Often, due to the misconceptions about mental wellness, people often suffer in silence and their conditions go untreated. Raising mental health awareness helps people understand symptoms, find professional treatment, and perhaps most importantly, break the stigma. Showing individuals respect and acceptance removes a significant barrier to successfully coping with their illness. Mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness. It also includes how you feel about one’s self and how you adjust to life events.
To understand more about yourself, here are characteristics of mentally healthy people:
Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman describe mentally healthy people in their book, Character Strengths and Virtues. McGraw-Hill Education also added positive personality traits to the list.
Possess high self-esteem.
They know their worth, have self-respect, and feel confident in their abilities. Because they accept who they are, they don’t live their lives based on what people think or feel about them. They understand that self-compassion remains vital in life and growth. What other people think doesn’t concern them. They accept imperfections in themselves and others.
However, those who suffer from mental health illnesses find it hard to possess high self-esteem. Although having low self-esteem doesn’t count as a mental health problem in itself, they actually become closely linked. If lots of things affect your self-esteem for a long time, this might lead to mental health problems like depression or anxiety.
Some of the experiences of low self-esteem can be signs of a mental health problem. this includes feeling hopeless and worthless, blaming one’s self unfairly, and worrying about being unable to do things. Sometimes, they even hate themselves, making it harder to cope.
Altruism may be universally and uniquely human. Usually associated with greater well-being, health, and longevity, altruistic emotions have a strong correlation with people who remain emotionally and behaviorally compassionate that don’t feel overwhelmed when helping with tasks. There is even a new study of people who offer love, caring, and support to others who have better mental health than those who only receive help from others. The said research suggests that altruism offers mental health benefits that can help counter the negative effects of stressful life events.
However, some mental health problems contribute to the development of selfishness. Many personality disorders cause people to feel so wrapped up in their own desires that they either do not notice or do not care about the needs of others. It can also cause extreme self-involvement which contributes to selfishness. When suffering from depression, one may feel so wrapped up in his or her own feelings of suffering. It makes them unable to provide or communicate with other people.
Demonstrate social competence in relationships.
The ability to get along with others. Demonstrating social competence in relationships shows off comfortable around other people. These make people believe that they can rely on other people. This refers to the ability to engage in meaningful interactions with others. It also remains a crucial skill potentially malleable to interventions. Developing social competence is essential for a future functioning society and for reducing the risk of behavioral and emotional problems.
Unfortunately, poor social competence may be harmful to mental and physical health. This leads to depression and anxiety. Two variables like loneliness and stress appear to be the glue that binds poor social skills to health. Loneliness point to a pretty serious risk for health problems as it can be a serious risk like smoking and eating a high-fat diet with a lack of exercise. If people have poor social competence, they lack social awareness and walk around with this without being aware of it.
Not overwhelmed by emotions.
Mentally healthy people show emotional maturity in their behavior. They develop a capacity to tolerate frustration and disappointments in their daily activities. They don’t feel physically ill or fatigued without knowing why. Mentally healthy people don’t have trouble focusing or completing even simple tasks. Aside from that, they also don’t find themselves withdrawing from friends and families.
However, people from suffering mental health issues often feel emotionally overwhelmed. These affect their ability to think and act rationally. It also prevents them from performing daily tasks. Emotional overwhelm comes from stress, traumatic life experiences, relationship issues, and much more. Usually, an individual will most likely feel overwhelmed with negative emotions like anger, fear, and guilt.
When emotionally overwhelmed, the intensity of your feelings outmatches your ability to manage them. You will feel as if it’s difficult to pinpoint why. Often, stressors contribute to emotional overwhelm rather than one particular event. Then, emotions bleed into seemingly unrelated parts of your life. Being often emotionally overwhelmed can also become a symptom of conditions like anxiety and depression.
Persevere and take on challenges.
Taking on challenges refer to doing something that involves risk in order to achieve a goal. Even if you fall flat on your face, taking on a challenge will be beneficial. People gain valuable insight and experience from failure. At the very least, putting one’s self out there and trying something new will change how one approaches similar situations in the future. If they do nothing, they know that nothing will happen.
Unfortunately, people who suffer from mental health issues have a fear of taking on challenges and risks. It holds them back in life. Sure, fear remains a human emotion that becomes triggered when they feel threatened. It remains a basic survival mechanism that signals the body to respond to danger with a fight or flight response. As such, it becomes an essential part of keeping us safe.
However, some people who suffer from mental health issues live in constant fear. Sometimes, this fear slows or shuts down functions not needed for survival like the digestive system which makes one physically ill. Then, sometimes it sharpens functions that might help us survive like eyesight. The heart rate increases and blood flows to muscles that make people panic.
Can bounce back from adversity.
Mentally healthy people find that environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior. They shape their environment whenever possible and adjust to it when necessary. When they encounter a problem, they can bounce back from it. They understand that disappointments are bound to happen, no matter how much they try to avoid them. They understand that disappointment happens to everyone, accept it, learn from it, and move on.
However, people who suffer from mental health issues sometimes feel stuck. Identifying the root cause of their feelings can help them narrow down their strategies to regain their sense of purpose and forward momentum. Difficult times or life challenges can have you feeling like you’ve lost your sense of direction. It makes you feel stuck and unsure where to turn.
Spending too much time and energy on every little detail in order to do something perfectly may just slow down your progress. This makes you feel frustrated or like you’re not getting anywhere in life. Failing to embrace change keeps you feeling mentally stuck. Sometimes, we dug in our heels and refuse to accept change, loss, or transition.
It’s okay to ask for help.
Many people are reluctant to use mental health services because of the stigma of having an emotional and mental problems. Society has a tendency to view mental health issues differently from medical and physical ones. When someone breaks a leg or suffers from chest pains, people know that they need to get a prescription and/or see a doctor.
However, when they experience mental health issues they feel so embarrassed to seek help. Many people view these conditions as weaknesses. Unfortunately, this view prevents them from getting professional assistance that may alleviate their problems.
No one truly possesses all characteristics of good mental health all the time. However, it’s time to practice being mentally healthy every day. That way, you can manage stress better. This means, on the other hand, that you can see a vast improvement in your mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.