What is Mental Health?
According to the World Health Organization– Mental health is defined as
“A state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities can cope with the normal stresses of life can work productively and can make a contribution to his or her community”.
If we simplify this in a simple language- Mental Health is a state of being which includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects our ability to think, feel, and act.
Mental health is important at every stage of our life, right from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.
What is Mental health disorder?
When our ability to manage our emotional, psychological, and social well-being gets affected and when we are not able to manage how we feel, think and act, then we can say we are suffering from a mental health disorder.
E.g.- Let’s say, you had a relationship breakup recently and since then you are continuously crying and have not been able to sleep, eat or do any activity well. It’s been more than 2 weeks, and this is still the case, so you might be having mental health disorder. It might be a sign of depression.
But don’t confuse it with sadness, sadness only lasts for a while. It’s very natural to feel bad when you break up with someone you were emotionally attached to. But usually, it only lasts for a while, for a couple of days. If it is affecting your daily life, then it may be a sign of mental health disorder.
I hope this has given some clarity about Mental health and Mental health disorder.
Mental health is as important as physical health
Symptoms of Mental health disorder?
Ok…Let’s discuss, what are the common symptoms of mental health disorders.
Common mental health symptoms or early warning signs: –
You should never ignore the signs your body is giving you. Because if you don’t diagnose it early, it will get worse and will create havoc. Below are some of the common symptoms and signs you should be aware of.
- Not eating or sleeping properly or doing it too much
- Distancing from people and social circle
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Having numb feeling (like nothing matters)
- Having thoughts of being useless in life
- Continuously thinking about something which is affecting your daily life
- Mood swings (sudden change of mood, e.g.- You are happy one moment and suddenly you are sad)
- Smoking, drinking, and using drugs more than usual
- Excessive crying
- Having suicidal thoughts every now and then
- Yelling and fighting with friends every now and then
- Getting angry (more than usual) on small things
- Feeling like everybody is trying to hurt you
- Talking to yourself loudly, like someone is sitting beside you (but actually no one is there)
- Extreme fear of something
These are some common symptoms; you should be aware of. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned here, you might wanna consult a psychologist.
Is Mental health important?
Of course, it is! Otherwise, why would I make effort to write about it? And why many people are coming forward to remove the stigma around it?
Always remember, your body is controlled by your mind. And when your mind is not performing at its optimal level, then it’s a sign of a mental illness.
Don’t get confused between Mental illness and Mental Health Disorder. It’s the same. We use it interchangeably.
Mental illness is like any other health illness, and it should be treated like one. Unfortunately, we don’t treat it like that. Either we don’t acknowledge it, or we make a mockery out of it.
That’s why we have not been able to treat mental illness till now because first, we need to recognize it. Mental illness is so stigmatized that people don’t come forward to seek help.
I’ll give you an example of a doctor.
Let’s say a doctor is having trauma because a patient died on the operating table. He/she is not able to handle it and has the same thoughts continuously which is affecting his daily practice. But he won’t go see a psychologist, because he fears, what if it gets out?
Because if it gets out, people will think, if the doctor himself is not mentally fit, how can he treat me?
This is the kind of stigma we are dealing with.
I’ll give you another example
Let’s say, a doctor is having a counselling session with a psychologist. His situation is getting better, but he won’t tell anybody about it because of the same reason- what will people think?
So yeah, this is the level of stigma we have today. But you need to come forward and seek help if you are having any kind of mental health issues.
Are Mental disorders like other health conditions?
Yes, they are very much like any other health condition faced by humans. Despite high global rates of mental disorders, many of us don’t understand the importance of mental health.
Mental health literacy is very important but uncommon and due to this, mental illness come with their share of social stigmas. But we as a society need to understand that this is a medical condition the same way heart diseases and diabetes are.
Due to a lack of understanding, many tend to ignore the early signs of any kind of mental illness and even see going to a mental health professional as a negative thing.
The above prevents people from seeking help or even talking about their issues openly, making their distress worse. It is high time that we start reaching out to people and educating them the same way we promote healthy eating habits and exercising regularly.
This will lead to a population that is healthy in all kinds and lives up to their full potential while enjoying every aspect of their life.
All the factors and examples we saw above teach us how mental health disorders have the power to impact the entire human body in every way.
Physically It can be due to weight gain and loss, high blood pressure, improper sleep, tiredness, and fatigue, mentally it reduces decision-making power, excessive mood swings and irritability, and much more.
The much-needed step here is to accept, confess and treat these disorders as soon as possible.
How can we prevent Mental illness?
Well, we are living in an era where everything is fast-moving. We don’t have enough time for anything. We have high-stress levels, difficult targets in the office, social media, news etc.
These all are affecting our mental health. You are so much under influence of social media that sometimes you click a picture just to show your Instagram friends and get likes and comments. And if they don’t engage with you the way you expected them to be, you feel sad.
When you go to the office, you are given impossible targets to achieve, you are working in the office and then in your home, you don’t have time for your family, friends, kids. You are so physically and mentally exhausted that you don’t have any energy left to talk with the people you are close to.
These all contribute to our mental health, and we regularly say that It’s important to have a work-life balance.
How to take care of mental health at home?
You might have heard people saying “dil ki suno ya dimag ki” (I don’t know I am confused). This constant conflict between our heart and brain arises due to different interests between them and it is equally important for us to keep it healthy and balanced.
We do everything to keep our heart healthy, taking care of our cholesterol levels, blood pressure, proper food but what do we do to keep our brain healthy?
No matter who we listen to, ultimately it’s the brain that makes the decision. Mental health is as important as physical health and taking care of it should be an utmost priority.
This pandemic has taught us so many things and one such is the importance of mental health because when times are hard, taking care of ourselves mentally and physically becomes even more important than it usually is.
There are several ways you can take care of yourself while you’re at home to improve mental, emotional, and physical health.
- Develop a Routine
- Take Care of Yourself by Staying Active
- Set Small Goals
- Cook Wholesome Meals
- Practice Mindfulness
- Take Breaks
- Make Your Space Comfortable
- Communicate With Others
- Do Something Nice for Someone Else
- Keep a Journal
A little dose of positivity goes a long way. Remember to smile and be kind to others.
This pandemic time has been challenging for all of us but if we choose to be kind, we can unite and fight back with ease. However, if you feel things are getting out of hand, we urge you to seek help at the earliest.
We hope that these 10 ways to take care of your mental health at home could be of your help.
We would love to hear your thoughts on mental health in the comments below.