What is mental health?
Mental health refers to the overall way people meet the demands of life. Although there is no single definition of mental health, the following characteristics are widely considered attributes of mentally healthy people:
In contrast, difficulties are exaggerated for people who have a mental illness or emotional disturbance. Problems the healthy person can resolve become too much for them.
- They feel comfortable with themselves. They have tolerant, easy-going attitudes, can laugh at themselves, and can accept their own limitations. In short, they have self-respect.
- They feel comfortable with other people. They are able to give and receive love, consider the interests of others, respect the many differences they find in people, and have satisfying personal relationships.
- They are able to meet the demands of life. They can handle life’s challenges and stressful events. They make use of their abilities, set realistic goals, and find satisfaction in simple, everyday pleasures.
Achieving good mental health
Here are some simple steps you can take to achieve and keep good mental health:
- Easy does it. This means taking care not to over-react to challenges. It means compromising with others who may not agree with you by cooperating with them.
- Learn safe ways to express your feelings. Pent-up feelings can explode in inappropriate ways. If you feel angry and tense, for example, try to figure out why and find a friend, family member, or professional counselor who will listen while you express your feelings as calmly as possible.
- Don’t brood. Often, a simple change of pace is a constructive way to “get away from it all.” This means doing something positive and useful about a problem instead of dwelling on it.
- Take one step at a time. Working toward a solution can relieve tension and help you avoid feeling trapped. By diverting your tensions and anger to worthwhile, tangible goals, you will see how much control you have over your life.
From: Mental Health, a brochure published by Wisconsin United for Mental Health