Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It is all about how people think, feel, and behave. People sometimes use the term “mental health” to mean the absence of a mental disorder.
Mental health can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health.
Your mental health can be influenced by a variety of factors, including life events or even your genetics.
There are many strategies that can help you establish and keep good mental health. These can include:
keeping a positive attitude
staying physically active
helping other people
getting enough sleep
eating a healthy diet
asking for professional help with your mental health if you need it
socializing with people whom you enjoy spending time with
forming and using effective coping skills to deal with your problems
What is mental illness?
A mental illness is a broad term which encompasses a wide variety of conditions which affect the way you feel and think. It can also affect your ability to get through day-to-day life. Mental illnesses can be influenced by several different factors, including:
Mental health disorders
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) helps mental health professionals diagnose mental illnesses. There are many types of mental health disorders. In fact, almost 300 different conditions are listed in DSM-5.
These are some of the most common mental illnesses affecting people in the United States
Mental health symptoms
Each type of mental illness causes its own symptoms. But many share some common characteristics.
Common signs of several mental illnesses may include:
not eating enough or overeating
having insomnia or sleeping too much
distancing yourself from other people and favorite activities
feeling fatigue even with enough sleep
feeling numbness or lacking empathy
experiencing unexplainable body pains or achiness
feeling hopeless, helpless or lost
smoking, drinking, or using illicit drugs more than ever before
feeling confusion, forgetfulness, irritability, anger, anxiety, sadness, or fright
constantly fighting or arguing with friends and family
having extreme mood swings that cause relationship problems
having constant flashbacks or thoughts that you can’t get out of your head
hearing voices in your head that you can’t stop
having thoughts of hurting yourself or other people
being unable to carry out day-to-day activities and chores
Coping with mental illnesses
The symptoms of many mental illnesses may get worse if they’re left untreated. Reach out for psychological help if you or someone you know may have a mental illness.
If you’re unsure where to start, visit your primary care doctor. They can help with the initial diagnosis and provide a referral to a psychiatrist.
It’s important to know that you can still have a full and happy life with a mental illness. Working with a therapist and other members of your mental health team will help you learn healthy ways to manage your condition.
Mental health exercises
Physical exercise is great for your body. Dancing, swimming, walking, and jogging boost cardio health and strength. They’re also great for your mind. Research shows they can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, there are also “exercises” you can do for your brain. These include:
Striking a power pose. People who use “power poses” (aka hands on hips) may see a temporary drop in feelings of social anxiety.
Listening to calming music. A 2013 study of 60 women revealed that people who listen to relaxing music recover faster after stress than people who relax but do not listen to music.
Practicing progressive muscle relaxation. This process involves tightening and then slowly relaxing various muscle groups. It may be combined with other techniques like listening to calming music or breathing exercises.
Finding a yoga pose. One 2017 study showed that just two minutes of performing yoga poses can boost self-esteem and help increase bodily energy
Mental health awareness
Mental health is a vital concern for healthcare professionals. Most people know the signs and symptoms of physical illnesses, like a heart attack or stroke. But, they may not be able to pinpoint the physical effects of anxiety, PTSD, or panic.
Awareness campaigns are designed to help people understand these common signs and symptoms.
More than 40 million Americans experience some form of mental illness every year. Knowing that they’re not alone may invite people to seek treatment from a professional. Treatment is key to relief from symptoms and maintain a healthy, active life.