“Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I am not going to make it, but you laugh inside remembering all the times you have felt that way.” – Charles Bukowski
Mental health is a widely discussed topic these days. Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, the concerns related to mental health have been getting special traction. You must have seen your friends sharing online posts related to it, your HR discussing mental health, many TV shows built around this theme, and many other things. Surprisingly, my 15-year-old niece says that her friend is mentally depressed.
According to the WHO, India accounts for nearly 15% of the global mental health burden. Source: The Economic Times
Though the term ‘mental health’ is used frequently, its true meaning seems to be blurry and is often misinterpreted. It’s not just you who is uncertain about what exactly mental health refers to; many of us are living in confusion. But don’t worry. In today’s blog, we are going to address this confusion and shed some light on what mental health is and how you can improve it.
What is Mental Health?
It can be defined as the state of mental well-being that gives an individual the strength to cope with stress, realise their abilities, and fulfil their commitments as a student or a working professional and contribute to the society in positive ways. If you are looking for a formal definition, then this is what the World Health Organisation states.
Oludara Adeeyo, a Psychiatric Social Worker and well-known Author of the ‘Self Care for Black Women’ book, describes mental health as the functionality of the brain and all the things it impacts.
As stated in the National Mental Health Policy of India, mental health issues range from psychosocial distress to mental disability. So, to put it simply, mental health is a measure of your psychological and social well-being, including your emotional stability.
A lot of factors lead to mental health distress, some of which you cannot control, like certain life experiences, family problems, or genetics. Moving further, let’s discuss some common determinants of mental health.
Determinants of Mental Health
- Neighbourhood Atmosphere
The community or society you love has a huge impact on your thinking and overall well-being. Exposure to constant violence at home or school, discrimination of any sort, or pollution can all hamper your mental well-being if faced regularly.
Experiencing a traumatic event in childhood can leave a huge impact on one’s entire adult life. According to a report in the Pediatric Medicine journal, children with traumatic experiences have more medical conditions throughout their lives.
Stress is the worst of all. Someone who has faced abuse and neglect or has a similar family history experiences toxic stress. If you are mentally strong you might be able to manage any stressful situation. Stress can be in any form, what matters is whether you are letting things go easily or not.
- Individual Factors
Substance abuse, victims of bullying or abuse, or people with weak emotional intelligence are at risk of mental health issues. Such individuals face severe mental health issues and require more time and help to recover.
- Tough Financial Situations –
In life you experience unpredictable things, you never know what lies ahead. Likewise due to some unforeseen situation, an individual or family faces financial troubles or there is a huge debt that is long pending. This often leads to stress, burden and ultimately affects your mental health.
Why is Mental Health so Important?
By now, you must have understood that mental well-being is the ability of an individual to handle stress, relate to others and make sound choices. As your mental health impacts everything about your life, it is essential to keep track of it for all your loved ones. Evidently, it can also help you manage some life-threatening health conditions like heart diseases.
Cultivating mental health does not simply improve our daily lives but makes us capable enough to control and fight some physical health problems as well. Having sound mental health can lead to:
- Productive, healthy relationships
- Managing daily life stress
- The positive sense of life
- Motivated, active, and fit lifestyle
- A higher productivity rate at school or work
- More Meaningful connections and becoming a contributing member of the community
In a nutshell, focusing on your mental health can benefit you in ways like:
- Good mood
- Less anxiety
- Clear and positive thought process
- Strong relationships
- Better self-esteem and confidence
Mental Health at Work
As per law, all workers have the right to a safe and healthy work environment. But how many of the workers actually get such an environment?
“80% of the Indian workforce reported to face mental health issues during the past year.” – A report by Deloitte
Let’s see what are factors that affect the mental health of employees:
- Poor management and communication practices
- No support from the team lead or manager
- Constant performance stress
- Overburdening of employees
Having a toxic environment at work can seriously affect your health and even productivity at work. No interest in work or a low concentration level is a major sign of disturbed mental well-being at the workplace.
How to Improve Your Mental Health?
The next question that you might ask is how you can improve your mental health. Discussed below are a few strategies that you can incorporate into your daily life to improve your mental health.
- Take a sound sleep
The quality and quantity of sleep both matters for your mental health. Getting an undisturbed sleep not only refreshes you from the physical fatigue but puts your mind at rest as well.
- Spend less time on social media
In today’s time, social media has become the major reason for stress and anxiety. Seeing everything every time about other people’s lives may cause you to compare yourself with others. This develops the feeling of low self-worth, fear of missing out (FOMO), and stress that people are doing better than you.
- Focus on building strong relationships
Having someone’s constant support can ease the feeling of loneliness and add meaning to your life. It would be best if you strengthened your relations with friends, parents or partners.
- Eat nutrient-rich food
Avoiding certain foods, alcohol, caffeine, refined carbs, sugars, and junk foods can have a positive effect on certain symptoms.
- Make adequate time for rest
The idea of rest may vary for each one of us. Generally, it refers to giving your mind and body the chance to be at peace and rest.
- Don’t forget to say hello to the sun
You all must be aware that the sun is a great source of vitamin D, and many studies suggest that it helps elevate your mood and attitude.
Your mental health plays a vital role in every aspect of your life. The way you emphasise building muscles and developing a good physique. Similarly, it is important to deal with mental health issues. Remember, taking frequent breaks from stressful life and doing things to refresh your mind can actually enhance your productivity and turn out to be more helpful in all walks of life. If you are facing any such issue, it is advised to reach out for help and on the other hand, if you know someone going through a hard time, make sure that you give them due attention.
Some sources from where you can seek help:
Kamaldeep Singh is an accomplished digital marketing specialist, and has been associated with the education industry since 2022. With a flair for knowledge, he finds joy in learning and sharing insights on education, technology, digital marketing, and self-care through his writing. He is passionate about cars, tech-gadgets, and loves long drives.