Mental Wellness: According to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
Many internal and external factors contribute to cognitive and emotional well-being, including relationship with loved ones, financial issues, work environment, and coping behaviors/skills. When one or more factors prove overwhelming, acute (anger, anxiety, depression) or chronic stress may result. Stress can lead to physical symptoms ranging in severity from headache, heart palpitations and bowel problems, to heart attack and stroke. When an individual is experiencing chronic stress, their risk of committing a violent act against themselves (suicide) and others increases significantly.
“Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind and spirit – the realization that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our state of well-being.” àGreg Anderson
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” à Abraham Maslow
Here are 10 tips from Mental Health America for mental wellness.
- Connect with others – Research has demonstrated the benefits of social connection, including increased happiness, better health and a longer life.
- Stay positive – Thinking negatively can drag down our moods, our actions and even our health. Instead foster optimism, practice gratitude and think positively.
- Be physically active – Daily physical activity an help your mood by decreasing stress, anger and tension as well as reduce anxiety and depression.
- Help others – Research indicates that those who consistently help other people experience less depression, greater calm, fewer pains and better health. They may even live longer.
- Get plenty of sleep – There are many tasks that fill our to-do list, but research shows that you’re more likely to succeed at your tasks—and enjoy greater well-being—if you get some serious shuteye.
- Create joy and satisfaction – Did you know laughing decreases pain and promotes muscle relaxation? Creating avenues of good feelings can boost your ability to bounce back from stress, solve problems, think flexibly and even fight disease.
- Eat well – Food can boost your energy and fuel your brain, and good nutrition can help at times of stress. According to a recent survey, nearly half of Americans overeat or eat unhealthy food to cope with stress. If you are feeling stressed, find healthier ways to feel better like taking a walk.
- Take care of your spirit – Spirituality can mean something different for everyone. Connect to what you find meaningful. Whether it is in a higher power, other people, in nature or kindness, spirituality offers many possible benefits including better mood and less anxiety.
- Deal better with hard times – At some point in our lives, most of us will face times that are extra stressful. At those times, having strong coping strategies can make a huge difference. Research shows those who spent time writing about a difficult event had better health and less depression.
- Get professional help if you need it – If the problems in your life are stopping you from functioning well or feeling good, professional help can make a big difference. Remember that you don’t have to be in a crisis to seek help. A mental health professional can help with coping strategies and problem solving.