Mental health disorders are as much a health problem as physical health disorders. That is why it is important to know how to maintain and improve mental health.
Mental health professionals have extended this definition to the ability of an individual to learn, create good interpersonal relationships, and distinguish positive from negative emotions, properly expressing and managing them. Mental health is part of overall health and significantly affects the health of the individual, family, and the general population.
A good mental state is characterized by the knowledge of how to channel emotions through positive thoughts. This implies greater confidence in the challenges of life and a good disposition to build lasting relationships and mutual love with others.
There are indicators of good mental health, such as a good mood and excitement for life, a mood for lifelong learning, a desire to experiment with new things, an open attitude to play and, of course, regular renewal of life goals.
Enjoying free time by developing enjoyable and stimulating activities expands our vision of the world. But it also connects us and brings us a desire for life.
Also read: 10 simple tricks to relieve stress
The importance of mental health
With the modernization of society, the frequency of mental illnesses in young adulthood is increasing. It impairs the quality of life of the patient, but also of his family and environment.
Statistical health data all over the world put mental disorders at the top of the list of the most common diseases. Also, hospital treatment for mental disorders has increased significantly in the last 15 years.
Depressive disorder is one of the most common and serious mental disorders that causes not only mental suffering but also the overall decline of a person. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020, depression could become the second leading disease.
People with mental disorders in society are stigmatized, unaccepted, and often rejected, which significantly worsens their illness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people worldwide commit suicide each year. Suicide is consideres the worst outcome of mental illness. It is committed by more people than are killed in war, terrorist activities or as victims of murder, and it is estimated that about three times more people think about suicide.
Numerous studies have shown that there is an association between mental health disorders with the onset or worsening of other diseases. Especially with an increased risk of death due to stroke or heart attack and cancer.
Recent studies also indicate a significantly increased risk of developing various forms of dementia in old age, especially Alzheimer’s disease. However, the biggest problem is that in the last ten years, mental disorders have been on the rise in the population at an ever younger age, even among children.
What worsens mental health?
Isolation and loneliness are not good counselors. Except when the goal is to read a good book, meditation exercises, or a moment to think about something in a profound way.
Prolonged states of isolation affect the balance of emotions and even physical health. Unless you are a master of meditation or there are specific circumstances that require solitude to perform the task. In other cases, there is no reason to extend these conditions.
The use of certain substances also worsens mental health. Abuse of drugs, alcohol or tobacco can damage the nervous system and negatively affect the brain. This increases the risk of developing mental illness. If there are already other predispositions, taking these substances can trigger a state of mental illness. Therefore, we must not believe the promises of certain drugs.
Electronic media today are an integral part of our lives. They play an important role in the emotional development, behavior and intellectual functioning of children and youth. Like most things, modern technology and the internet as its most widespread product, have their pros and cons.
Too much watching TV or using a computer and various media is something that seemingly helps relieve stress, but don’t be fooled. The media gives the illusion of communicating with others, but in reality it distances people from social contact.
Due to increased brain activity caused by the media, brain overload occurs. This increases the likelihood of developing mood disorders (depression, anxiety, etc.), poor sleep, loss of concentration and weakening of the immune system, develops the need for more stimuli from the environment and the need to seek excitement.
How to improve mental health?
There are many ways a person can help themselves and keep their mental health good. As with most other chronic diseases, which are on the rise significantly due to modern lifestyles, diet has a major impact on mental health.
The benefits of the Mediterranean diet have been known for years. An extensive study involving more than 11,000 middle-aged women who followed the rules of this diet showed significant benefits not only on physical health but also on long-term maintenance of good cognitive functions and overall mental health.
In contrast, foods that have a bad effect on mental health are well known. Those are high amounts of sugar and caffeine, and food additives (labeled E).
Increased alcohol consumption increases the incidence of anxiety and depression. In addition, alcohol dependence leads to a complete collapse of mental health.
Physical activity is also, as with other diseases, an important factor in maintaining good mental health. Physical effort is a great remedy for sadness, grief, anger and all other negative emotions. This is because when the body gets tired, the mind rests and “cleanses” of negative emotions.
Health experts therefore recommend that adults engage in some moderate aerobic physical activity (walking, jogging, cycling) for two and a half hours a week. Conducting this kind of exercise in a group additionally stimulates a good mood because it strengthens important social contacts and a sense of belonging and strengthens self-confidence.
There are also recommendations for conducting so-called “green” activity, ie physical activity in a green, stimulating nature. For instance, walks in nature or work in the garden, which have been proven to improve the condition of patients with mild to moderate depression.
How to maintain mental health?
The first thing you need to do is promote the care of your body. As the proverb we all already know well says: A healthy mind in a healthy body. In addition to helping you improve your mental health, proper nutrition and regular physical activity will also help and maintain your mental health for many years to come.
Finally, healthy sleep and enough sleep are extremely important for mental health. Sleep disorders are one of the first signs of mental imbalance. It has been proven that people who sleep less than five hours a day for a longer period of life are more susceptible to developing mental illness. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce good sleep hygiene, from an early age, in order to maintain the adopted habit throughout life.
Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to play a significant role in maintaining good mental health. One of them is DHA, docosahexaenoic acid, which we normally find in brain cells. DHA deficiency causes a number of mental problems. Increasing DHA intake is recommended for memory impairment, depression, mood disorders, dementia and attention deficit disorder. In addition to DHA, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and antioxidants are often recommended for good brain health.
A few more tips:
Keep in touch with the people who matter to you. It is important to have an active relationship with family members, friends or colleagues, not just as a habit. You should spend as much time as possible with the people who are important to you.
If you are going through episodes of anxiety or sadness, it is good to practice a little relaxation. It is not a matter of changing your life to become a Dalai Lama, but to introduce a small physical program into your daily life that will help you a lot.
It is best to perform relaxation exercises that act on the whole body while doing deep and controlled breathing exercises. This balances and affects your ability to develop new creative processes.
Reading a good book, enjoying music, photographing the sunrise, or observing the starry sky through a telescope. These are activities that help you stimulate emotional intelligence.
The fact that we come in contact with nature is not only empowering in terms of the well-being of the Earth. It also creates states of peace and contemplation, which are necessary for the mind.
Encouraging a hobby increases your sense of value in life. It also allows you to interact with people of different ages and mentalities.
One of the most important things is to be in touch with yourself. You need to get to know yourself, accept yourself, try to surpass yourself and love yourself.
These are basic tasks that will support the improvement of your mental health and improve the rest of your activities and skills.
There are a number of factors that affect mental health. Some of them we can control, while other factors are not in our hands. If you are aware of your problems we advise you to try some of the above tips. But you need to know that the same rules do not apply to anyone, so be sure to consult a doctor who will approach your problems individually. A professional will best help you improve your mental health.
Also read: 10 bad habbits for your mental health