly, mental health problems are common but help is available. Many people with mental health problems get better and recover completely. Positive and vibrant mental health helps people to:
- Realize their full potential
- Cope with the stresses of life
- Work productively
- Experience deep happiness
- Help others and make meaningful contributions to their communities
Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain positive mental health including the following:
- Getting professional help
- Getting together and connecting with others
- Staying positive and grateful
- Being kind and considerate
- Keeping physically and mentally active
- Volunteering and helping others
- Getting adequate sleep and relaxation
- Developing good coping skills
Positive mental health and well-being is deeply meaningful for people from all sectors of society. It tells us that our lives are going well. What we think and feel about our lives, such as the quality of our relationships, our positive emotions and resilience, the realization of our potential, and our overall satisfaction with life is what makes us happy and emotional well.
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