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Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health
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Dr .Keshava Pai


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People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behavior. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. Improving your emotional health can be a rewarding experience, benefiting all aspects of your life, including boosting your mood, building resilience, and adding to your overall enjoyment of life.

What is mental health or emotional health?

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.

Good mental health isn't just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health. 

  • People who are mentally and emotionally healthy have:
  • A sense of contentment. 
  • A zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun. 
  • The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity. 
  • A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships. 
  • The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change. 
  • A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc. 
  • The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships. 
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem.

These positive characteristics of mental and emotional health allow you to participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships. These positive characteristics also help you cope when faced with life's challenges and stresses.  


Risk factors for mental and emotional problems

Your mental and emotional health has been and will continue to be shaped by your experiences. Early childhood experiences are especially significant. Genetic and biological factors can also play a role, but these too can be changed by experience. 

Risk factors that can compromise mental and emotional health:

  • Poor connection or attachment to your primary caretaker early in life. Feeling lonely, isolated, unsafe, confused, or abused as an infant or young child. 
  • Traumas or serious losses, especially early in life. Death of a parent or other traumatic experiences such as war or hospitalization. 
  • Learned helplessness. Negative experiences that lead to a belief that you’re helpless and that you have little control over the situations in your life. 
  • Illness, especially when it’s chronic, disabling, or isolates you from others. 
  • Side effects of medications, especially in older people who may be taking a variety of medications. 
  • Substance abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse can both cause mental health problems and make preexisting mental or emotional problems worse.

Whatever internal or external factors have shaped your mental and emotional health, it’s never too late to make changes that will improve your psychological well-being. Risk factors can be counteracted with protective factors, like strong relationships, a healthy lifestyle, and coping strategies for managing stress and negative emotions.

When to seek professional help for emotional problems

If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental and emotional health and you still don’t feel good – then it’s time to seek professional help. Because we are so socially attuned, input from a knowledgeable, caring professional can motivate us to do things for ourselves that we were not able to do on our own.

Red flag feelings and behaviors that may require immediate attention

  •  Inability to sleep. 
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time. 
  • Concentration problems that are interfering with your work or home life. 
  • Using nicotine, food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions. 
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can’t control. 
  • Thoughts of death or suicide. 

If you identify with any of these red flag symptoms, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional.


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