Learn all about mental health

Did you know more than 43 million Americans are dealing with mental health conditions? Many people let mental health issues go untreated, but if not dealt with properly, a deteriorating mental state can greatly affect your quality of life. There are many ways to develop positive mental health, from getting regular exercise to managing your thoughts and feelings. But before seeking solutions, you must understand the questions, “What is mental health?” and “Why is mental health important?” Finding a mental health definition that resonates with you is your first step to prioritizing your mental well-being. 

The mental health definition you need to remember

You might be wondering, what is mental health?

Your mental health is comprised of your social, psychological and emotional state. Although we sometimes hear the term “mental health” and think about mental illness, the two are not the same. Mental illness encompasses disorders that occur in the brain, like depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Your mental health depends on a variety of factors, including genetics and chemistry of the brain, past life experiences and a family history of mental health struggles. And our mental health definition is not one that’s confined to a specific stage of your life – it’s an all-encompassing aspect that comes into play at any age. 

Why is mental health important? Positive mental health will boost your productivity and cultivate an attitude where you desire to contribute to your community in a productive way. A positive and joyful disposition is a powerful way to prevent the signs of depression from arising. A lifestyle focused on progress helps you grow and meet daily challenges in a direct manner.  

What is mental health? A broader overview

While mental health issues should be dealt with with the aid of a professional, such as a doctor or therapist, there are a lot of ways to generate positive mental health on your own.

Mental health can be handled by monitoring your mood, engaging in self-care, changing your physical activity and participating in social activities, among other things. Understanding these considerations gives you a better understanding of what is mental health and the importance it plays in your life. 

Why is mental health important?

Your mental health is essential to your well-being. When your mental health is suffering, it can affect every aspect of your life because it impairs how you think, feel and, eventually, act. This change in your emotional and mental state leads to physical action, or a lack thereof. In order to live in a beautiful state, you have to take control of your mental health, because as Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.”

In creating a mental health definition, it’s important to know that everyone suffers from lows and highs in their experience. It’s safe to say that no one is incredibly happy 100% of the time, and no one is 100% sad all of the time, so if you do feel like your mental health is suffering, don’t beat yourself up over it. When you find yourself focusing on negative thoughts or feelings, don’t think of yourself as broken. Instead, try to reframe your thoughts and find activities that can help you get over this temporary state. Don’t think of life as happening to you – instead, life is happening for you. This small tweak in your thoughts can lead to a world of improvement in your mental health.

Creating an inclusive mental health definition

An accurate mental health definition acknowledges that developing mental wellness is a process, not a destination. Everyone must tend to their mental well-being, whether or not they have a diagnosable mental health condition. The language we use when asking, “What is mental health?” shapes how we as a society perceive mental wellness. When considering a mental health definition, taking an inclusive approach empowers everyone to build the contented lives we all deserve. Rather than thinking of mental health as a state you either have or don’t have, think of it as existing on a continuum. 

Mental health versus mental perfection

Mental health is not the same as mental perfection. The former is the ever-evolving experience of your thoughts, feelings and physiology; the latter is impossible. One of the most dangerous misconceptions about mental health is that it equates to the absence of unpleasant emotions. A life without struggles would be nice, but it’s an unrealistic expectation. Believing you’re inferior or bad for having mental health struggles contributes to feeling isolated or de-prioritizing your mental wellness. As you work to develop a mental health definition that resonates, understand that when you take action to build wellness into your inner world, you’re not doing it to achieve a state of perfection. You’re cultivating positive mental health as a source of comfort and joy. 

Taking stock of your mental health

Do you feel that your mental health is suffering? First, identify what’s causing you to believe your mental health is deteriorating. Has something happened that changed your state? Or are you picking up on smaller signs, like a lack of interest in things you once loved or a decline in energy? Are you stuck in a loop of negative thoughts or habits?

There’s no shame in acknowledging that you’re feeling off, but it’s crucial that you recognize what you’re going through and decide to move past it. There’s some reason why you’re not feeling like yourself, and it’s important to get to the root cause so you can address it.

How to maintain positive mental health

The best thing you can do for your mental well-being is to recognize that your current state isn’t permanent. When you’re feeling depressed, anxious or less interested in things you used to enjoy, give yourself a moment. Practice breathing techniques to see if you can diffuse the situation. If your signs persist, try one of these techniques to foster positive mental health.

1. Change your physical state

The connection between your mind and body can’t be overlooked. Your thoughts determine your actions, but your physicality also affects your emotions. If you find yourself in a depressed or stressed state, take a moment to adjust your posture. Stretch. Go outside and take a walk. Engage in a physical activity that you love. Changing your physiology can help lift your spirits and your mental health.

what is mental health

2. Modify your diet

improve your mental health through your diet

There’s a direct link between how you feel and what you eat. A healthy and nutritious diet is one filled with vital nutrients and minerals, like omega-3, vitamin D and magnesium that are essential building blocks that power many of your body’s key functions. 

Tony’s a strong believer in making definite choices to transform your lifestyle. Since a proper mental health definition incorporates your overall well-being, modifying your diet is one of the best ways to develop beneficial habits around your mental health and feel better physically at the same time.

3. Fast to help your body reset

If you’ve been eating poorly and feel sluggish or if you’re just looking for a way to clear your head and give your body a chance to recover, fasting can be a powerful tool. When you fast, you don’t have to completely cut out all food. Rather, focusing on when your body is hungry and then eating helps your body balance out different hormones. A body in tranquility helps you address your mental health since you’ll physically feel stronger and more energetic. 

Fasting is seen as a positive stressor that spurs the body to adapt by enhancing the renewal of cells and promoting detoxification. There are a few popular methods of intermittent fasting for those interested in following a regimented fasting plan. The 16/8 method has you eating inside of an eight-hour window and then fasting for the remaining hours in the day.

Other strategies, like the eat-stop-eat method, involve a total fast for one or two days per week with a regular eating schedule on the other days. This plan is a great option for those looking to give their body a complete period of rest for a short period of time each week.

When it comes to fasting for mental health, don’t try to stress out about what plan you should follow. Feel free to experiment and then stick with the method that feels most natural to you and seems to give the best results.

how to improve your mental health through body rest

4. Find activities you’re passionate about that boost your mental health

Are you spending your evenings alone? Do you have energy that you’re unsure of what to do with? Is this downtime causing your mind to wander to dark places? Instead of allowing a negative state to take hold, explore new activities that bolster your mental health. 

Whether it’s learning a new language, diving into a new sport or exercise routine or even finding a new podcast to listen to, it’s important for your mental health to spend your downtime in a way that makes you feel fulfilled. 

You’ll be able to add this new activity into your routine, perhaps learn a new skill and bolster your mental health in the process. Search the Internet or ask friends in your area to learn about classes and opportunities for you to learn new skills and expand your social circle. Diving into a new activity will be more fulfilling and enjoyable if you can do so with like-minded people.

practicing good mental health

5. Socialize

socializing to help mental health

Whether you’re around people at the office all day or work from home alone, life can sometimes feel isolating. With all the time we spend on social media or browsing the Internet, it’s imperative to turn to real-life interactions for the sake of your mental health. This could be something as straightforward as making sure you read your kids bedtime stories each night, or something more involved like joining a book club with a new group of friends. Surrounding yourself with people who care about you will help to fight off a poor mental state while simultaneously filling your life with joy.

6. Understand that your mental health is always changing

When we ask, “Why is mental health important?”, an important part of the answer is realizing that mental wellness is an ongoing process. Mental health isn’t something you deal with once. The state of your mind is something that’s constantly changing, and you need to treat it as such.  

Think about your body – your physical health is something you need to constantly tend to through eating nutritiously, exercising and regulating for signs of disease. Your mind is the same way. Learn how to recognize the signs of a decline in your mental state so you can fill your life with the activities and thoughts that make you feel more empowered and joyful. Reframe your thoughts from negative to positive, because, as Tony Robbins says, “Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life.”

improve your mental health through change

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Important note

The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. See full disclaimer.

Ready to experience the extraordinary life you deserve?

Reaching a healthy state of mind is not a simplistic journey and does not entail an overnight solution, but there are ways to work toward the state you deserve. With the right information and support, you can build a solid foundation for mental health to live a fulfilling life. Discover how to reframe your mindset and conquer the roadblocks that prevent you from reaching your beautiful state with the help of Tony Robbins’ free digital Limiting Beliefs guide.