Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mental Health: The Role of Well-Being

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.The mass media and our own stigma would still have us believe that "mental health" is a term that revolves around negative terms: sadness, violence, lethargy, apathy, angst, etc. While those terms may apply to certain types of mental health conditions, mental health also focuses on positive factors.

Carol Ryff's (1989) research on psychological well-being identified six positive factors involved in life satisfaction and happiness. Focusing on these in your daily life may help you not only maintain positive mental health, but create strong coping skills that can act as a buffer when depression or anxiety seem to be overwhelming.

Accepting who you are, flaws and all, can help your overall sense of happiness. Don't try to live up to unrealistic expectations of the media or others, but rather take yourself for who you are and find a positive attitude toward yourself.

Positive Relations With Others
Having empathic, warm and trusting relationships with others is strongly related to positive mental health. In this day and age of social media relationships, it is our personal, face-to-face relationships that continue to offer the strongest boost to emotional well-being.

Independent, self-assertive behavior that allows one to regulate your behaviors from within, rather than externally, is linked to life satisfaction and well-being. Evaluate yourself according to your own standards, rather than the standards of others.

Environmental Mastery
Feeling like you have some control over your environment and managing your everyday affairs can help you maintain positive well-being. Take advantage of external opportunities, or create opportunities for positive experiences.

Purpose in Life
Frankl's (1959) Man's Search For Meaning explored the idea of meaningfulness and purpose in life. If one can find a goal and sense of direction for life, then it seems one can overcome almost anything. "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." ~Nietzche

Personal Growth
Being open to new experiences, realizing your potential, and being able to grow and improve your own sense of self and behavior is one way to maintain positive mental health. Stagnation is detrimental to health in many ways, so continue to grow and reach your potential throughout your life.

Notice that many of these factors are within your control, if you make the effort to mindfully incorporate them into your day. Work at maintaining your positive mental health!

No comments: