Healthcare providers generally agree that mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
Mental health is important at every stage of one’s life, from childhood and adolescence through your senior years. It affects how you think, feel, and act. Your mental health also helps influence how you how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices in your everyday life.
Mental health issues can impact your thinking, mood, and behavior. And, importantly, your mental health, in turn, directly affects your physical health and wellbeing. Chronic illness, as well as autoimmune disease, can be triggered by and/or contribute mental health problems.
Factors influencing mental health
Many factors influence a person’s mental health, including:
- Biological factors, such as your brain chemistry and/or genes
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse you may have experienced, and
- Your family history of mental health problems.
In general, good mental health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence, and self-esteem. It enables you to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and your environment. Individuals who are mentally healthy:
- Form positive relationships
- Use their abilities to express their potential, and
- Deal more effectively with life’s challenges.
In contrast, poor mental health can result in symptoms such as:
- Having low or no energy
- Having unexplained aches and pains
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Using alcohol or drugs more than usual
- Inability to perform normal daily tasks
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Feeling on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Feeling unusually confused or forgetful
- Experiencing severe mood swings
- Anger or hostility towards family and friends
- Withdrawing from relationships and usual activities
- Having thoughts of harming yourself or others
If you feel your mental health has been compromised, there are many natural things you can do to restore balance, without the use of expensive pharmaceutical drugs. For example, eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, getting sufficient sleep, learning new skills for managing stress effectively and spiritual counseling can all help.