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 emotional well-being resulting in a balanced and satisfying life. The opposite is also true: the absence of mental illness does not guarantee emotional well-being.
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, it is recommended that you establish a balance between various aspects of your life. These aspects are:
The periods of life (studies, career path, family life, etc.), the difficulties and challenges encountered sometimes tip the scale one way or another. It may then be worthwhile to think about making changes to promote maintaining your mental health.
Factors that influence mental health
Many factors influence a person’s mental health:
Biological and genetic factors, such as heredity;
Other personal factors, such as lifestyle and behaviour, self-esteem or childhood experiences;
Social environment, such as the quality of relationships with family, friends and the community;
Living environment, such as place of residence or lodging, the family environment;
Work environment, such as the work conditions, psychosocial factors (possibility of making decisions related to the person’s duties, relationships with coworkers, recognition of the person’s expertise and skills, etc.), the safety of the premises;
The economic context, for example, the cost of consumer goods, which determines whether individuals can meet their primary needs, the unemployment rate and the distribution of wealth in society.
It is impossible to act upon some factors, such as heredity or events that occurred in the past. However, you can change your habits and take certain measures to maintain good mental health.
Measures for maintaining good mental health
Practice good lifestyle habits
Take the time to eat well.
Be sure to get enough sleep.
Keep active or exercise every day.
Engage in activities that promote relaxation and well-being (yoga, meditation and breathing exercises, creative or artistic exercises).
Reduce consumption of stimulants: coffee, tea, soft drinks or energy drinks, chocolate).
Reduce or completely cut consumption of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
Maintain your social circle
Maintain positive relationships with those around you: family, friends, neighbours, coworkers, etc.
Participate regularly in activities that you enjoy and find the time for them.
Avoid staying alone or isolating yourself if you are experiencing a difficult situation, such as grief or a job loss. Contact a loved one, someone you trust or a resource that can offer a listening ear, support or help.