We’ve been talking about mental health a lot lately, particularly in regards to how to maintain strong mental health whilst we’re all experiencing challenging times due to COVID. However, what does it mean exactly? How do we know that we need to work on our mental health when it encapsulates such a wide range of things and it’s something that can’t be physically seen?
Mental Health vs. Mental Illness
Firstly, we need to establish that mental health and mental illness is not exactly the same thing. Strong mental health may mean that we are less likely to develop a mental illness but sometimes there are factors outside our control that can impact us developing a mental illness.
The Signs of Strong Mental Health
Strong mental health generally means we feel and we function well in life and we feel good. That definition tells us that it exists on a spectrum, and we humans can have times where our mental health is not strong, and that’s ok. Strong mental health is about your overall psychological well-being—the way you feel about yourself and others as well as your
ability to manage your feelings and deal with everyday difficulties.
Below are some signifiers of what it looks like according to an article by The Conversation1:
We experience positive emotions: happiness, joy, pride, satisfaction, and love
We have positive relationships: people you care for, and who care for you
We are feeling engaged with life
We have meaning and purpose: feeling your life is valuable and worthwhile
We have a sense of accomplishment: doing things that give you a sense of achievement or competence
We have emotional stability: feeling calm and able to manage emotions
We are resilient: the ability to cope with the stresses of daily life
We are optimistic: feeling positive about your life and future
We have good self-esteem: feeling positive about yourself
We have vitality: feeling energetic.
Keep Working at it!
The good thing is that It can be developed over time. It’s like anything else, it is important to work at it as it can fluctuate over time. We also need to be mindful that external factors can also impact our mental health. This includes things such as social, economic and genetic conditions. With that in mind, as individuals we can work at cultivating strong mental health but it is important that we simultaneously address systemic and societal issues that may also impact on mental health at large in our communities.
At Mood Active, we help people experiencing mild to moderate depression, anxiety and other mood disorders – such as Bipolar, PTSD, SAD and more – get back on their feet through exercise even during social distancing times. We offer affordable exercise programs with the extra outreach, coaching support and supervision needed for those who are struggling with their motivation. Contact us if you’d like to learn more.