Health is an important parameter to measure the growth of a country. As per WHO (World Health Organization), health is defined as ‘a state of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Furthermore, WHO defines mental health as mental well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to contribute to society. Therefore, mental health is the foundation for the well-being and effective functioning of an individual.
Mental health is a cumulation of people’s reactions, feelings and actions, as they face life’s situations. Mental health affects how one handles stress, and makes decisions. It influences the way individuals perceive themselves, and the people in their lives. It is equally crucial as physical health at every stage of life.
Why is mental health important?
Over 450 million people in the world suffer from mental disorders. According to WHO, in the coming years, depression will constitute the second largest disease burden worldwide which will be well beyond the treatment capacities of medical experts in the developed and developing countries.
Physical health and mental health are closely associated and it is a proved fact that depression and mental illness leads to diseases related to heart as well. Mental disorders are also linked to a person’s behaviour like eating, regular exercise, sleeping patterns, sexual practices, alcohol and tobacco usage. Hence, Mental Health is seen as fundamental to physical health and standard of living standard of living.
Mental ill health is a prime cause of social problems like unemployment, broken families, poverty, drug abuse and related crime. Poor mental health is a significant reason behind diminished immune functioning. Medically ill patients suffering from mental health issues have a worse outcome than those without depression.
Emotional and mental health is a vital part of our life as it impacts our thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Being emotionally and mentally healthy promotes productivity and effectiveness in day to day activities. It plays an important part in helping you to adapt to changes in your life and cope with adversity. Just as physical fitness helps the body to stay strong, mental fitness helps in achieving and sustaining a state of good mental health. When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy and celebrate our life and the people in it. Positive mental health becomes essential when we have to make difficult decisions, deal with stressful situations, and interact with others around us. Therefore, it is important to it is important to learn and understand this issue and spread mental health awareness to keep the illness at bay.
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The social and economic costs associated with the growing burden of mental ill health increase the need of promoting mental health as well as preventing and treating mental illness.
Nurturing our mental health can help us combat or prevent the mental health problems that may be associated with a chronic physical disease.
How to improve Mental Health?
Three important ways which can help improve mental fitness are : indulging in physical exercise, good eating habits, and taking control of stress.
Exercise is considered to be an essential element in building and maintaining mental fitness. Benefits of exercise are a proactive way to enhance our physical condition and combat disease.
Making the right nutritional choices has a significant positive impact on our mental health. Good eating habits are vital for optimizing the effectiveness of and coping with the possible side effects of medications used to treat mental illnesses. Choosing what foods to eat has consequences beyond immediate taste bud satisfaction. Therefore, to optimize our brain function, we need to eat a balanced diet including everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to whole grains to fish, eggs, nuts and seeds rich in protein.
Stress levels are the major cause of anxiety and mental health issues. To cope with stress, one should indulge in meditation or listen to podcasts that calm down the soul and garner positive energy.