As a result, people simply didn’t talk about problems they might have had for fear of being judged, and consequently had very little understanding of how important their mental health was.
However, mental health discussions are becoming more mainstream, and we have learned to be more open to talking about our mental health struggles. According to an American Psychological Association survey, more and more people harbor positive views about mental health. This newfound acceptance of mental health means society is more open to learning more about what it means to have good mental health.
We used to define mental health only in the realms of mental illnesses, which often get stigmatized by society. However, more than solely being the absence of mental illnesses, mental health refers to an individual’s state of well-being, which helps us cope with the everyday stresses of our day-to-day lives. It also allows us to recognize our abilities, potentials, goals, purpose, and passions.
Why Good Mental Health Is Important
Just like physical health, our mental health also exists on a spectrum – from poor to optimal. Experiencing poor mental health can adversely affect our ability to work, connect with others, and even accomplish everyday tasks.
Good mental health does the opposite. It allows us to live a more meaningful and positive life. Having good mental health is essential as it dramatically affects how we think, feel, and act in different situations. It is also important to note that our mental health can vary at times depending on many variables, just like our physical health. But we can all work towards achieving a more mentally healthy self.
Indicators of Good Mental Health
There are different characteristics of good mental health. These characteristics serve as indicators of optimal mental health status.
A person with good mental health is someone who is also emotionally stable. Being emotionally stable means that we can remain calm despite challenging situations. Emotional stability also means that we can manage the range of emotions we feel every day. Good mental health helps us avoid getting overwhelmed and defeated whenever our feelings get too overpowering for us to handle, at that point in time.
Having Meaning and Purpose
Having good mental health allows us to feel that our life is valuable and has a purpose. Because of this, we choose to and have the ability to identify our strengths and work on our weaknesses. Knowing our life’s meaning and purpose enables us to have goals and work on them. Our meaning and ambition help us discover what we are passionate about.
Resilience is defined as the ability to recover quickly from difficulties. Being resilient means that we can cope with stress in various aspects of our lives. Having good mental health enables us to move on quickly and not dwell on problems and setbacks. It also makes us more in control of a stressful situation, which helps us think of ways to solve the problem. A resilient person does not let problems get in the way of their goals.
Self-esteem refers to how we see or regard ourselves. High self-esteem means that we value ourselves and that we hold ourselves in positive regard. Having good mental health enables us to have high self-esteem and feel good about the different aspects of ourselves. As a result, we believe that we are capable of doing great things in our own, possibly unique way.
Being Emotionally Flexible
Being emotionally flexible is another indicator of good mental health. Emotional flexibility enables us to express the range of emotions that we often feel. People who have rigid expectations often shut off their feelings, which creates internal conflict and stress. Not everyone is comfortable enough to let themselves express how they feel in a healthy way. Emotionally flexible and mentally healthy people enjoy a better emotional balance in their lives.
Fosters Positive Relationships with Others
Mentally healthy people have no problems building and maintaining positive relationships with others. Because of their self-awareness, high self-esteem, and optimism, they can respect other people’s differences while appreciating their similarities.
Having good mental health is also helpful in fostering a positive relationship with other people because it enables us to see the other person’s worth, which helps us be more kind and compassionate to the people we encounter.
There is more to mental health than simply being free from any mental illnesses. Our mental health significantly impacts the quality of our life. It affects how we see ourselves, our decisions, and the kind of relationship we have with other people. Therefore, having a good mental health status is an essential part of who we are as a person.