Mental health is a widely discussed concept, these days. You might notice discussions about mental health online, in conversation, on your favorite show, or any number of other places.
But widespread, frequent use of any term can lead the meaning to become blurred, if not misinterpreted entirely. So, if you come across the term often but still have some uncertainty around exactly what “mental health” refers to, you’re definitely not alone.
“Mental health is about the functionality of your brain and all that impacts it,” says Oludara Adeeyo, a psychiatric social worker and author of “Self-Care for Black Women.”
In a nutshell, mental health includes your psychological and social well-being. It also encompasses your emotional health, or your ability to name, address, and regulate your emotions.
Many factors play a part in mental health, some of which you can’t control, such as genetics, life experiences, and family history.
But you do have influence over a wide portion of your mental health, notes KC Davis, a licensed professional counselor and author of “How To Keep House While Drowning.”
The ability you have to influence your mental health is key, because your mental health matters, quite a lot.
What makes mental health so important?
Mental health helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others, and make choices, explains Alison Seponara, a licensed professional counselor and author of the book “The Anxiety Healer’s Guide.”
Seponara goes on to say that caring for your mental health can lead to:
improved self-esteem and confidence
Nurturing your mental health can also help you manage health conditions that are worsened by stress, like heart disease, says Seponara.
Your mental health can impact everything about your life, Adeeyo says, including the ways you view and move through the world and your ability to handle the things life throws at you.
That’s why building habits for better mental health can make a big difference in your day-to-day life.
1. Get restful sleep
2. Cut back on social media
3. Strengthen your relationships
4. Move your body on your own terms
5. Savor nutrient-rich foods
6. Know when to take it easy
7. Make time for rest
8. Get some sunshine