In today’s modern, wiser, more aware world, people understand the importance of health and indulge in multiple activities to have a fit and healthy body. From going to the gym, doing various physical activities, and eating various types of good food, people these days try their best to maintain a balanced physical health.
But can having a physical routine and maintain fitness ensure good overall body health? While many people tend to think the answer to this is yes, the reality is that no, physical health alone does not determine your overall health.
Mental Health has an equally important role in your overall health as does physical health. Yet, due to lack of awareness, societal pressure, and fear amongst other factors, people neglect mental health completely. People unknowingly suffer for years, hiding away things, and not opening up to anyone. As time passes, it causes much more damage to the overall health than anyone could anticipate.
What exactly is mental health?
Mental health refers to a combination of various psychological factors, mostly due to the ongoing things and situations in our daily lives. It includes our emotions, our feelings, our thoughts and has an impact on our actions, our moods, and our overall behavior.
Multiple factors contribute to our mental health. These include:
- Biological Factors (Genes)
- General Life Situations (Traumatic Events)
- Family History (Carried on from ages)
Life is an unstable journey where a lot of different events and situations arise. There are different phases, while some are good, some can be very traumatic. In these problematic times, our minds are filled with loads of irrational thoughts. These develop into issues that affect mental peace and eventually mental health.
What are the effects of Mental Health in our Lives?
Our mind has a deep impact on the quality of our lives. A sound and relaxed mind enables you to make better decisions, stay focused, concentrate better and handle every situation peacefully. While a mind under stress stops you from performing at your best, taking good and stable decisions and leading a quality life.
Mental health affects both the body and the brain. As such, if your mind is unhealthy, then you will face emotional as well as physical issues. The symptoms of emotional stress will include mood changes, anxiety, taking impulsive actions, sudden anger. The symptoms of physical struggle might include sudden weight loss, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, or even loss of libido.
These effects can either be short-term or long-term. While short term mental health effects may cause a person to stay sad, feel helpless, have anger and fear, the long term effects can be much more drastic. It can lead a person into severe depression, or similar disorders. It is of extreme importance to deal with these health issues in the early stages.
What are the types of Mental Health Disorders?
Mental Health Disorders have been categorized into 5 major types. Let’s learn about each of these in a detailed way.
It is hard to define depression, but you can refer it to multiple conditions and a variety of stress emotions. These emotions include a persistent sad mood, a lack of interest in one’s life and unwillingness to do daily activities with required dedication, constantly feeling tired, fatigued and inability to make decisions.
This is a chronic form of mental health disorder, wherein an individual tends to have multiple personalities. People with this disorder commonly talk to themselves and hear multiple voices. They are unable to distinguish between reality and their paranoid state.
Under this, the patient goes through different phases and cycles of emotional states, which range from high emotional activities to low lethargic behavior and sadness.
This causes an individual to live with constant fear. The person tends to think negatively and fears for something worse, an impending doom to occur. This constant sense and a bad feeling affect them badly.
ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
In this, the individual demonstrates an inability to stay focused and concentrate on any task. This is often combined with impulsive behavior, tendency to get angry, inability to sit still doing a particular task and a continuously overthinking mind.
Why is it important to prioritize Mental Health?
Health is the primary most important thing for every human being. Without a healthy body, you will face regular problems and your quality of life will get depleted. We do a lot to maintain our physical health, but most of us are ignorant about our mental health.
Let us imagine the situation. Think that you had a minor injury, so what will be the first thing you would do? Probably try to apply first-aid to the wound, or maybe even go to a doctor to get it looked after. But what happens when the injury is to our mind? We ignore it and leave the wound open instead of healing it.
Most of us ignore the mental wounds i.e. the issues surrounding us. Even if some people acknowledge it, then they are scared to speak about it to anyone due to the fear of getting judged. However, just like you treat a physical wound, it is equally important to heal the mental wound before it does any damage. It is important to give equal importance to the well-being of your mind.
How can you prioritize Mental Health?
To put your mental health upfront and make it a priority, you can follow the below-mentioned steps:
The first step towards prioritizing mental health is awareness. It is important to be aware of what your mind thinks, how you generally feel, and what the voice in your head tells you. Each one of us has a voice in our heads, and that is generally the best indicator of our mental health. If the voice is negative, it is a signal towards ongoing issues in the mind.
By noticing what is going on in your head, detecting symptoms early, and addressing them as soon as you can, you prioritize your mental health and keep yourself healthy.
Not Accepting the issues
Whenever we face any issues which affect us mentally, we tend to ignore them. We never accept that we have issues, and fail to address them early. It is important to understand that it is not okay to tell yourself that you are ok.
It is easy to push the negative thoughts and feelings to the back of your mind. We tend to get busy with our lives and ignore what goes on in our minds. Though some people endorse it as a cure to the problems, it will eventually add up and cause even bigger issues down the road.
We should assess our minds, see what is going on, and try to accept reality instead of being ignorant about it. It is only after you accept that you can prioritize your mental health that you can work towards improving it.
Most people fear to talk about mental health. There is a constant fear of getting judged by society, which may form prejudices against you. But getting help and sharing things with people close to you does not mean that there is something wrong with you. Rather it signifies your maturity in dealing with your problems and caring about yourself.
You should rise above the societal clichés and open up about our mental health. You should talk about it just like you talk about your physical well-being. Even if you know someone else who wants to speak up, listen to them, and take a huge step in making things right.
How can you improve your Mental Health?
By taking a few positive steps and following a good routine, or making a to-do list for your mental well being, you can significantly improve your mental health. Some of these steps can be:
Physical and Mental health go hand in hand. When you exercise, your body releases stress-relieving hormones known as endorphins. These take away the pressure from your mind and put you in a good mood.
Eat Good Food
Taking a good nutrient-filled diet nourishes your brain and increases the level of serotonin, a chemical compound that increases the calming influence in your mind. Foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins help in increasing serotonin and dopamine, which help you stay alert and focused.
Besides, research has shown that taking nutrients such as zinc, iron and omega-3 fatty acids improves mood and stabilizes your mind, which is important for its cognitive functioning.
It has been found by studies that inconsistent sleep or sleep deprivation hurts your mood. We all have days when we don’t get enough sleep and start feeling grumpy and irritated. Thereby you should try and sleep for at least 8 hours and follow a pattern every day. Keep all screens away, sleep early at night and get up at similar times in the morning.
We all get so busy and occupied with our daily schedules, we forget to relax. Both the body and the mind need breaks to avoid stress. You should take breaks after regular intervals. It is important to step away, take a walk, listen to some good music, talk to people and take deep breaths to avoid stress and anxiety and protect your mental health.
Mental Health is one of the most important yet ignored topics. But instead of avoiding it and pushing the issues back, we should prioritize it and try to deal with it.
By understanding its types, its importance and the ways to deal with it, you can easily fight off the related stress and anxiety and prevent yourselves from succumbing to any disorder.
Besides, by giving yourself proper sleep, eating good food, drinking more alkaline water, exercising regularly, and taking control of things, you can achieve optimal health both physically as well as mentally.