Mental health or sanity of mind corresponds to a state of well-being and balance between your thoughts, your emotions and your behavior. What is it like to have good mental health? It is simply the satisfaction of the mind and the psychological state. Mental health is often associated with a negative aspect and it is high time to uninhibit the subject. It’s true, you don’t have to be in burnout or depression to start taking care of your mental health.
We all go through this: low morale, period of demotivation, stress due to work or studies. There are solutions to find a better mood and take care of yourself. Meditation, sport or nutrition, we give you all our tips to preserve your mental health and boost it!
What is meant by “mental health”? According to the World Health Organization, mental health does not simply correspond to the absence of a pathology of the mind. It is more a state of well-being, which is determined when we are able to express our potential, when we feel able to face the normal difficulties of life. When we can work productively and when we contribute to good of the community.
Mental health and psychological well-being, therefore, are not abstract concepts, but closely concern our families, schools and workplaces. Like physical health, mental health is also determined by a set of social, psychological and biological factors and it is important to safeguard it at every stage of existence.
What is mental health?
Being mentally healthy isn’t just about not having a mental illness. A person can live with a mental disorder and still experience mental well-being resulting in a balanced and fulfilling life. Like being in good physical health, being in good mental health makes you feel good about yourself. It also makes it possible to enjoy the joys of life, to flourish and to try new things. Maintaining good mental health is also one of the best ways to prepare for tough times in life, personally or professionally.
Basis of good mental health: balance
In order to maintain good mental health, you must establish a balance between the various aspects of your life, that is to say the aspects:
Periods of life (studies, professional development, family life, etc.), the difficulties and challenges encountered sometimes tip the scales one way or the other. It may then be relevant to question oneself about the changes to be made in order to promote the maintenance of one’s mental health.
Factors that influence mental health
Several factors influence a person’s mental health:
●biological factors, for example heredity;
●personal factors, such as lifestyle habits, self-esteem or childhood experiences;
●the physical environment, for example the state of the place of residence or the quality of the neighborhood;
●the social environment, for example the quality of relationships established with family, friends and the community;
●the economic environment, for example employment status and living conditions.
It is impossible to act on certain factors such as heredity or certain biological characteristics. However, there are things you can do to change your habits and take some steps to keep yourself mentally healthy.
What is a mental illness
A mental disorder, which can also be referred to as a psychiatric disorder or even a mental disorder, designates a set of conditions and disorders of very different origins leading to difficulties in the life of an individual, suffering and disorders. behavior. Mental disorders affect all populations, regardless of sex or age. These disorders can be chronic or permanent.
The mental health, an essential component of health is a state of well-being, the ability of the mind to function normally and respond appropriately to environmental stimuli. We then speak of mental disorders when this state of well-being is disturbed by psychiatric conditions. The individual is then unable to adapt to difficult or even painful situations and to maintain his mental balance.
The appearance of disorders
Mental disorders can manifest themselves in many ways and at different ages. In the majority of cases, it is in adolescence, between the ages of 15 and 20 that these disorders manifest themselves, most often acutely. Sometimes between the ages of 20 and 30, when entering active life, a behavioral disorder appears, disrupting the person’s life.
The onset of disorders can be gradual. Changes in attitude, strange words, withdrawal from the family group, estrangement from friends, loss of interest in usual activities. First, we do not understand or we do not want to understand – we give these behaviors an external cause: adolescent crisis, heartache, failure at school, fear of exams, or drug use.
It also happens that the onset of disorders is sudden, (this is particularly the case in schizophrenia) and involves a real risk for the person and for those around him: suicide attempt, extreme agitation, violence, running away.
Signs of mental illness
Here are some signs of behavior change that people around a person with mental illness may see:
●drug or alcohol abuse;
●stopping the medication;
●disorganization, that is to say a major difficulty in organizing and functioning normally. The person may lack judgment or have
●difficulty taking care of family, professional and social obligations.
Here are some of the common symptoms
●loss of appetite;
●euphoria (state of great excitement);
Some of mental disorders
Depression, addictions and disorders related to drug or alcohol consumption, anxiety and phobias, eating disorders, schizophrenic, bipolar or borderline disorders are examples of mental disorders. For example, anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, worry or restlessness normally experienced by humans. It is also present in a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and phobias. Although each of these diseases is different, they are all characterized by suffering and dysfunction specifically related to anxiety and fear.
Alexithymia is therefore a disorder that manifests itself by a difficulty in identifying one’s emotions, but also in naming them. How to recognize it? What solutions? People with alexithymia thus find it difficult to practice introspection, as if they were disconnected from their interiority. Behavior that can lead to misunderstandings, or even admonitions from those around him who will blame the person for not talking enough about their emotions. “ Typically, these will be people who will talk about rain and shine, very concrete things, but avoid deeper discussions. ”
Anorexia affects 2% of women. This refusal to eat reflects a deep discomfort and can have dramatic consequences on health. Even if they have in front of their eyes the greatest meals from all around the world they will refuse to eat. How to recognize this eating disorder? What are the solutions to get out of this suffering? Update on a serious problem too often ignored.
Bipolar affective disorder
This disorder affects approximately 45 million people around the world. It is characterized by manic depressive episodes interspersed with periods of normal mood. Manic episodes correspond to a period of high mood, irritable, hyperactivity, high speech rate, exaggerated self-esteem and decreased need for sleep. People who do not have manic disorders but experience depressive episodes are also classified as patients with bipolar disorder. There are effective treatments available to stop the acute phase of bipolar disorder and prevent relapses. These are products that stabilize the mood. Psychosocial support is a critical part of treatment.
Depression is a common mental disorder and one of the leading causes of disability around the world. Globally, nearly 264 million people of all ages suffer from it. Women are more affected than men in this regard. Depression is characterized by sadness, loss of interest or sense of pleasure, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, disturbed sleep or appetite, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Affected people can also experience multiple physical pains with no apparent cause.
Depression can be long-lasting or recurring, significantly interfering with the ability to work or study and to cope with daily life. At its most severe stage, depression can lead to suicide. Prevention programs have been shown to be able to reduce the depressive state of children (for example through protection and psychological support following physical violence or sexual abuse) and adults (through psychosocial assistance after a disaster or conflict).
Developmental disorders, including autism
The notion of developmental disorder is a generic term for intellectual disability and pervasive developmental disorders, including autism. Developmental disorders usually begin in childhood but tend to persist into adulthood, causing impaired or delayed functions related to the maturation of the central nervous system. They usually appear continuously, not in periods of remission and relapse that characterize many other mental disorders.
Intellectual disability is characterized by the impairment of skills across the developmental spectrum such as cognitive functioning and adaptive behavior. Lower intelligence decreases the ability to adapt to the daily demands of life.
Symptoms of pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism, result in impaired social behavior, communication and language, and low interests and activities, are person-specific and repetitive.
Developmental disabilities often start in infancy or early childhood. Affected people occasionally exhibit some degree of intellectual disability.
Family involvement in the care of people with developmental disabilities is very important. Knowing what causes them both distress and well-being is a major therapeutic element, as is finding the environment most conducive to better learning.
Dementia affects 50 million people around the world. It is usually chronic or progressive in nature and is characterized by a deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to think) beyond what can be considered normal aging.
It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, ability to learn, language and judgment. The deterioration in cognitive function is usually accompanied or is occasionally preceded by a deterioration in emotional control, social behavior or motivation. Dementia is caused by a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.
Schizophrenia and other psychoses
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder, affecting approximately 20 million people worldwide. Psychoses, including schizophrenia, are characterized by a distortion of thinking, perceptions, emotions, language, sense of self and behavior.
Common delusional experiences are hallucinations (auditory, visual or other sensory perceptions not applicable) and delusions (unshakeable beliefs or suspicions despite the existence of evidence to the contrary). Those affected may have difficulty working or studying normally.
Stigma and discrimination can result in a lack of access to health and social services. In addition, people with psychosis are at high risk for human rights violations, such as long-term confinement in a mental institution.
Schizophrenia usually starts in late adolescence or early adulthood. Medicines and psychosocial support are effective treatment through which those affected can lead productive lives, integrate into society.
Support in daily life, assistance with housing and sheltered employment can help people with serious mental disorders, including schizophrenia, to get better as they often have difficulty obtaining or keeping a job. normal employment or housing.
Anxiety is a normal response to danger or psychological stress. Normal anxiety has its roots in fear and is important because it is functional to survival. When faced with danger, anxiety induces the fight-or-flight response. In association with this response, various physical changes occur, such as increased blood flow to the heart and muscles, which provide the energy and strength needed to cope with the dangerous condition, such as running away from an aggressive animal or from the attack of an attacker.
Anxiety disorder is more common than other types of mental illness and affects approximately 15% of adults in the United States. Significant anxiety can persist for years and begin to be perceived as normal by the anxious person. For this and other reasons, anxiety disorders often go undiagnosed or treated.
An anxiety disorder can be triggered by environmental stresses, such as the breakup of an important relationship or exposure to a life-threatening disaster.
An anxiety disorder can arise when the response to stress is inadequate or overwhelmed by events. For example, some individuals have no problem speaking in front of an audience. Others, on the other hand, are frightened, become anxious, and exhibit symptoms such as sweating, fear, a rapid heartbeat and tremors. These people are afraid even to speak in a group of a few people.
11 ways to stay mentally healthy
Maintaining mental health is not always easy: in Europe have 84 million, or 1 in 6 people who suffer from mental disorders; while 84,000 die from mental illness or suicide every year. The worries and anxieties related to the economic crisis, the health emergency, but also the pressures due to personal, family or work problems, can seriously compromise the psychophysical health of an individual.
How do you maintain good mental health? Years of research and studies in this field clearly show that it is possible to enhance and maintain one’s psychological well-being, even in critical situations. To achieve this goal, experts suggest 11 tools of proven effectiveness, essential to be able to live life to the fullest.
Be in touch with others
Research shows that those who feel involved in interpersonal bonds are on average happier, healthier and live longer. Research from the University of Michigan confirmed this by analyzing what happens to the female brain during an evening with friends. Researchers found that feeling part of a group positively affects mood and the ability to manage anxiety and stress, thanks to the increase in progesterone, a hormone that positively affects the desire for socialization and care. This is especially true in adulthood, when the light-heartedness of youth is abandoned to embrace new professional and family responsibilities. From 25 to 45, just when friendship generally takes a back seat, this feeling becomes even more fundamental, to create a ground for exchange, comparison, mutual help.
Keep yourself physically and mentally active
Exercise relieves muscle tension, improves mood and sleep, increases energy and strength. While cultivating creative hobbies is good for the mind. Carrying out pleasant activities that give free rein to the imagination, such as cooking new recipes, painting, writing poetry, singing or knitting, allows you to lower stress and stave off depression, activating a growing spiral of creativity and good humor.
Get professional help if needed
When difficulties seem to prevent you from living well, receiving professional support can make a big difference. There is no need to be totally in crisis to ask for help. The support of a mental health professional, in fact, can also be useful for elaborating plans for solving problems, for dealing with changes, for learning to manage one’s thoughts and emotions, for “healing” from the wounds of the past, to understand one’s goals and to build self-confidence. People who get professional help generally feel much better. For example, some therapies for panic disorder achieve a success rate of around 90 percent. The treatments used for a mental health problem can be psychological (such as psychotherapy) or pharmacological. In some cases, both are used.
Coping with difficult times well
Dealing with the difficulties of life, including those that affect your health, with a positive disposition is the first step to successfully overcome obstacles. The resilience, which in psychology indicates the ability of a person to face and move on an event or a traumatic period, it is a feature that not only has genetic and neurobiological roots, but also character and social foundations.
The propensity of resilient individuals to express positive emotions in relation to negative events allows them to control anxiety and fears. In addition to one’s own strength of mind, however, social support is also fundamental, useful in reducing the impact of post-traumatic stress.
Create joy and satisfaction
Experiencing positive emotions can increase the ability to recover from severe stress. According to a New Zealand study a few years ago, for example, having a long love relationship protects health, especially mental health, removing the risk of depression, addictions, phobias and anxieties. And nothing changes if you are married or simply living together: the effect is the same.
Leaving the house for a walk
We will never tire of saying it but physical activity has multiple beneficial effects for our body. In particular, leaving the house for a run or a walk has vital benefits also on a mental level because it makes us vital and full of enthusiasm.
Give someone a gift
You know that feeling you get when you find the perfect gift for the one you love? Instantly increase your happiness because you will think about the gratitude that the person will feel in opening that gift! And you don’t even need to spend a lot. The most popular gifts are usually those made with your own hands.
Define your goals
Writing simple but achievable goals in black and white helps us focus on our priorities. However, it is always good to be realistic and start with tangible goals that will help us maintain a positive attitude.
Listen to classical music
Scientific studies show that listening to slow, relaxing music while doing an activity softens your mind and reduces anxiety.
Sleep, a pillar of mental health
Sleeping well improves attention, behavior, memory and overall condition of your mental and physical health. It is therefore essential for your mental health to sleep at regular times and for an appropriate length of time. But with the stress of school or work, the accumulation of hours spent in front of the screens, finding sleep can be more and more difficult.
Did you know that sport also brings you “good fatigue” and the quality of your sleep improves. These are the well-being hormones secreted during sports practice that will help and promote sleep. One more reason to try these gentle sports!
Meditate to limit stress and anxiety
Meditating every day is to focus on your emotions, your feelings, without judgment. 5 minutes are enough to maintain a positive and serene state of mind. It is proven, meditation limits the state of stress, anxiety and prevents depression. Even though it promotes good mental health, it’s not always easy to get started. Do not worry, several applications exist to support you smoothly. Just let yourself be guided!