Here is a simple question for you- What do you think fitness is? When you talk about health, do you consider your mental health or just the physical state of your body? Well, health comprises both– Physical as well as Mental Well-being. You might be aware of bodily fitness, but how much do you know about mental health?
To learn more about mental health, continue reading, welcome to Mental Health 101.
What is Mental Health?
The World Health Organization defines mental health as “ a state of wellbeing in which a person realizes his/her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to his/her community”.
In simple words, it can be understood as the emotional, psychological, and social state of your mind, which affects your ability to think, feel, act, handle stress, and make decisions. It is an important part of one’s life, just as physical health is. It affects your relationships, career, work, and even physical fitness.
Just as your body needs care when you catch a cold, your mental health needs attention too. Your brain is like a machine, it works day and night continuously, but it gets exhausted, unlike a machine. This stress results in ruining your mood, decreasing your concentration, affecting memory, creating anger, fear, and confusion, and you start feeling exhausted. It can also become the reason for mental illness.
What are Mental Illnesses?
Most people struggle with their mental health from time to time, whether it is stress from work, social or personal relationships, or financial issues.
It should be noted that a person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with any mental illness. Still, it becomes important to pay attention to these issues because it takes no time for anxiety to turn into anxiety disorders. Thus, we need to understand what mental illness is.
Mental illness, also known as a mental health disorder, is a mental health condition that negatively affects how an individual feels, thinks, and behaves. Grief and stressful interludes don’t necessarily mean mental illness, but you might want to check in for some symptoms. It is characterized by, but not limited to:
-Loss of appetite
-Sleep pattern changes
-Extreme mood swings
-Hallucinations or delusions
-Unhealthy coping mechanisms
-Unusual emotional outbursts
It can be miserable and cause problems in the day-to-day life of people. It can be a result of stress or work. Sometimes, it can even appear as physical problems like a troubled stomach, headache, backaches, or other unexplained aches.
Types of Mental Illnesses-
There are a number of conditions that are clinically recognized as mental illnesses. Some of them are as follows:
1. Anxiety Disorders-
Feeling anxious or nervous before an interview or an important meeting is normal. Still, if it persists for a long time and severely affects your brain’s ability to function, it can be called anxiety disorder. Panic, phobias, generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), etc., are some kinds of anxiety disorders.
Over a long period, it is the excessive feeling of irritability, sadness, hopelessness, insomnia, frequent or recurrent thoughts of suicide, death, etc. It is also known as a depressive disorder. It is a serious issue and should be immediately treated, as it can get worse if untreated.
3. Eating Disorder-
It is a compulsive disorder characterized by severe and persistent behaviors associated with physical disorders, like weight gain or restrictive food intake. It may seem similar to an addiction and often results in fatal complications.
It is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, behave or speak clearly. The affected person’s thoughts and actions appear to be abnormal and disillusioned. It involves psychosis, a condition where a person cannot differentiate between real and imaginary.
5. Dissociative Disorder-
It is also known as a multiple personality disorder. Overwhelming traumatic events and accidents are associated with stress, perception problems, breakdown of memory, and detachment from the surroundings. People with this disorder tend to escape reality by using unhealthy ways.
While there may not be a way to prevent mental illnesses, you can be mindful of the factors that are responsible for causing mental illnesses:
-Genetic or inherited traits
-Prolonged and unresolved trauma
-Losing a loved one
-Excessive use of drugs or alcohol
Is Mental Health related to Physical Fitness?
We often think that our mind and body are separate, but they are remarkably interconnected in reality.
As mentioned above, poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic physical conditions. If you don’t take care of your mental health, it will definitely affect your body. Research shows that people with serious mental conditions are prone to many physical problems.
Chronic stress is directly associated with:
-Increased chances of strokes
-Chest pains and other complications.
Not only this, depression can give you headaches, fatigue, restlessness, and anxiety, and directly affect cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and general activeness of the body.
Likewise, good mental health reflects on your body as well. Psychological well-being can help to reduce stress and treat serious medical ailments. You might have heard that laughter is the best medicine, it really is.
When you are genuinely happy, it shows. There is a rise in the serotonin levels responsible for your mood. Not only this, it enables your brain cells to function better, also helps in sleeping, and digestion, and relieves anxiety. Thus, the connection between our body and our mind is apparent.
What are some good Mental Health Practices?
1. Get moving-
Exercise has its own physical and mental benefits. It is even suggested as a medication and a supplement due to its variety of uses. It can significantly reduce anxiety, help you think better, and not even have to be a heavy routine. Just a 10-minute walk twice a day can make you feel up to 5 times better!
2. Take plenty of water-
Did you know that dehydration is the reason for mood swings? Well, now you know! Water is your best companion. Various studies have proven that it brings down your anxiety levels and makes you feel recharged. One should always keep one’s self nourished and hydrated at all times. Also, you might want to avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, as it boosts anxiety levels, or too sugary beverages as they are not healthy.
3. Take proper rest-
Remember, your brain is like a machine but needs frequent rest to relax and recharge. Otherwise, you may struggle with cranky mood, fatigue, confusion, and tension. At least 8 hours of sleep is a must for staying physically active and mentally refreshed. If you cannot sleep, try to put on some music and relax. It will significantly help regulate your sleeping patterns.
4. Take a break-
Doing the same job for hours and hours can be tiring and monotonous. You need to relax and calm down every once in a while. Listen to your body. If you feel like you need a break, take one. Take deep breaths, meditate, or do yoga or a brisk walk. Your mental health should be a priority, other work can wait.
5. Reach out if you feel like you need help-
Do not feel shame or hesitate if you feel like talking to someone. Sometimes venting out helps in thinking and making better decisions. You might be able to notice what triggers you. Talk to a friend or family member, try therapy, and seek a specialist’s consultation if required.
It is essential to take care of yourself and make the most of your life. It takes time but slowly and steadily, you can get there. Value and prioritize yourself, surround yourself with good people and cut off from the ones that make you feel drained or less important.
Good mental health is the key to a confident and healthy overall life. By following good habits, you can break the monotony.
Do you have any questions regarding mental health? Ask us in the comments!
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