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  • Writer's pictureAnn Yebei

What is Mental Wellness?

Blog Post #4: Mental Health

 

From the clients I see as a therapist, to family members, close friends who are starting podcasts, and acquaintances who are learning what mental health really is, the most popular question is always “What is mental health exactly?”. 


How do you gauge if someone is mentally well? 


How can I know if I am mentally healthy?


Can I- anyone- really say if someone is “okay” versus needing a diagnosis? 


It’s not a straight shot answer as humans are complex creatures. But there are general facts and pieces of knowledge that I can share to inform yourself and so you can share wellness with those in your circles.


A girl is cutting in a black minimalist chair facing the window. She is curled in the seat with her arms holding her legs. She is looking outside through the white sheer curtains in a modern living room with a minimalist white couch behind her against a white wall. She has white ankle socks and a sheer white shirt. Her face is hidden since she is facing away from the camera with a dark long bob hair cut.
Quiet Corners

Mental Health


Mental health can be summed down into two aspects: resilience and functioning. Are you resilient when hard times come- do you have a variety of coping tools and stress management techniques? Do you have a support system? Are you introspecting and bearing the mindsets of learning and self-compassion?


And are you able to contribute or participate in your community or social groups? Do you feel like you’re performing well- are you able to take care of your basic needs? Do you feel like you have a purpose or any form of meaning making in your days? Do you feel like your work, or existence, has meaning or worth?


Any shortcoming in your answers could be a light shining through cracks in your holistic well-being. Mental health is not always just “mental” or psychological. At times, it’s other aspects of wellness- like social, financial, and vocational (which will be covered in later posts!) that seep into your mental state of mind and corrupt it over time. Holistically speaking, mental health may just be what’s on the surface and your breakdown may have been a long time coming.


A white-presenting woman with short dark brown hair is leaning against a tree trunk with her head reclined in a faded background of forestry. Her shoulder is at the base of the photo and she appears to have a black vest top as she closes her eyes.
Internal Resilience is the Best Resource

Elements of Mental Health


This can be broken down in many different ways. For now, I will only use the two aspects I’ve mentioned earlier and share 5 tips each you can use to build, or continue, your practice of mental wellness. 


Level of Resilience


"Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.


"A number of factors contribute to how well people adapt to adversities, including the ways in which individuals view and engage with the world, the availability and quality of social resources, and specific coping strategies" (APA Dictionary of Psychology).


Resilience has to do with your capacity to rise back up when life brings you down. It has to do with endurance. Stamina. Staying on and in the thick of pursuing your goals and passions- even when it’s hard. And it will be hard- life is hard. 


And life happens.


So, are you able to carry on forward?


If resilience is a weak spot for any reason, whether that is self-esteem, lack of support, lack of knowledge, lack of perspective, or lack of hope, here are some tips you could start with to practice building your resilience. 


I wish you well in your journey onwards!

  • Tip #1: Practice Stress Management

  • Tip #2: Use Your Coping Tools

  •  Tip #3: Diversify Your Coping Tools

  • Tip #4: Find a Healthy Support System

  • Tip #5: Have Personal Goals with Clarity and (Smaller) Doable Steps


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Difficult Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations

Level of Functioning


Functioning can be defined in different ways, so to avoid ableism or any sort of exclusion to someone reading this, I’m going to paraphrase how I define “functioning” as a part of healthy living. Functionality is related to the completion of tasks. I’m not asking about your means (please, do avoid self-harm or harming other people!) and I’m not specify how quickly things need to get in. It’s just that things get done in a way, and at a pace, that is healthy for you holistically. And you are able to flexibly respond to the challenges in life with positive coping skills and not detrimental ones.


Functionality has to do with being able to engage with, and in works with, a larger social group. This group can be your family, friends, workplace, serving a certain audience/population, etc. Is there any outside engagement in your life beyond yourself? That.


Functionality, lastly, but not least, is the sense of connection, purpose, worth, meaning, and value. The lack in any of these things- internally or socially- will lead to a sense of internal decline. I add this here, instead of solely keeping it under spiritual wellness, because your entire being is present when you’re doing you in society and your field of calling/passion.


someone is looking down from between the bridge's bars with a black hoodie with the words "Boys Get Sad Too" in capital letters 5 times. The hood is raised.
Boys Get Sad Too

You can socialize. And you can be getting things in on time as a high-achiever. But if it all leads to the unknown and it’s not self-driven, it’s not true flourishing nor sustainable in the long run.


So if this aspect of functioning is weak, try any of the tips below!

  • Tip #1: Live Within Your Means

  • Tip #2: Live Authentically

  • Tip #3: Have Personal Goals with Clarity and Doable Steps

  • Tip #4: Find What Works for You

  • Tip #5: Practice Self-Compassion


On a grey surface, various self care products are laid out with green leaves and leafy branches decorating the spread. Items are all eco-friendly and of light and dark brown tones. They include, essential oil bottles, brushes, combs, hard soap, and a dispenser bottle.
Self Care is Health Care

Conclusions and Reminders


This isn’t a deep post on wellness- specifically mental wellness- but it was to be a nugget for thought. Deeper posts breaking down dimensions of wellness, diagnosis, types of psychological service providers, and different forms of mental ailments will come in due time!


Take care of yourselves as you learn about how your mind and body move through stressful and peaceful times. Peace upon you as you learn how to listen to your body and your thoughts and unconditionally love yourself. And prosperity always as you learn to collaborate in creating your most happiest destiny, on your own initiative, and not anyone else’s.


 

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