Being in good mental health is not 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 satisfying life.
Like being physically healthy, being mentally healthy makes you feel good about yourself. It also allows you to enjoy the pleasures of life, to grow and to try new things.
Maintaining good mental health is also one of the best ways to prepare for life’s difficult moments both at a personal and professional level.
Balance: the foundation of good mental health
To maintain good mental health, you must establish a balance between various aspects of your life. These aspects are:
The periods of life (studies, career paths, family life, etc.), the difficulties and the challenges encountered sometimes tip the scale one way or another. It may then be relevant to wonder about the changes to be made in order to promote the maintenance of your mental health.
Factors that influence mental health
Many factors influence an individual’s mental health:
- Biological factors, such as heredity
- Personal factors, such as lifestyle, self-esteem or childhood experiences
- Physical environment, such as the condition of one’s home or the quality of their neighborhood
- Social environment, such as the quality of relationships with family, friends and the community
- Economic environment, such as employment status and living conditions
It is impossible to act upon such factors as heredity or certain biological characteristics. However, you can change your habits and take certain measures to keep yourself in good mental health.
Measures for maintaining good mental health
Practice good lifestyle habits
- Take time to eat well.
- Go to bed at a reasonable time in order to get enough sleep.
- Exercise daily.
- Reduce consumption of stimulants: coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate.
- Reduce or completely cut consumption of alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.
Maintain your social circle
- Maintain positive relationships with those around you; your family, friends, neighbours, coworkers, etc.
- Engage in leisure activities that you enjoy, and find time to indulge in them.
- Avoid staying alone if you are experiencing a difficult situation such as bereavement or a job loss. Ask for support from close relations, someone you trust or a specialised organisation.
Reduce your stress level
- Use natural methods to control your stress. Take deep breaths for instance, do physical activity or take time to relax, for example.
- Have confidence in yourself.
- When you are experiencing difficult moments, join self-help and support groups. This allows you to exchange with other people that are in the same situation as yourself. This could help you better manage your emotions while learning from others' experiences.
Maintain a positive work environment
Encourage your employer to implement measures to reduce sources of stress and improve the work environment, for instance:
- Holding team meetings regularly.
- Encouraging employees to participate in company activities.
- Planning employee training programs.
- Establishing a recognition system for employees’ work and participation.
- Establishing measures for preventing psychological harassment and promoting civility in the workplace.
Help and resources
Information and support resources
- Association québécoise pour la réadaptation psychosociale (in French only)
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Mouvement santé mentale Québec (in French only)
- Réseau avant de craquer – Fédération d’organismes voués au mieux-être de l’entourage d’une personne atteinte de maladie mentale (in French only)
Last update: October 25, 2018