What is mental health?
Mental health is a term that is used to describe a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. It is important to have a good mental health because it affects how we think, feel and behave.
What affects our mental health?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), there are many things that can affect our mental health, including:
•Our genes and family history
•Life experiences, such as traumatic events or being abused or neglected
•Biology and chemistry, such as how our brain functions or how we respond to stress and anxiety
•Environmental factors, such as pollution or poverty
Mental health is not one-dimensional; it is affected by a variety of factors. For example, someone who has a family history of mental illness may be more likely to experience a mental health disorder themselves. However, just because someone is at risk for developing a mental health disorder does not mean they will definitely experience one. Life experiences, such as traumatic events or being abused or neglected, can also affect our mental health. These life experiences can cause us to feel sad, anxious, or scared and can lead to disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression. Biology and chemistry can also play a role in our mental health. For example, how our brain functions or how we respond to stress and anxiety can influence our moods and emotions. Environmental factors, such as pollution or poverty, can also impact our mental health. Exposure to these factors can cause us to feel stressed out and anxious and may lead to disorders like depression or anxiety.
Some of the most common things that can affect mental health include:
Our lifestyle can affect our mental health in many ways. For example, if we don’t get enough sleep, this can lead to feeling tired and stressed, which can then affect our mental health. If we don’t eat well, this can also lead to feeling tired and stressed, and also affect our mental health. It’s therefore important to have a healthy lifestyle by getting enough sleep and eating well.
Our relationships can also affect our mental health. For example, if we have a lot of stress in our relationships, this can lead to us feeling unhappy and stressed, which can then affect our mental health. It’s therefore important to have positive relationships with the people around us.
Work and money
Our work and money can also affect our mental health. For example, if we are working long hours or are under a lot of stress at work, this can lead to us feeling unhappy and stressed, which can then affect our mental health. It’s therefore important to have a good work-life balance and to be comfortable with our financial situation.
How to protect your mental health
Mental health is something that is often overlooked, but it is so important to protect! Here are some tips on how to protect your mental health:
1. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is crucial for overall health, including mental health. When you’re well-rested, you’re less likely to feel stressed or overwhelmed. Make sure you’re getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
2. Exercise regularly.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to maintaining mental health and preventing stress and anxiety. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
3. Eat a balanced diet.
Eating nutritious foods helps your body function at its best, both physically and mentally. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks.
4. Take breaks throughout the day.
When you’re busy, it can be easy to overschedule yourself and not take any time for yourself. But it’s important to schedule in time for breaks throughout the day so you can relax and recharge. Take a few minutes every hour to do something calming, like reading or listening to music.
5. Connect with loved ones.
Spending time with loved ones can help improve mental health and reduce stress levels. Whether you stay in touch via text, social media, or in person, quality time with those you care about is essential for a healthy mind and body.
If you're struggling with your mental health and feel like you need further support then speak to your GP, or seek help from a mental health charity such as Mind.
Having struggled with Anxiety and Depression in the past, Emma is now an advocate for mental health and regularly writes blog posts to help those also struggling with mental health. You can view some of these popular blog posts below
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