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Mental Health

Mental means, of or relating to the mind. Health is, the condition of being sound in mind, body or spirit; freedom from physical disease or pain. Thus, mental health is a state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities to function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life - effectively. People, who feel satisfied with themselves and their role in society, are said to be in good mental health. A person who is fat, eat all the wrong foods, does little or no exercise, functions well in society and is pleased with him or herself, is said to be in good mental health. On the other hand, if a person is slender or slim, eat all the right foods, exercise regularly, gets along well in society but is not pleased with him or herself, he or she cannot be classified as having good mental health.

The person who enjoys mental health is happy, buoyant, energetic, and peace loving. He is self-confident but not overbearing. He knows his own limitations but is not discouraged by them, because he is well aware of his own personal assets. He enjoys life, likes most people and respects their individualities. He is usually not thwarted by difficulties, but sets about to find solutions to his problems. He makes mistakes but is able to recognize them as such, and tries to avoid making them again. He makes decisions and sticks with them. He is normally able to fulfill his promises and bears responsibly well. He can love, hate, and sympathize, but he is able to keep his emotions under control instead of allowing them to control him. A person with great mental health is content with present attainments and satisfied with the progress he is making towards his goal. He moves with confidence among his fellow citizens, and feels accepted as a member of society.

To be mentally healthy is to have the capacity to think rationally and logically and cope with the transitions, traumas, stresses, and losses that occur in everyday life. Mentally healthy people are very perceptive: they know the difference between limitations and possibilities and know how to accept their limitations and encourage their possibilities. They establish and maintain close relationships, deal reasonably with others, pursue careers that suit their talent and training, and always feel a sense of fulfillment with whatever they are able to accomplish on a daily basis. To be mentally healthy is to be in synch with oneself and be pleased with ones being.

One of the pre-requisites of mental health is a state of physical well-being. An important relationship exists between the two. The brain is one among many organs of the body; when other organs are injured, the brain suffers too, and mental health is impaired accordingly. Furthermore, when mental health is good, the other organs of the body benefit by the brain's vitalizing influence. On the other hand, when mental health is poor, the body functions poorly and symptoms of disease appear. Mental health is able to be reached and maintained on a daily basis by including the following basics, which will also improve the physical well-being:

Eating a healthy diet

Exercising regularly

Getting enough sleep

Practicing good hygiene

Drinking lots of pure water

Meditating or relaxing daily

Anything short of a perfect mental health is, to a greater or lesser degree, an involvement with mental illness. Just as many people have minor physical ailments, so too they can have minor forms of mental illness. Even though illness of the body and illness of the mind are closely related, there is an obvious difference in their manifestations. Illness of the body produces symptoms relating to body functions, such as cough, fever, pain, nausea, vomiting or breathlessness. Mental illness, on the other hand, produces symptoms relating to one's thoughts, emotions, and patterns of conduct. Some symptoms are: depression, unwarranted fears, delusions, hallucinations, and withdrawal from realty. There is no sharp line of distinction between mental health and mental illness, for there is a great variety of in-between situations. In fact, in the medical field mental health and mental illness is sometimes looked upon as phases in an adaptive continuum. Some people with minor degrees of mental illness get along quite normally despite their handicap. However, many people with mental illness such as mental retardation and mental brain defects, is inadequate and unable to get along well in the usual activities and responsibilities of normal living.

Mentally unhealthy people are said to have one or more disorders. For example, if a person becomes nervous, and has palpitations, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath or any form of unusual fear when in public places, he or she is said to have an anxiety disorder known as agoraphobia. Some other common mental disorders are: psychotic disorder, substance abuse disorder, childhood disorder and personality disorder. Whatever is lacking in the whole meaning of mental health is classified as a disorder.

We cannot totally avoid mental illness, as some forms are preventable and others are not; what we can do is learn how to keep our mental health in check.

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