Mental health refers to a person's psychological, behavioural, emotional, and social well-being. How you think, feel, behave, and act depends on your mental health. Mental health is not just an absence of mental disorders; it's about living life to the fullest.
National Alliance on Mental Health states that 1 in 5 adults experiences mental disorders each year1. According to National Institute on Mental Health, 14.2 million people in the United States suffered from mental illnesses in 20202.
Everyone is prone to getting mental sicknesses regardless of age, ethnicity, sex, and lifestyle. Some underlying reasons that may affect your mental health are3:
- Biological factors, i.e., genes
- Family history of abuse, trauma, and stress.
- Life experiences, i.e., childhood abuse.
- Any Disability.
- Social exclusion and discrimination
- Stressful lifestyle.
- Social and financial circumstances
Mental Health Issues on the Rise!
Mental health problems, mood disorders, and suicide-related outcomes are increasing significantly among adolescents and young adults. Social media is driving this unusual rise in mental disorders, especially among the youth.
Apart from that, cultural trends, loss of sport, school, family conflicts, and living standards result in an exponential rise in mental illness. A couple of years back, the COVID-19 pandemic also increased the risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders4.
How to Take Care of Mental Well-being
Exercise works as an antidepressant. Lack of physical activity worsens the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The experts recommend doctors include exercise in the prescription5.
A healthful diet helps boost mood and ensures mental well-being. A 2019 study concludes that dietary intervention is essential in treating and avoiding mental illness6.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, green tea, healthful oils, and meat products are effective in this regard.
Insomnia is directly linked with altered mood and depression. Lack of sleep hinders daily routine work and aggravates depression symptoms. Avoid caffeine, electronic devices, and spicy food before bedtime.
Multiple factors can trigger different mental sicknesses. These triggers may vary individually. Identify and avoid your triggers for better mental health. Triggers may include:
- Terrifying or shocking news, movies, and other media.
- Alcohol and certain drugs
Connect with People
Healthy human relationships are food for mental health. Talk to people, express, and share positive experiences, provide emotional support to others, and build a sense of belonging.
Other Life-Hacks to be Mentally Sound
- Learn new skills
- Set a goal and execute a plan.
- Make yourself a priority.
- Avoid loneliness.
- Learn to say "No" when it's needed.
- Practice deep breathing
- Spend more time in nature.
- A pet can be your best friend at times.
Seek professional help from a psychiatrist if you think you can’t manage it yourself.
- Merikangas KR, He JP, Burstein M, et al. Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: Results from the national comorbidity survey replication-adolescent supplement (NCS-A). J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010;49(10):980-989. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2010.05.017
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Shares Mental Health Numbers - CICS. Accessed November 17, 2022. https://www.cicsmhds.org/about/articles/national-alliance-on-mental-illness-shares-mental-health-numbers/
- Malla A, Joober R, Garcia A. “Mental illness is like any other medical illness”: a critical examination of the statement and its impact on patient care and society. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2015;40(3):147. doi:10.1503/JPN.150099
- Oh DJ, Yang HW, Suh SW, et al. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on depression in community-dwelling older adults: a prospective cohort study. Psychol Med. Published online 2021:1. doi:10.1017/S0033291721005018
- Ranjbar E, Memari AH, Hafzi S, Shayestehfar M, Mirfazeli FS, Eshghi MA. Depression and Exercise: A Clinical Review and Management Guideline. Asian J Sports Med. 2015;6(2):1-6. doi:10.5812/ASJSM.6(2)2015.24055
- Firth J, Marx W, Dash S, et al. The Effects of Dietary Improvement on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Psychosom Med. 2019;81(3):265. doi:10.1097/PSY.0000000000000673