In our society, mental health has gotten a bad rap. When we hear “mental health”, it has a negative overtone, and assumes someone has an issue – depression, anxiety, or behaviorial disorder. This is in direct contrast to what we think of when we hear “physical health”, which refers more to being in good physical condition.
Being healthy physically helps to prevent disease, gives us energy, and supports us as we age. But what about being healthy mentally? Is that important??
Oh, and how. Being mentally healthy is about brain health but goes even further than that.
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.”
So basically, being healthy mentally affects every part of our lives. Yep, that’s pretty important.
Now that that’s settled, let’s talk terms. Since the term “mental health” generally references mental disorder or disease, a new term is needed. Mental Fitness is good, but let’s go one better:
What are the benefits of MENTAL WELLNESS?
- Positive attitude
- Mental agility
- Improved problem solving
- Personal boundaries because you choose to take care of yourself
- Positive self-esteem, self-worth, self-value, and positive personal identity
How do you improve Mental Wellness? A lot of the same things you do for a healthy body, like:
- Healthy foods, including good fats
- Adequate water
- Physical activity
- Supportive relationships
- Less screen time (sorry, it’s not healthy for the brain)
The Health Wheel below is a good model for healthy living and overall wellness, both physically and mentally.