Mental health is not defined simply as the absence of mental illness. Can you verbalize what mental health means to you? How do you feel? What are you capable and what are you doing? The main key here in defining your mental health is what IS happening. Try this:
How will your monitor your mental health?
A thermometer takes your temperature to tell you you’re ill. A blood pressure cuff gives you an indication of your heart health. There are many devices available to inform us about our physical health.
What about your mental health? How do you know if your health is suffering? This might have some individual variation, so I encourage you to think about what you can be mindful of for your health. What are your indicators that you are in a place of health?
How do you support your mental health?
When your blood pressure is too high, you’re likely to make diet or lifestyle changes. A fever might warrant a day off from work. When our physical health is out of balance, we do something to care for it. Hopefully, you’re doing things on a daily basis to support your physical health, including eating nutritiously, engaging in regular physical activity, and getting the sleep your brain and body need.
Do you have daily activities to support your mental health?
These will also be personal and specific to you, but here are some ideas to get you started in considering what has value for you:
I help my clients create their personal definition and image (yes, image! This means pictures, art, and visualizing) of what their mental health looks like. Here are some snippets of client’s creations:
Mental health means having the confidence that when I feel anxious, I have the ability to handle it. Anxiety is not a red light, stopping me from what I need to do. I can handle feeling anxious; I understand it is my body’s way of making sure I am safe. I will notice the anxiety, respond to it how I need to, so that I have a green light to continue with what I choose to do.
My mental health is recognizing that I have a choice. No one “makes” me feel anyway or do anything. I have choice in how I respond to the people in my life and can hold on to what is valuable from my time with them and let go of the rest.
I have let go of past hurts and wrongs. I am lighter since learning how to carry the story of my past with me in a way that is productive, accurate, and empowering. I am focused on the future and feel confident in creating the relationships and experiences I deserve and desire.
If you need help, I would welcome the opportunity to support you in defining your mental health and then experiencing it.
I'm a mom of four children, a wife, and a Licensed Professional Counselor. My parenting life helps me be a better counselor, and my professional experience helps me be a better mom. Both allow me to be creative, to learn and grow, to make mistakes, and to rarely sleep. I love the beach and gardening, reading if I can stay awake, running (which these days is after my kids and not much else), and using humor through it all!
DISCLAIMER: This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice, legal advice, or professional services. If you feel that you have a medical problem, you should seek the advice of your physician or health care practitioner.