Mental health is an important aspect of one's well being and needs to be addressed. If we, as a community, continue to sweep it under the rug, we will lead miserable lives. It needs to be discussed normally, in everyday conversation, and not looked at with disgust.
What is Mental Health?
"Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act." (CDC). Good mental health is more than just feeling "okay." Several people, maybe even some of your friends, teachers, and/or parents, might be dealing with mental health issues/disorders such as anxiety and depression. This state of mind can make you feel hopeless on a seemingly happy day, and can mentally exhaust you. Acceptable mental health is defined as the absence of a mental disorder, not just the feeling of happiness. People who have mental health disorders can feel waves of happiness but still have something going on, it is not necessarily the absence of happiness.
What Affects Mental Health?
Many factors, even slight changes in your environment or relationships, can take a toll on your mental health. Our biological chemistry, hormone levels (such as serotonin in the brain), and genetics can predispose us to having mental health issues. It can be frustrating when your own biological chemistry seems to be against you and there seems to be no one event and/or trauma that causes you to feel a certain way. Although we are extremely fortunate to have access to exceptional education, school can become a leading factor of mental illnesses. It can be easy to get lost in the stress of everything around you, so it is very important to take a step back and evaluate different aspects of your life.
How to Improve One's Mental Health?
- Leave things that don't make you genuinely happy.
- Take time for yourself, and put yourself first (it is okay to be selfish when it benefits your mental health).
- Take deep breaths and take life one day at a time, it is easy to get overwhelmed when there are 20 assignments or activities coming your way.
- Find something to look forward to.
- Prioritize things that are actually important to you and don't just do things because they "look good," because "everyone else does it," or even because you think you are supposed to be doing it. Do what you WANT to do.
If you need help, get help; there is no shame in doing what's best for you.