What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you here the word "healthy"? Do you think of a model or someone with big muscles? Do you think of fruits and vegetables? Do you think about bodies? While health has to do with physicality, it is not limited to physical health. Mental health has become a huge part of being healthy, but what does it mean to have good mental health?
When you have good physical health, you feel good. But what is defined as good? Well that varies from person to person. Some people feel energized, some may have a skinny waist or glowing skin. Some may feel like they can wake up in the morning without caffeine. There are so many different signs for physical health.
The same applies to mental health.
There are many different ways to tell if you are mentally healthy. Do you feel good? Not in the way you feel about your body, but in your mind. Do you like yourself? Do you feel happy? Do you feel calm? Many people believe that having mental disorders are "bad". Well they aren't good to have, but they should not be something people feel ashamed about.
One in five adults suffer from mental health issues. We have put our mental health on the back burner. Many people are very gun-ho on ensuring that people are pushing to be their very best, healthiest selves. Unfortunately they do not consider mental health. Mental health has become a more prominent topic in the last ten years.
I did not address mental health until I was in college. That was the first place I ever saw people talking about taking care of your mental health. I had always suffered from mental disorders, but I never accepted them. I saw them as flaws in my personality. For seven years I pushed those feelings and thoughts away, and pretended that they were not real. I finally visited my doctor and talked about these feelings I had. The overwhelming anxiety, the relentless sadness. The great emotions in both directions, but never in the middle. She explained to me that like a disease we can see, mental diseases need to be taken care of too. I had a high release of serotonin.
So what does it mean to be mentally healthy?
It means you know how to deal with your feelings. It means you enjoy life. It means you are happy. It means that bad days are just bad days that happen here and there. And like physical health, that varies from person to person. Anyone can have mental health issues. It does not mean you are "messed up," it simply means you may need a little help. Counseling, therapy, and even medicine are ways to treat physical health, and it's okay to be treated these ways for mental health too.