Mental Health Health: Is happiness the best medicine?
Are You Taking Care Of Your Mental Health Health?
Is your pursuit of prestige, beauty and a fit body overriding your
emotional and psychological health? You work hard on getting your body physically
fit, you invest perhaps even more time into your beauty plan regime,
you may even have a healthy eating plan because you appreciate that
a good figure doesn't come about from a junk food diet.
You might by now have even progressed onto an even bigger goal, the achievement of
which will see your income sky rocket to six figures; or to get that
sports car you've had your eye on for some time now. All of this you
say, will make you 'as happy as Larry'. But, have you forgotten
When was it last that you exercised and stretched your mind
with an emotional and intellectual workout, to promote your
mental health health?
When did you last review your belief system or
reassessed your long term goals to see what really
makes you happy? Or, to even asked yourself 'is
this what I really want?'
When did you last invest in your mental health health by
some mental exercises; reading a good book that fed
your imagination and boosted your thought processes?
When did you last set a personal goal to promote your mental health health?
For most people, health, wealth and happiness are associated with
'the good life'. You may be fortunate enough to have all three at the
same time but these characteristics can also be created, conserved or
lost because of the way you think and what you do, or, even what
you omit to do.
It is commonly known in the mental health field that in order to
achieve good mental health health, you also need a healthy dose of
self esteem. However, what has not been stressed adequately is the
importance and need to nurture such traits as positive emotional
wellness, optimism, memories and
happiness. Happiness - is after all one of the building blocks to
good mental health health and stability.
Acccording to Time magazine, numerous research on 'happiness',
'optimism' 'positive emotions and 'healthy character traits', have
consistently shown that people who are governed by the premise that
money, fame or beauty will make them happy, are deceiving themselves
In fact, they are building their lives on a foundation that may be
detrimental to their mental health health and may even lead to their suffering
depression. To make sense of this statement, let's consider what is
mental health health.
What is mental health health?
Mental health is a concept that refers to a human individual's
emotional, psychological and intellectual well-being. One definition of mental health is:
"A state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life."
Yet, in your pursuit of the other 'good things in life' such as the sports car or the perfect physique, it is all too easy to neglect your mental health health; which after all, is a pre-requisite for being able to enjoy the good life.
The World Health Organization's (WHO) viewpoint is that there is no one "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined. In general, most experts however agree that "mental health" and "mental illness" are not opposites. In other words, the absence of a recognized mental disorder is not necessarily an indicator of mental health.
What this definition is clearly saying is that (a) just because you perceive yourself as being in good mental health health, and, (b) there is no identifiable mental illness, this does not mean you are in fact in the best of mental health.
Consider for instance your stress levels and your level of personal satisfaction and happiness
in other key areas of your life, as you pursue helter skelter your physical and material life ambitions.
What are the characteristics of mental health health?
One of the ways in which your mental health health can be measured,
is by looking at how effectively and successfully you are presently
functioning in your every day life. Your ability to recover and
bounce back from challenging situations and events, are all
signs of having good mental health health. Ask yourself this:
Are you feeling capable and competent?
Are you able to manage your levels of stress? By this I
mean - levels of stress which is normal for you and your
circumstances; since what might be considered 'stressful'
to one person, may seem like a 'blip' to another, there's
little point in comparing one problem against another
Are you able to maintain satisfying relationships?
Are you satisfied with the level of independence you have
in your life?
How good are you at dealing with 'problems?' or managing your day-to-day emotional health and fitness
Are you happy with your life? Understanding where you're at in your mental, psychological, intellectual and emotional dimension of wellness, must be your starting point.
Once you have a clear assessment of your level of wellness in any of the above aspects, you can become more pro-active about your mental health care.
Without doubt, happiness is one of the main contributor to
mental health health. However, happiness, as with mental health, health
is not the result of a single factor but many things in life which come
together to produce happiness. For example, the quality of love and support of your
family, friends, career/job satisfaction, your social/leisure life and
But what if your level of satisfaction in any one or more of
these 7 dimensions of health and wellness, falls short of your expectation and/or need? It will undoubtedly have an impact on your level of
contentment across all of the above areas and ultimately affecting your level of happiness, which is a key contributor
to your mental health health.
'Happiness or related mental states like hopefulness, optimism and
contentment also appear to reduce the risk or limit the severity of
cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypoertension
cold and upper respiratory infections'. And while there is no clear
evidence on how mental states affect the body, research has shown that
positive, optimistic people have lower levels of stress hormone -
cortisol, which is known to suppress the immune system.
a Dutch study of elderly patients showed that over a nine year period,
a happy positive disposition reduced the risk of death by an amazing
It figures therefore that since happiness and a happy disposition fosters
health, mental health and wellness, it is a key ingredient, which by far
may be the best medicine for your mental health health.
Having such a
disposition however is something which you need to work at, to create
and to maintain.
You can learn exactly how to go about understanding how you're processessing your experiences and the changes you can now make to increase your health and happiness quota here.
If you still belive that putting most if not all your energies into
your material or physical fitness goals is the key to happiness, this
might help you to reassess.
'In the United States, many people are
richer than they have ever been but are basically no happier for it'
says (Time). What this demonstrate is that material progress does not
diminish anxiety or stress, but heightens them. As Richard Ryan,
Professor of Psychology in the United States, points out, 'the more
people seek satisfaction in material things, the less they find it
"Our very mode of life has now become our principal cause
of emotional and mental instability" is the conclusion of another
You will also find that consistently dwelling on 'what if's,
'if only', or seeking to recall unhappy memories of 'what might have
been', will not only serve to heighten anxiety or stress but will
keep you blocked in a never ending spiral of doubt, fear or 'problem-oriented' existence; a position which is not condusive to
enhancing your mental health. And since these kinds of memory recalls tend to
focus on the negative experiences such as what hasn't worked out for
you or what was hugely disappointing to you, or what you 'failed' to
Am I right in saying that this practice brings no joy
but instead leave a bitter taste in your mouth and at worst, a feeling
of deja vu? Make a decision to positively promote your mental health and fitness starting today.
I'm not saying you shouldn't pursue your physical and material
ambitions or simply forget past experiences which you found 'limiting'
or 'belittling', (because after all, your past created your present and
is therefore a valid part of that which will now shape your future).
what I am saying, is that a healthy balance between
pursuing your material goals while affording equal attention and
nurturing of your emotional and mental health health is the key to being successful
and happy. Similarly, taking a constructive approach to learning from
your past experiences rather than using your recall in ways that
reinforce and build on fear, doubt and problem-oriented ways of living,
will also increase your happiness and mental health quota.
Just think what you would achieve for your mental health, health if you would only change this
thinking pattern to a more positive alternative.
(a) something from the past which had brought you joy, happiness,
pleasure and contentment; or (b) making positive use of your memory
recall by learning how not to make those mistakes again. See where
I'm going with this? Mental Exercises are an excellent way of changing your thinking and helping you to become more positive.
Why not now set yourself a goal to promote your mental health health!
You will find guidance on how to set a goal here. Alternatively, you might prefer the ease of
receiving this guidance via email.
What is Mental Health Health Promotion
Mental health, health promotion refers to strategies adopted to maintain and
improve mental health - health on three broad levels - i.e. 'individual',
'community' and 'governmental'. At the individual level, it boils
down to personal responsibility. Here are three strategies you will
personally need to work on to improve and maintain your mental health,
Individual Mental health, health promotion at
the individual level is about you
taking personal responsibility; using
your resources - i.e. self help,
building and maintaining your self-
esteem; working on your your
motivation; developing your coping
skills: assertiveness and insight to
enable you to function in areas of your
personal relationships, family and
Psychological Your beliefs will determine your
and how you communicate and interact with
other people. Being aware of your beliefs
and how they promote or hinder your mental
health health is paramount in bringing
about positive change in your thinking
processes as well as to your life.
Social Your level of functioning at this level
will determine your social networks and
your level and quality of inclusion and
interaction with friends, colleagues etc.,
Promotion at this level includes
developing support structures both in
and out of the workplace for
If you experience great difficulty in implementing one or more of the above strategies, then you might want to consider getting some mental health counseling. Mental health counselling does not mean you have a mental illness. You may just need a mental health counselor to help you unravel or make sense of some of life's challenges or barriers you are experiencing.
How to improve your mental health and emotional state
Here is a useful NLP (Neurolinguistic Programing) technique you can use
to help recall your happy past memories.
If you don't yet use a journal to record your health goals, this
is a good time to start. You might also want to refer back to
the entire personal goal setting section of this site, which
provide useful and practical guidance for setting your personal
For the next two to three days, set aside ten to twenty minutes
each day to focus on building and strengthening your mental
retreat. This will be a place to which you can take timeout,
whenever you feel the need to be in a positive and resourceful
state, to practice this mental exercise. Daily practice will help you develop in your ability to
enter a positive state and draw on past happy experiences, as
well as helping you to confront and manage challenges or barriers
Find yourself a quiet corner on your own or a place where you will
feel calm and relaxed. If music helps you to relax, use it. (My
choice is usually being out in the garden or a nature walk some
where quiet and peaceful). Spend some time recalling a happy
occasion - a time when you felt really happy and experienced a sense
of contentment. This could be for example, when you achieved your
promotion; or a special and intimate time with your partner; or
even a day when you felt so good to be alive, it was a positively
intoxicating experience. You want to be sure of choosing one that
puts you in a relaxed frame of mind.
Once you've recorded your memory in your journal, now make that
memory as vivid as you possibly can. Detail is everything here.
What were you wearing? Color, dress, skirt? etc.,
What perfume or scent did you use that day? Can you smell it?
How was your hair styled? What color or tint was it?
What do you remember about the smells, taste, textures, colors,
sensations relating to your experience?
How were you feeling? Happy? Optimistic? exhilerated? Proud?
a sense of achievement?
Recall your environment - what was happening around you?
What kind of day was it - sunny, warm, cold?
Were there people, stillness, peace, quiet, music or noise?
Keep building positively on your memory recall with more detail,
to make it stronger and until you feel as if the occasion or event
had just happened. After a few days practice, you should find you
are able to enter into this state just as easily as you are able to
leave it. You will also have given your mental health health a workout.
This is an effective technique for recalling positive and happy past
experiences and memories. Once developed, you will find it
will instantly take you from a negative emotion to a positive one.
Most importantly, when you're in your mental retreat, it will help
you find answers to challenges or issues which keep you blocked.
Simply think about the issue - and then record your thoughts,
feelings and emotions in your journal. Do the same when looking
for a solution to an issue. Once you have your answer, visualise
your achievement outcome. I have every faith in you building, creating and maintaining your mental health health.
"A good recipe and a good cook make for a good meal! In a way it's
similar with your mental health. It's not the result of a single
factor but many things in life come together to produce mental health!" (Awake)
Other Useful Resource
The information on this site is purely of educational value
and is not intended to replace your seeking medical advice. You
must consult your doctor over all your health concerns.
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