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Healthy Minds Healthy College

What is Mental Health Anyway?

November 14, 2016

I want to write a bit about the concept of mental health and I’d like to do so in such a way that avoids dry definitions, focusing instead on a more personal perspective.

Mental health to me is:

  • not happiness alone, but instead, the ability to feel a wide range of emotions;
  • clarity and accuracy of thought and perception;
  • the ability to cope with everyday stressors;
  • feeling integrated into a community or communities, giving and receiving support as needed;
  • feeling a sense of meaning and purpose.

Good mental health supports me to engage in meaningful daily activities like working, socializing, studying, and parenting. When any piece of my mental health is poor, I’m not able to fully engage in these activities and this serves as a sign to me that I need to take extra care of myself.

When I feel that pesky tickle in my throat, indicating a cold is coming on, I drink extra fluids and go to bed early. It’s similar with my mental health. Feeling lonely, confused, perpetually grouchy, or disconnected from meaning and people are some of the signs, like that tickle in my throat, that I have to take some extra care of my health.

My personal definition of mental health is only one perspective. I’m excited to bring other perspectives to you through this blog. Perhaps hearing about how I conceptualize mental health can lead to some personal reflection for you.

Think about what mental health is to you.

Think about what activities in your life are supported by good mental health.

Think about what signs indicate that you need to take some extra care of your mental health.

I’d love to hear what you come up with!