Hello again to all returning readers and welcome to those who are reading for the first time! This is the official blog for Life & Wellness Counseling and Consulting and we are glad that you’re here.
Today we will discuss Mental Health, one of the 5 Facets of Health that was introduced in last week’s blog post. We will discuss the remaining 4 facets in the coming weeks so be sure to check-in with us weekly because life is beautiful!
There is a ton of stigma surrounding mental health as it is often confused with mental illness. The two, however, are quite but different. Mental health refers to the skills and techniques we use daily to manage the thoughts and emotions that govern the behaviors in our lives and relationships. The American Psychological Association states that a high quality of wellness and “good mental health leads to positive self-image and in turn, satisfying relationships with friends and others”.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all have some quality of mental health because we all face challenges and have ways of dealing with them.
For example, if my best friend said or did something that offended me and I started blasting her on social media, that would indicate a poor quality of mental health. In this particular situation, I’m being passive-aggressive, I’m not owning my feelings of being hurt or offended, nor am I communicating with my best friend about how her actions effected me. In this situation I’m creating even more barriers to finding a resolution. I’m jeopardizing my relationship with my friend which could end up causing me more frustration and pain because I have not used healthy techniques to respond to and manage my thoughts and feelings.
As stated by the American Psychological Association, “having good mental health helps you make good decisions and deal with life's challenges at home, work, or school”. So, a good quality of mental health might look something like this; my best friend embarrasses me at a social gathering and completely ruins the evening for me. I ask her if we can talk in private so I can tell her how she embarrassed me and I explain to her how hurt and upset I am. She offers to leave the event with me but I refuse and explain to her that while I appreciate her empathy, I’d rather just take my space for right now. I call my friend a few days later, we discuss the incident and agree that her actions were not the most considerate but also acknowledge that I may have been oversensitive about the situation.
Having good mental health does not mean that you never get upset or that you never have an emotional breakdown. It just means that when complicated situations arise, you know what to do to appropriately express your feelings while protecting yourself and others around you. Analyzing your professional and interpersonal relationships can give you awareness of the quality of your mental health.
Do you often rethink and/or regret the decisions you make and the behaviors you display? If so, you may benefit from looking at ways to improve your mental health, which will improve your responses and interactions within your relationships.
Life & Wellness offers 5 steps to improving the quality of your mental health:
Think before you respond
-A 30 second pause will give your brain time to process what has happened and come up with a behavioral response that is appropriate to the situation
Write in a journal
-Writing about what’s on your mind will give you practice identifying and expressing your feelings
-Understanding someone else’s perspective helps you keep an open mind when you approach a difficult situation
Remain open to communication
-It’s a good idea to take time for yourself once in a while but shutting down completely just reinforces negative thinking
Talk with a professional
-A professional will be able to teach you and help you apply appropriate techniques so that you remain mentally healthy when you encounter different life challenges
Our mental health affects all other areas of our wellness because it filters the information from our environment that we take in as well as the behaviors that we put out in response. Here are some unhealthy mental practices that contribute to a poor quality of wellness:
Poor impulse control
When we implement mentally healthy techniques, we will have a higher quality of mental health regardless of how difficult things become. In turn, a high quality of mental health contributes to our overall quality of wellness.
Next week, we will take an individual look at the second facet of health – emotional health. Next week we will answer questions such as:
What is emotional health?
How to identify your emotional health concerns?
How to take care of your emotional health?
How does emotional health affect the quality of your wellness?