Why Does Mental Wellness Matter?
What is mental wellness?
Let’s begin with defining what wellness is, it is both a state and a process of actively being aware of and taking steps towards becoming healthy. It encompasses both your mental and physical health. There are eight dimensions of wellness, emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and spiritual wellness. Mental wellness relates to the overall health of our mind, our emotional wellness, our social competency, our sense of self-fulfillment, and our ability to cope with stressors.
The state of our mental well being is constantly changing due to a variety of factors and the current circumstances of our life. Due to its fluid nature, mental wellness is hard to balance at times. At times life events can cause our mental well being to become unbalanced and sometimes those events are out of our control. So let’s discuss why mental wellness matters.
Why is Mental Wellness Important?
Our mental well being is arguably more important than even our physical wellness for several reasons. The first reason is that it has a greater impact on our physical well being than physical wellness has on our mental state. For example, stress can cause an array of damaging effects on our mental state and that can then lead to issues with our physical health. Conversely, if you get hurt you may feel down but it is not likely to cause a massive deterioration in your mental well being. This is not to say physical issues can negatively impact your mental state but rather the extent of the impact might not be as bad. We know that doctors have said for a long time that stress can cause many health issues. This is not new news, the point here is that the interaction between our mind-body wellness is strong. So let’s look at the different factors that affect our mental health.
What Factors Impact Our Mental Wellness?
Just like our physical state, mental wellness is a balancing act. However, maintaining a healthy mental state is much harder to keep in check and at time hard to tell when it is off. It is not always easy to know how to fix it either when the balance is off. There are many factors that impact the state of our mental wellness, some are in our control and some are not, let’s have a look at them.
Some mental illnesses are genetically passed on and they can have a negative impact on our mental well being and our quality of life. In some cases, they can require medication which can alter our daily functioning and the state of our mind.
Emotional wellness relates to our ability to handle stress, build healthy relationships, monitor our emotional state and our awareness of our feelings. Stress can have a devastating impact on our mental well being especially when the stress is acute or lasts for long durations. In some cases, excessive stress can trigger the onset of a mental illness like depression.
Stressful life events, stagnant environments and lack of stimulating environments can negatively impact our mental wellness. If we don’t get enough stimulation we can become bored, unhappy and unfulfilled. We need stimulation and physical activity to keep our minds shape and encourage growth.
Money impacts every aspect of our lives, when we experience financial troubles it can cause extreme stress. We already know what happens when we get stressed, our minds become cluttered and overwhelmed. Additionally, when we don’t have enough money to buy proper food, our body lacks the nutrients to fuel our mind and body.
One factor that doesn’t get the attention it needs is sleep. Sleep is very important to our mental functioning. When we sleep our body and mind go into repair mode, if we don’t get the right amount of quality sleep, we don’t repair properly. As a result, our mental functions begin to diminish. Especially our executive functions such as our capacity to make decisions, reason, and problem solve.
Social Well Being
Human beings are social creatures, we need social interaction, social bonds and the feeling of being connected. Our social wellness relates to our ability to bond with others, build healthy relationships with others (especially romantic partners), effectively perform our social roles, and build support networks. Bonding and interacting with others is vital to our mental and emotional health. Without social interaction and healthy relationships, we can become unhappy and feel isolated.
Our spiritual wellness concerns our sense of purpose and meaning in life. Spiritual wellness involves the values we adopt in life that give us a sense of purpose. If we feel like we have no purpose we can begin to feel lost. This can have a very negative impact on our mental state.
You may be thinking why does occupational wellness matter; well it relates to the satisfaction and enrichment we get from our work. If you have ever had a job that you hate then you know why this matters, trudging into a job you hate can wear on your day by day. This can chip away at your mental state slowly. Also, if your pay isn’t enough to pay your bills that can add an extra facet to your issues. Another way that your occupation can have an effect on your mental wellness is your work-life balance. If you work too much and you don’t have enough personal time you will get worn out and feel unsatisfied thus throwing your mind well being off.
As we have seen, our mental wellness has a big impact on our physical state and the quality of our lives. Knowing the factors that influence our mind-body wellness can help us keep them in check. Find out tips on how to improve your mental wellness!
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