The World Health Organization defines mental health as “ a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” We demonstrate good mental health when we are able to regulate our emotions and behaviours, have self confidence, build and maintain healthy, meaningful relationships, cope with stress, bounce back from challenges, participate in activities that have a sense of meaning, and create a balance between work and play and activity and rest. As you can see, being mentally healthy goes beyond simply lacking a mental health diagnosis. Maintaining good mental health like maintaining good physical health takes conscious awareness.
Taking care of your body is a good first step. The link between good mental health, and nutrition (good food and enough food), sleep (quantity and quality) exercise (to relieve stress and elevate mood) are well documented.
Paying attention to your feelings and desires as you strengthen your emotional resiliency is key to improvement.
Here are a few ways I encourage you to create optimal mental health:
- Be in direct sunlight 10 minutes every day.
- Engage in creative, meaningful activities
- Do acts of loving kindness- feeling useful and positively affecting others builds self esteem
- Enjoy beauty in art, nature, music, food – being present and engaging the senses can elevate your mood.
- Become mindful of mental habits that drain your energy. Some tools to break those habits are:
- breathing techniques,
- open-focus or mindfulness based meditation or
These tools to allow you to move from negative to positive states of mind.
- Make time for play time a priority
- Pay attention to the positive and beautiful as you are moving through your day allowing yourself to enjoy these moments and be in a state of gratitude for them.
- Pay attention to what peace, joy and happiness feel like in your body. Memorize these feelings and sensations so you can call on them to help you cope with worry or stress.
Pamyla Love is a Master of Vibrational Medicine. She is passionate about providing ways for people to make effective changes mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually so they can elevate their state of health and well-being to be peaceful, at ease and happy.