Mental Health awareness has been on the rise over the last 20 years. It"s a buzz word in the news when catastrophe strikes. People wonder about the "mental health" of victims and perpetrators. Millennials will say things to their employer like "I need a mental health day" and schools accommodate for various mental health issues that can hinder a child"s learning in the traditional classroom setting. Just what is "mental health" and how can we keep ours on the up and up?
A quick google search of "mental health" will quickly lead you to DSM5 mental health disorders. While those lists can be helpful, they miss a big part of the picture of humanity.
Here are a few other definitions:
According to Medilexicon"s medical dictionary, mental health is:
"Emotional, behavioral, and social maturity or normality; the absence of a mental or behavioral disorder; a state of psychological well-being in which one has achieved a satisfactory integration of one"s instinctual drives acceptable to both oneself and one"s social milieu; an appropriate balance of love, work, and leisure pursuits."
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is:
" 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."
So essentially, to be "mentally healthy" in our "mental health" I hope I"m not the only one laughing means our human parts are working "normally" and allow us to interact with the world around us in a "normal" manner and thrive. Sounds good sign me up!
So what can we do to be mentally healthy? Here are ten quick ways to focus on and improve your mental health. We will start off with what I like to call "The BIG 3." If we can do the big 3 well it makes doing the rest of the items on the list a little easier and will improve your mental health overall, even if you"re struggling with a mental illness.
1. Improve your diet.
Mom was right when she said you are what you eat. When we eat better we feel better. Appetite disturbance is common among mental health disorders, and in some cases can aid in the elimination of the disorder. Cutting out or cutting down things like sugar and processed foods can lead to improved mood and an increase in energy. Adding more vegetables to our diet can aid in better cognitive functioning.
2. Get a good night sleep.
Our body needs sleep to repair us from our day, build muscle, and recharge our systems to meet the new day. A good night sleep will increase our ability to pay attention, process information, and deal with the stressors of the day.
Our bodies were made to move. Sedentary lifestyles have become the new "smoking" causing many body ailments. When we move our bodies our minds respond favorably. We don"t just increase our blood flow to our muscles. We can see on brain scans, an increase in blood flow to our brains after exercise! This is good news. More blood to our thinking/feeling organ means more raw potential to perform at our best.
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