by Nicholas Wright of Wright Group Counseling
Mental health is essential, and it determines how a person operates psychologically, socially, and emotionally. It relates to every aspect of human life. Some would even say the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict, is necessary to care for yourself appropriately. Furthermore, a balance between mental (psychological), emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of your life dictate mental well-being.
However, it has been observed that 60% of the people that experience mental health barriers go untreated primarily, among adults (Princeton.edu). Poor mental health results from several underlying causes. We have listed some of the major causes and symptoms. Similarly, the benefits of good mental health and ways to maintain them are also discussed.
Risk Factors for Mental Health
Mental health can be defined as a normal state of personal well-being. More precisely, it is a condition of being healthy, prosperous and content. It allows a person to remain productive and make meaningful contributions. However, due to different causes, people might not always be in a state of good mental health.
Some of the most common causes of mental health include; environment, abuse, genetics, and lifestyle. It would help if you tried to live in a positive environment; for example, living in a city is more stressful than living close to natural habitats. Surrounding yourself with good people, giving yourself enough time to introspect and living in lively places would be helpful.
Abusive relationships or childhood abuse can increase the likelihood of developing mental disorders like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and personality disorders.
There are many factors that lead to the cause of mental health disorders, childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect, social isolation or loneliness, experiencing discrimination and stigma, including racism, social disadvantage, poverty or debt, bereavement (losing someone close to you, severe or long-term stress and having a long-term physical health condition.
However, some things are preventable and can increase the onset of psychological problems. For example: what we eat, substance abuse, smoking and negative self-talk. Benefits of Good Mental Health
Benefits of Good Mental Health
The state of being physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually healthy entails various beneficial outcomes. For example, reduction of anxiety, sleep, clearer thinking and overall improved mood. Given below are some of the benefits of good mental health.
Stress management plays a large role in having good mental health. If you often are stressed and “on edge” productivity will decrease. Plus, you’re not fun to be around. Giving yourself a break is a strong way to improve your stress management. A break doesn’t have to be an expensive vacation or even a day trip to Virginia Beach, both really nice, but also not the only way to improve stress management. Some simple strategies are: stretching, humming a favorite song for 20 secs, drinking cold ice water, carving out hobby time/alone time or going for a walk. Don’t beat me up! I’m here to help. Just give it a try.
Relationships require time, affection, dedication, and support. A strong connection with mental health can improve relationships and ensure they’re long-lasting and productive. A great book to read to improve your relationship is, “7 Principles of Making Marriage Work” by Gottman. I really like how it encourages friendship and highlights the importance of maintaining that aspect of the relationship.
Mental health is related to self-image. A positive attitude and confidence in life indicate a good state of mind. You are more likely to be ambitious, focus on the good in yourself, and use your competencies to achieve a healthy lifestyle and success. A simple strategy to help build self-worth is a journaling technique called “4.” It is a journaling technique that I recommend because it’s short and sweet and if you’re like me, long journal entries aren’t my thing. The 4 technique: Write 3 things you did well for the day and one thing you want to improve on, not that it went bad, but you want to improve.
Quality of Life and Productivity
A state of good mental health correlates with greater participation in the community, positive hobbies/meaningful activities, new relationships, and good quality of life. People who can develop a strong quality of life are more efficient at work and home. I encourage you to try different hobbies, playing board games, making a fort/tent in the living room and playing Uno with loved ones. These things can boost your energy and enhance your mood.
Common Mental Health Issues
Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing and disturbing experience. It is a response to an event that a person finds terrible. For example, surviving an accident or a natural disaster, a failed relationship etc. Consequently, it can cause several emotional, physical, and psychological symptoms, whereas it does not necessarily last long; however, finding ways to manage trauma is essential.
Scientifically, trauma is classified into acute trauma resulting from a single event, chronic trauma resulting from repeated events such as child abuse, and complex trauma resulting from multiple events. A traumatic person may experience anger, fear, sadness, confusion, depression, anxiety, denial, guilt, hopelessness, irritability, numbness, and difficulty concentrating (Marvaldi et al., 2021). There are several treatment options focused on improving the person’s quality of life and coping with the symptoms. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), somatic therapies, and medications.
Addiction is a complex phenomenon defined as a chronic dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS) that involves motivation, reward, and memory. Generally, it is associated with compulsive and obsessive behavior. Therefore, it can be a substance or behavior addiction (Heilig et al., 2021).
The most common sign of addiction is the lack of self-control. Consequently, a person is more likely to face poor emotional and behavioral changes. Addiction has been classified into four stages: experimentation, social or regular, problem or risk, and dependency. However, it can be treated by medication, psychotherapy, medical services, inpatient addiction treatment, self-help and support groups.
Depression is a mood disorder, and it is commonly associated with negative feelings such as sadness, loss, and anger (Marx et al., 2021). Moreover, it is common among people with low self-esteem and a propensity to self-loath. Depression results in lower productivity; it interferes with your daily life and often worsens chronic health conditions.
The typical symptom of depression is a constant feeling of sadness, characterized as “feeling hopeless.” It can be caused by hormones, family history, trauma, brain chemistry and structure, medical conditions, addiction, and pain. It is reported that gender identity, sex, socioeconomic status, genetics, and substance abuse are the leading risk factors.
However, it can be effectively treated with medication, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic therapy, natural remedies and lifestyle changes such as exercise, proper diet, and personal care.
How to Maintain Mental Health and Well-Being
Mental health is of paramount importance, and you can take care of yourself by following lifestyle changes.
- Exercise regularly
- Rest and sleep adequately
- Meditate frequently
- Set boundaries
- Practice gratitude
- Learn what healthy ways improve your mood (painting, walking, comedy movies, cooking, family time or decreased family time, gospel music or meditative music vs negative music etc.)
For more information or to schedule your next counseling appointment, call (434)448-4044 or email: Nicholas.Wright@Wgctoday.com
Wright Group Counseling accepts most major insurance providers, Anthem, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield and United HealthCare.