Mental health matters: Why you should care about your well-being
Mental health is a vital aspect of our overall health and well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also influences how we cope with stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Unfortunately, many people struggle with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and more. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 22.8% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 20211. That means one in five adults had a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that interfered with their daily functioning.
Mental health problems can have serious consequences for individuals and society. They can affect one’s ability to work, study, maintain relationships, and enjoy life. They can also increase the risk of physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer1. Moreover, mental health problems can contribute to social issues such as homelessness, violence, and suicide1.
The good news is that mental health problems are treatable and preventable. There are effective therapies, medications, and self-care strategies that can help people recover and improve their quality of life. There are also ways to promote mental health and well-being in ourselves and others.
Here are some tips to take care of your mental health and well-being:
- Seek professional help if you need it. If you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health problem, such as persistent sadness, anxiety, mood swings, or substance abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional. You can find resources and support at the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Talk to someone you trust. Sharing your feelings and concerns with a friend, family member, teacher, or counselor can help you cope and feel less alone. You can also join a support group or an online community where you can connect with others who understand what you are going through.
- Do activities that you enjoy. Engaging in hobbies, interests, or passions can boost your mood, reduce stress, and enhance your self-esteem. Whether it’s reading, writing, painting, gardening, or playing music, find something that makes you happy and do it regularly.
- Be active and eat well. Physical activity and nutrition are essential for your mental and physical health. Exercise can improve your mood, energy, sleep quality, and cognitive function2. Eating a balanced and healthy diet can provide your body and brain with the nutrients they need to function optimally2.
- Practice gratitude and positivity. Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can help you appreciate what you have and cope with challenges. Try keeping a gratitude journal where you write down three things you are thankful for each day. You can also use positive affirmations or statements that boost your confidence and self-worth.
- Learn to cope with stress. Stress is inevitable in life, but it can also harm your mental health if it becomes overwhelming or chronic. Therefore, it is important to learn how to manage stress effectively. Some strategies include breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, or relaxation techniques2.
- Seek balance in your life. Having a balanced lifestyle means finding time for work, rest, play, and socialization. It also means setting healthy boundaries and limits for yourself and others. Avoid overcommitting yourself or neglecting your needs. Instead, prioritize what matters most to you and make time for self-care.
Mental health matters because it affects every aspect of our lives. By taking care of our mental health and well-being, we can improve our happiness, productivity, resilience, and relationships. We can also help reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental health problems face.
Remember that you are not alone in your journey. There are many people who care about you and want to help you. There are also many resources and tools that can support you along the way.
If you ever feel hopeless or suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. You are valuable and worthy of living a fulfilling life.
I hope this article was helpful for you. Thank you for reading!