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Understanding Good Mental Health

Mental health is how you think, feel and act. In general, people in good mental health have a positive attitude and look forward to the challenges of life, feel good about themselves and others, and act responsibly in their work and in their relationships.

Everyone can have good mental health, but it must be developed and maintained with time and effort. Feeling good about yourself is very important. How you see yourself has a lot to do with how you think, feel and act.

When you feel good about yourself, you are more likely to:

  • Find happiness in life
  • Take life’s challenges in stride
  • Establish strong, healthy relationships
  • Have the confidence to overcome problems
  • Set goals and reach them

Even individuals with good mental health have problems. Occasional complaints are common. It is not unusual for a person to experience short-term problems including:

  • Lack of energy and interest in life
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Sexual problems
  • Changes in sleep and appetite patterns
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Confusion
  • Inability to make decisions

When you don’t feel good about yourself you are more likely to:

  • Feel that life is beyond your control
  • Avoid accepting challenges
  • Become overwhelmed by difficulties
  • Expect failure and find it

If these symptoms are severe or long-lasting, it is important to seek help. Ignoring these symptoms, hoping the problem will go away, will affect your physical health, your job and/or your relationships with others.

Mental illness is not the same as poor mental health. Mental illness is a disorder of the brain, the body’s most important organ. A mental illness is a disease, much like heart disease or cancer. It is no one’s fault.

There are many causes of mental illness including chemical imbalances in the brain and other biological, environmental and social factors. Mental illness is real, common and can be devastating, but treatment is available.

For some individuals, mental illness may be a lifelong condition, like diabetes. Also like diabetes, proper treatment enables many people with mental illness to lead fulfilling lives.