The Importance of Mental Health
With Mental Health Awareness Week in full swing I thought it would be fitting to remind everyone about the importance of looking after your mental health and some tips on how you can do it.
What is mental health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps 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 to adulthood.
Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma
- Family history of mental health problems
Early warning signs
Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviours can be an early warning sign:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Pulling away from people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Having unexplained aches and pains
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Yelling or fighting with family and friends
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
Mental Health and Wellness
Positive mental health allows people to:
- Realise their full potential
- Cope with the stresses of life
- Work productively
- Make meaningful contributions to their communities
Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
Getting professional help
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
Connecting with others
None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.
Getting physically active
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.
Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.
Getting enough sleep
Sleep is an important part of looking after your mental health as if you don’t get enough sleep it can affect your mood the following day and affect your productivity and focus at work and elsewhere.
Developing coping skills
Everyone’s coping skills are different. Some people listen to music to help calm and soothe themselves and others indulge in movies to escape from reality for a couple hours.
In conclusion, it is normal if you are experiencing a lull in your mental health. What’s important is to look after yourself and catch the early signs so you can take steps to improve your mental health and remember that everyone copes in a different way so find one that works for you.
For more information, why not enrol onto our ‘Motivation and Mindset’ or ‘Mindfulness in the Workplace’ course?