How is your mental health?
By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Being mentally healthy is more than just not being mentally ill.
There’s a lot of difference between having a physical illness and being healthy. The same thing is true of mental health. Being mentally healthy takes some skills and some practice. Whether you are someone with a mental illness or someone who just has difficulty coping with life, there are ways to become more mentally healthy.
What are some of the characteristics of the mentally healthy person?
Mentally healthy people have goals they’re working towards but see those goals as opportunities. They don’t see themselves as failures because they haven’t reached those goals yet. They adapt to changing circumstances and are continually learning new things. Mentally healthy people can have meaningful relationships with others, and they work on those relationships.
Mentally healthy people experience contentment.
The mentally healthy person has perfected the art of being content. Lots of people mistake excitement, those peak adrenaline experiences, for happiness. Your attitude in life is a significant factor in your mental health. Always chasing the next thing you want can leave you feeling empty. Make sure you pause to enjoy what you have and never underestimate the value of intangible things, like your spiritual beliefs and your friendships.
Life is fun when you’re mentally healthy.
A mentally healthy person enjoys life. They look forward to each day for what it might bring. They don’t avoid life’s challenges but look at those experiences as opportunities. They don’t wake up saying good God its morning. They thank their higher power for another morning.
Mentally healthy people make hope their friend.
Mentally healthy people hold onto the belief that if they try, they can reach their goals. They believe that their efforts will be rewarded. They avoid the belief that their successes are outside their control. People who are high in hope can generate multiple plans to reach their goals, and they don’t get stuck in believing that if one thing doesn’t work, they will never be successful.
The mentally healthy person cultivates resilience.
Things happen. People with mental illness struggle to cope with daily life. Mentally healthy people experience problems in life, but when something destroys their dreams, they build new dreams. Going through difficult times doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person or that life will never get better. Don’t focus on the obstacles; instead, focus on the opportunities. Many of the people who have been highly successful in life had been knocked down multiple times. The reason for their success was often their ability to get back up and try again. Resilience doesn’t mean rigidity. If what you’re doing isn’t working, re-examine your goals and your approaches.
Learning a new skill can improve your opportunities. Developing new and better friendships can also provide you with a support system that carries you through the tough times.
Learn stress management techniques to improve your mental health.
Life can be stressful. Some people experience more stress than others, and some days are more stressful for all of us. But learning to manage your stress rather than getting stuck in it will make you less susceptible to the ill effects of stress.
Mentally healthy people know who they are.
They pursue their goals because they reflect their core values, not someone else’s values. One road to mental health is getting to know yourself, who you really are, at a profound level. Expect that who you are will change across the lifetime as a result of life experiences and the relationships you enter or exit. Cultivate the belief that setbacks are an opportunity for growth in another direction.
Learning to adapt to new situations increases your mental health.
Sometimes we’re faced with challenges, and we don’t like them. Whether you like them or not, the mentally healthy thing to do is to adapt. Rather than staying stuck on what you can’t do, people who take the attitude of looking for what they can do, strengthen their mental health. Learning to adapt to new situations and new technology fosters mental health. Resisting change adds to your stress and harms your mental health.
Keeping your life in balance strengthens your mental health.
Life consists of many segments, like the spokes on a wheel. Meaningful work is an essential part of keeping your life in balance, and that work doesn’t necessarily have to be paid employment. It does need to be something that gives you a feeling of accomplishment.
The other spokes in your life wheel should include relationships, both close intimate family relationships and friendships. Your physical health, religious or spiritual beliefs, and the ability to play and have fun, all contribute to keeping your life in balance and you mentally healthy.
Mentally healthy people feel good about themselves and others.
We found little evidence that beating yourself up for mistakes makes you work harder. The way to increase your self-esteem is to do more worthwhile things. The more things you do, the more room there is for some of those efforts to turn out poorly. Don’t take failing at a task to mean that you are a failure. No one hits a home run every time they’re at-bat. Forgiving yourself when you’re less-than-perfect, and trying again should build your self-esteem.
Consider that if you don’t like yourself, you make it very hard for others to like you. Mentally healthy people accept themselves, warts and all. Part of a happy life is learning to be your own best friend. You should love yourself just as much as you love others.
Mentally healthy people do what they can to care for their physical bodies.
Get plenty of sleep. It’s not a waste of time. Lack of sleep is a significant cause of mental health issues. When you don’t sleep enough, you don’t think well, and everything is overwhelming. Eat adequate healthy food, but don’t let food become your drug of choice. Make sure you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Alcohol dehydrates you, and it is a depressant. Don’t try to see how much of a dangerous substance you can use before you become depressed.
What steps will you take to improve your mental health?
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.
What if your family secrets put you in danger?
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
Books are now available on Amazon.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.