What is mental health?

Though no concise definition exists, mental health is basically your attitude and approach to life. Psychological, environmental, genetic, or physiological factors have a profound effect on overall mental development.

What is mental illness?

Mental illness impairs your ability to perform routine tasks, foster healthy relationships, or cope with anger or stress. It may be classified on the basis of extreme mood swings, irrational or destructive thought patterns, and behavioral problems.

How important is mental health?

Your mental health has a huge impact on every aspect of your life.

o Self-image

Good mental health means appreciating your achievements and accepting your shortcomings. A mental illness can cause an inferiority complex, a negative body image, and intense feelings of self-hate, anger, disgust, and uselessness, which could mutate into extreme depression, psycho-social disorders, or eating disorders.

o Education

Students with mental problems socially isolate themselves, and develop anxiety disorders and concentration problems. Good mental health ensures an all-round educational experience that enhances social and intellectual skills that lead to self-confidence and better grades.

o Relationships

Mental health largely contributes to the functioning of human relationships. Mental illness can hamper even basic interactions with family, friends, and colleagues. Most people suffering from mental illness find it difficult to nurture relationships, have problems with commitment or intimacy, and frequently encounter sexual health issues.

o Sleep

An inability to handle stress or anxiety can cause insomnia. Even if you mange to fall asleep, you may wake up a dozen times during the night with thoughts of what went wrong the day before or how bad tomorrow is going to be. You may develop severe sleeping disorders which leave you exhausted and less productive.

o Eating

People with mental disorders are more prone to indulging in comfort eating or emotional binges. Finding comfort in food is something we all do from time to time. But with a mental illness, it becomes difficult to control yourself. Overeating can lead to obesity, which puts you at a risk for heart disease and diabetes, in addition to creating an unhealthy body-image.

o Physical health

Your mental state directly affects your body. For example, stress can lead to hypertension or stomach ulcers. People who are mentally healthy are at a lower risk for many health complications.

So make a conscious effort to improve and maintain your mental health.

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