The buzz around “mental health” has been getting louder over the last few years. So many people throw the words around like they don’t really mean anything. When someone says “I’m taking a mental health day,” and they don’t come in to work, what are they really saying? Things are changing in our culture and an awareness of mental health issues is just one hallmark. So what do we really mean when we refer to our mental health? Let’s look at the definition and how it can impact our lives.

The World Health Organization defines mental health this way:

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

Knowing and understanding your own capacity for quality of mental health is an important part of feeling like a whole person. An individual who struggles to maintain the balance of mental health can feel the effects of stress at work at and home differently than someone who feels more at ease.

Of course, maintaining a balanced mental state is often easier said than done. The pressures of our society make it easy to slip into depression, stress related issues, and self-doubt. Here are some things you can do to ensure you keep your stress levels down and your mental health in check.

Make connections

Individuals with healthy relationships in their lives are typically better equipped to handle everyday stresses. You can lean on others for support and be there for them as well.

Enjoy life

In other words, stop to smell the roses. Those who spend their time worrying about the next thing often miss the blessings they have before them. Live your life rather than letting stresses get in the way.

Contribute

Studies have shown that individuals who volunteer in their community have more balanced mental health than those who don’t. Choose a cause in your community that is meaningful to you and start helping.

Be healthy

An important aspect of mental health is maintaining good physical health. Eat well, exercise, and get the proper amount of sleep. Little steps can go a long way to ensuring that you feel better.

Relax

It is important to take time for yourself to relax and renew. Spend a weekend away from home. Enjoy a quiet day reading. Whatever makes you happy, be sure to make time for it.

How do you feel about your mental health right now?

Image by Eric E. Castro via Flickr

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