Updated: Mar 8
Mental wellness is a critical part of having healthy overall well-being. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental wellness as “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.” What many people don’t hear is that fluctuations in mental health are a normal part of life. Someone is not “crazy” if they feel sad or have a negative mindset.
“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared, and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.” - Lori Deschene
As such, the term mental wellness is preferred to mental health, since mental wellness indicates that it is similar to other types of wellness, such as physical and financial, and that anyone can progress toward wellness.
Why is Mental Wellness Important?
Poor mental wellness is a leading cause of disability and suicide worldwide.
The statistics concerning mental wellness are disheartening:
Good mental wellness is needed to help us handle stressful situations, make appropriate choices and have close relationships.
How can you improve your mental help?
#1. Seek Help.
If you have had minor to moderate depression for several years or major depression seek help from a qualified health care provider.
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” - Nido Qubein
#2. Become More Active.
You don’t have to run for 1 hour every day, as you can try dancing, meditating or doing yoga. The key is to become more active so your body can produce more “feel good” hormones. Once you feel more comfortable exercising, try exercising 3 to 5 times a week for 30 minutes or more in order to get more benefits from exercising more. The variety of exercises and ways to do them are huge, so choose exercises you enjoy, as you are more likely to continue doing them.
“Self-care is how you take your power back.” - Lalah Delia
#3. Love Yourself.
It is very important to take care of yourself. How can you best take care of yourself? By loving yourself. How do you love yourself? Firstly, you need to be kind to yourself. Spoil yourself with nutritious food, adequate sleep, and exercise.
Other things you need to do:
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Make time to do things that give you pleasure (for example, painting, photography, playing a sport, or hiking).
Learn new skills.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
#4. Say “NO” More Often.
Yes, it’s hard to say “no.” Difficulty saying no is a common problem, as we often feel that we are hurting the feelings of someone else by saying no. As a result, many of us say “yes” to many things we don’t enjoy doing.
To get you started, you can say “no,” while also suggesting an alternative like, “unfortunately, not at this time,” or “not this month.” Other ways to say “no” if relevant to your situation:
I promised my husband (kids, etc.) that I wouldn’t start any more tasks this month. I’m trying to have a good work-life balance.
Thank you for considering me for the task. Unfortunately, I can’t help you at this time because I am overcommitted for the next week (month etc.).
Saying “no” allows you more time to learn new skills, take better care of yourself and become more active.
“Every time we say yes to a request, we are also saying no to anything else we might accomplish with the time.” - Tim Harford
#5. Realize Your Self-Worth.
Many people don’t realize that they are loved and are important. I have never met someone that was worthless or even partly worthless. Even when people experience homelessness, they hold a lot of self-worth. It may be surprising to learn that several wealthy and successful people were once homeless:
This list only contains a few of the many homeless people who eventually became successful. The list of people who grew up very poor and became successful is much longer. The amount of money you have, or the number of friends you have, doesn’t determine your self-worth.
“I understand your pain. Trust me, I do. I’ve seen people go from the darkest moments in their lives to living a happy, fulfilling life. You can do it too. I believe in you. You are not a burden. You will never be a burden.” - Sophie Turner
Take Home Message.
Everyone that I have ever met, I appreciate, because I learn from everyone including kids and babies. What can a baby teach me? They have taught me to smile more, laugh more, try new things, and never stop learning.
Mental wellness affects how we look and act, and is a key component of happiness. If we don’t take care of our mental wellness, no one will. We have to love ourselves, get more active, say no more often, and seek help when needed. Don’t ever forget what matters most: YOU. Once you attain good mental wellness, help others that are struggling.
“Mental health problems don’t define who you are. They are something you experience. You walk in the rain and you feel the rain, but you are not the rain.” - Matt Haig
Written by Aldrin V. Gomes, PhD, FCVS, FAHA