Why Mental Health is a Big Deal

Mental health encompasses one’s psychological, emotional and social well-being. It’s simply the state of one’s mind.

Health, in general, as defined by the world health organization, is a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

In our society, especially within the typical African setting, mental health is quite underrated. We are taught to believe that it is less legitimate as compared to physical well-being.

As such, mental health is placed on the sidelines, neglected and left to take care of itself. I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered were low self-esteem, deep feelings of inadequacy, intense mood swings and suicidal thoughts spring from? The answer is simple; it all stems from the state of our minds.

The question is, how many of us intentionally take out time to invest in such a vital part of our well-being?

There are several ways to go about it but this blog post, above all else, aims at diving into the importance of mental health and why it’s such a big deal. Enjoy!

1. It Affects the Quality of Relationships

The state of our mental health affects not just our thinking but our feelings and behavior as well. The way we behave is the way we relate to other people, so this leads me to the conclusion that mental health has quite a large part to play in the health of our day-to-day relationships.

Being mentally healthy makes you more compassionate, understanding and emotionally available for the people in your life. This is especially important in intimate relationships where good mental health facilitates emotional and behavioral bonding.

2. It Builds or Breaks Self- Esteem

The way you see yourself has a lot to do with the state of your mind. If your thought processes are right your self-esteem will be intact too.

Now, feeling bad about yourself is not necessarily equal to low self-esteem; we all feel bad about ourselves sometimes. Doing this consistently all the time, however, is where the problem lies.

Usually, people struggling with low self-esteem are not aware of the source of their self-image issues. It will be right to say that investing in the health of your mind simultaneously grows the value you place on yourself.

{Read: For Every Teenager Battling with Low Self-Esteem and Inferiority Complex}

Building self-confidence starts from building your mind. Your mind more than anything else is the system that houses your thoughts. What are your most dominant thoughts?

Well, I will like your train of thoughts to be nothing far of from this: acknowledge your strengths, choose progress over perfection, celebrate small wins and embrace your mistakes in order to be better tomorrow.

I hope you remember that the equation is this simple: healthy thoughts is equal to a healthy mind which in turn equals healthy self-esteem. If the state of one’s mental health produces such results in one’s life then undoubtedly, it is quite a big deal.

3. It Affects Productivity

Mental illness manifests itself in different forms such as major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (Phew! quite a long list) to name a few.

The manifestation of such fruits in one’s life can greatly affect one’s work-life and how productive they become.

You might wonder why such a seemingly personal issue like mental health affects an individual’s work performance so deeply.

Well, just try to imagine how a person with a broken leg struggles to carry out everyday functions. If you neglect your mental health and allow it to get out of hands, you might just end up with a mental part of you broken; if this happens, juggling multiple tasks and handling time pressures might not be as easy.

4. It Affects Physical Health

Mental illness such as major depressive disorder, for example, can lead to intense feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness helplessness and eating disorders.

Harnessing feelings like this condones the lack of self-care which correlates to physical illness. An individual with mental issues will most likely have a bad diet, indulge in quick fixes like drinking alcohol, smoking, little to zero exercises and a complete lack of optimism.

Behavioral patterns like this have been confirmed to lead to an increased risk of cancer, coronary heart diseases and even respiratory problems. This is why it’s highly important to keep the state of your mind in check so that the ripple effects of its neglect don’t hunt you down.

Mental health issues stem from a wide range of factors including trauma from painful experiences and even genetics.

Above it all, self-care is the key. It is the foundation you need to lay in order to experience mental wellness. Don’t wait for the symptoms to manifest before being intentional about the state of your mind.

{Read: Maintaining Mental Health as a Teenager}

Your mental health is your wealth, so I hope you treat it accordingly.

How do you take care of your mental health? What’s your self-care routine like?


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