“Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realises 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.”
Ref. World Health Organisation (WHO, 2015)
Mental Illness is a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings or behaviour (or all three) and causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning.
Therefore Mental illness can impact our mental health through changes to our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
What does it mean for someone to experience mental illness but still be mentally healthy?
Below are a few questions to ask:
- Are you able to cope with life stressors?
- Are you meeting your potential?
- Are you able to work productively?
- Do you contribute to the community?
- Do you have positive interactions with others?
- Do you enjoy your life?
- Do you feel content with your life?
- Do you live a valued, meaningful life?
One way to stay mentally healthy is to build awareness and recognise personal signposts. These are our early warning signs. These could be thoughts, feelings, memories, behaviours or situations that start or worsen your mental state.
What are your signposts, and how do you manage them?
A mental health signpost might be: Feeling Anxious
Unhelpful Management Strategy: Drink alcohol
Helpful Management Strategy: Go for a swim at the pool
Do you see the difference in how a mental health signpost can be managed? To get to this point, Mindfulness could be a practice you take on board. It allows you to step into a space where you can move the situation toward a more helpful outcome.
Mind full or mindful?
Mindfulness is the practice of being present, being in the here and now. It is paying attention to things in a non-judgmental manner.
As an example of this, you might like to try the Five Senses exercise:
- What are 5 things you see?
- What are 4 things you can feel?
- What are 3 things you can hear?
- What are 2 things you can smell?
- What is one thing you can taste?
This can give your mind the space to make better choices. Another practice is to consider self-care.
Here are some ideas to begin your own daily self-care routine:
- Start a gratitude journal – write down 3 things that you’you’reteful for each day. Some prompts that might be helpful include: SomeSomeone’spany I enjoyed today… Something I learned today… Someone I admire is … Something beautiful I saw today … Something that made me smile today … A fun experience …
- Take time out from technology
- Engage in positive self-talk – look in the mirror and greet yourself in a positive way – Good morning you amazing person
- Practice 3 minutes of meditation or mindfulness
- Drink lots of water
- Get outside and feel the sunshine (or the rain) ????
- Get lots of sleep
- Get moving, movement is life
- Read a book
- Catch up with friends
- Cook or bake something delicious
So what does this mean for you? Your mental health is just that, yours. By making little changes in your life, you can choose to live your best life. You might sometimes need the help of a professional and that is where we can help. You can reach out to Recovery Station on 1300 588 851.
Until next time,
Side Note: Please note that the information given above is general in nature.