Mental Health Is Key For A Healthy Life
You eat a healthy diet. You exercise regularly. But what about your mental health? Studies published in the journal Quality of Life Research found that mental health symptoms are linked to a person’s feelings about their quality of life. Understanding what mental health is and how it affects your life can make you healthier and happier.
The Importance of Mental Health
Mental health is an issue that everyone faces. Scientists and doctors define mental health as a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Your mental health affects how you think, feel, and behave. Mental health is also a part of how a person manages stress, relates to other people, and makes life choices. From childhood through adulthood, good mental health is key for living a healthy life at every stage of life.
Both mental and psychical health are part of your overall health and quality of life. Poor mental health or mental illness increases the risk for multiple psychical problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and sleep issues. Chronic health issues can also cause mental health problems.
Your mental health affects how you see and treat yourself and how you interact with others. A study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that social relationships affect and are affected by a person’s mental health state, like a chronic illness. And like physical health, some people find it easy to maintain good mental health while others have more difficulty.
Causes of Mental Health Issues
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) research has found that several factors may cause poor mental health. Sometimes people experience more than one factor, making having good mental health more of a challenge. These factors include:
- Chronic Medical Conditions
- Lack of Friends
Trauma and abuse victims often suffer from mental health problems as a result of their experiences. According to research by the National Institutes of Health, some mental health disorders run in families, including:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depression
A study published in the journal The Lancet found genetic variations common to all five disorders, indicating they may have a hereditary component. A lack of friends and social support, isolation, and loneliness are also contributing factors and possible results of poor mental health.
Mental health issues can affect anyone at any time. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, population studies show that in the United States:
- 50% of the population will be diagnosed with a mental disorder or illness in their lifetime
- 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental illness each year
- 1 in 25 Americans have a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
Because the factors that cause poor mental health and illness vary, your mental health can change over time. You may experience one or more factors at any point in your life.
Ways to Improve Your Mental Health
To live a healthy life, be aware of your thoughts and emotions. You can improve your mental health and your life by taking active steps including:
- Seek professional help if you feel anxious, depressed, or have other mental health symptoms
- Be mindful
- Gratitude Journal
- Be and Get Support
Mindfulness is a practice that helps you focus on the present and release anxiety about the past or future. Yoga and meditation can help you focus on the mind-body connection. Keeping a gratitude journal changes your perspective to a more positive outlook.
Getting support and being support for someone else are ways to build a network to decrease isolation and loneliness. And seek professional help if you are having mental health symptoms.
Good mental health requires attention to what you are thinking and feeling. Your mental health affects all areas of your life.