5 STEPS TO IMPROVING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
According to World Bank research, about 30% of people in Ukraine have a mental disorder during their lifetime. Compared to other countries, a particularly high level of depression is registered in Ukraine. According to the STEPS study in Ukraine, every eighth adult (12.4%) reported symptoms consistent with a clinical diagnosis of depression. The prevalence of depression is almost twice as high among women (16.2%) than among men (8.7%). At the same time, only every fourth person with probable depression (3.0% of the total population) was informed about it by a doctor or health worker. Only 0.4% of the population was treated with antidepressants or went to psychotherapy sessions.
It is important to note that mental health problems also indirectly increase the number of additional deaths. Yes, they can increase the risk of physical health problems, including injuries, unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, obesity), unwillingness or inability to seek appropriate health care services, and non-adherence to the scheme drug treatment.
It is estimated that about 80% of premature deaths among people with mental disorders are caused by physical ailments, especially diseases of the cardiovascular system. Research shows that:
major depression is a documented risk factor for coronary heart disease;
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with increased mortality from coronary heart disease, tumors, and intentional and accidental injuries;
alcohol consumption is associated with tuberculosis, respiratory infections of the lower respiratory tract, multiple cancers, diseases of the cardiovascular and circulatory systems, cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, diabetes, intentional and accidental injuries.
It is worth remembering that mental health is a state of well-being in which a person realizes his abilities, can withstand the normal stresses of life, work productively and contribute to his community. Mental health is the basis of human well-being and the effective functioning of the community.
The Center for Public Health has put together five top tips to help improve your mental health and well-being.
1. Communicate with other people
Good relationships with others are important for your mental health, as they help you develop a sense of belonging to a group, share positive experiences with others, and feel supported emotionally. Communicate with friends, family, colleagues, like-minded people. Exchange ideas, support each other – all this helps to feel in good shape and maintain vitality.
2. Be physically active
Regular physical activity is associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety in all age groups, increased self-esteem and better mood. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout – it can just be a walk in the fresh air with friends or family. During a walk, the level of the stress hormone (cortisol) decreases, and as a result, we feel uplifted and enjoy life more. You can take a walk one and a half to two hours before going to sleep to improve its quality and feel more relaxed.
3. Keep learning
Research shows that learning new skills improves mental health by increasing self-confidence through the development of purposefulness. Even if you feel like you don’t have enough time or need to learn something new, there are many different ways to add new knowledge to your life. For example, you can try: cooking something new and useful, improving your skills (improve your presentation skills, photography, fixing a broken bike) or try new activities (blog, play a new sport, learn to draw).
4. Help others
Scientists have found that kindness and generosity can help improve your mental state by creating positive emotions and a sense of importance. Doing small acts of kindness for other people or volunteering helps increase neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. Also, when we do good deeds, our self-esteem, level of empathy and compassion increase, and our mood improves. It lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels.
5. Pay attention to your thoughts, emotions and behavior
Awareness helps to better understand one’s own thoughts and emotions, anxiety or worries, to improve one’s attitude towards life and one’s approach to solving problems. Try to listen to your body, desires and processes of your inner world, because this increases the ability to plan activities, be positive about yourself and, as a result, have a high level of empathy and self-acceptance.
Mental health is the basis of a happy human life
October 10 is World Mental Health Day. This Day has been celebrated since 1992, on the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (World Federation for Mental Health). For example, in 2018, the activities dedicated to Mental Health Day will focus on the topic of the problems of young people and their mental health in a changing world.
The World Health Organization stated that there are more than 450 million people on the planet today who suffer from mental illness. And in Western countries, every seventh person is either paranoid / schizophrenic, or prone to depression and alcoholism.
The purpose of World Mental Health Day is to reduce the prevalence of depressive disorders, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, drug addiction, epilepsy, mental retardation, the number of psychotropic substance use and suicide, issues and problems of helping people suffering from mental disorders, spreading information about effective methods for prevention, medical treatment and prevention of mental disorders, social adaptation.
Information overload, political and economic cataclysms in the country contribute to the increase in morbidity, and stress is the harbinger of diseases. Modern life in itself contributes to stress, and if a person begins to put up with them, it threatens with depression.
How to maintain mental health?
Mental health is a level of psychological well-being that is determined not only by the absence of mental illness, but also by a number of socio-economic, biological and environmental factors.
A psychologically healthy person is, first of all, a spontaneous and creative, cheerful and cheerful person, open and one who knows himself and the world around him not only with his mind, but also with his feelings and intuition. She fully accepts herself and at the same time recognizes the value and uniqueness of the people around her. Such a person puts responsibility for his life first of all on himself and learns from adverse situations. Her life is filled with meaning, although she does not always formulate it for herself. It is in constant development and, of course, contributes to the development of other people. Her life path may not be entirely easy, and sometimes quite difficult, but she adapts to rapidly changing living conditions. And what is important – knows how to be in a situation of uncertainty, trusting what will happen to her tomorrow. Thus, we can say that the “key” word for describing psychological health is the word “harmony” or “balance”. And above all, it is harmony between the various components of the person himself: emotional and intellectual, physical and mental, etc. Since the end result of a highly developed person is psychological well-being, therefore, for comprehensive development, it is necessary to know the main components of mental health and well-being. There are only six of them.
The first and most important component is accepting yourself as a person worthy of respect. This is a central feature of a person’s mental health.
A person’s ability to maintain positive, warm, trusting relationships with others. People with such qualities have a higher potential for love and friendly relations.
Autonomy is a person’s independence and ability to regulate his behavior from within, rather than waiting for praise or self-evaluation from others. This is the ability that allows a person to not adhere to collective beliefs, superstitions and fears.
Ecological mastery is a person’s ability to actively choose and create his own environment that corresponds to his psychological conditions of life.
The presence of a goal in life is confidence in the presence of a goal and meaning in life, as well as activities aimed at achieving this goal.
Self-improvement – it is not enough to achieve the characteristics that were described above, it is important to develop one’s own potential. That is, there must be a need to realize oneself and one’s own abilities. An important aspect of treating yourself as a person capable of self-improvement is also openness to new experiences.
The international standard of mental health includes 10 features: intelligence, purposefulness, flexibility, logical thinking, moral qualities, social behavior, eating habits, emotionality, attitude to one’s health, sexuality. To preserve mental health, it is important to avoid avarice, vindictiveness, envy, hypocrisy, pride, and morbid self-love.
Unfortunately, Ukrainians are not used to turning to psychiatrists on their own initiative, specialists are concerned that the turn occurs already at the final stages of the disease’s development, when it is no longer possible to stop it.
The most important thing that a person loses due to neuropsychiatric disorders is work capacity.
The health of the population depends on the level of well-being of the entire society and on its attention to these problems. Mental health care is a process that begins in each individual family, continues in people’s workplaces, covers the entire local community and the infrastructure of the public health system as a whole.
A person’s physical and mental health are interconnected.
Mental health is paramount to personal well-being, the maintenance of healthy family relationships, and the ability of each individual to contribute to society. And believe me, physical health is impossible without mental health. The human body lives its own life, which is inseparably connected with mental life, although it does not belong to it. However, the human body is not at all a soulless mechanism, it is in a certain sense an equal partner. It is not only the temple of the spirit, but also one of its aspects. Health, success in life and so-called happiness largely depends on the acquisition of vital harmonious integrity of the mental and physical components.
Our feelings constantly affect our bodily functions. There is a close relationship between a person’s mental and physical well-being, people’s thoughts and actions can and do directly affect their condition, physical and emotional health, general well-being and quality of life. Therefore, there is a real need to pay attention to the mental health problems of people with chronic physical diseases and the physical health problems of people suffering from mental diseases, within the framework of continuous and comprehensive health care.
Behavioral factors that negatively affect mental health include: prolonged negative stressful situations, inability to maintain adequate relationships with others, conflicts, insufficient rest, sedentary lifestyle, external stimuli (noise, etc.).
Economic instability, uncertainty about the future, and information overload due to high work intensity are among the causes of depressive mental disorders.
Preserving mental health is incompatible with the use of any psychoactive substances!
Nicotine addiction is the most widespread mental disorder, which does not help to get rid of stress, but on the contrary increases its level, which contributes to the development of more severe mental disorders.
Each person consciously or subconsciously possesses some relaxation strategies. And it is very good for each of us to understand as early as possible what brings him relief and pleasure. For this, you need to study yourself, study your capabilities in different areas of life and your behavior in different situations.
Adherence to the principles of a healthy lifestyle is important in maintaining and strengthening mental health.
Psychohygiene is of particular importance – it is a set of measures with respect for culture between personal relationships, the ability to manage one’s emotions, alternating work and rest, creating a favorable psychological climate in the team, family; systematically engage in physical culture, follow a rational diet, daily routine, get enough sleep, think positively, be optimistic, benevolent.
Plan your life!
Set realistic goals and don’t expect changes to happen by themselves – work for yourself. Do not look for relaxation in alcohol abuse or taking psychoactive substances – this will only deepen the psycho-emotional problems.
Remember that all people need support, participation, compassion and love. You are not alone! There are always people nearby who will understand and help. Don’t hesitate to ask for help! If necessary, contact specialists – you will receive individual, confidential advisory assistance and support.
Take care of your mental health! After all, this is a guarantee of a happy life and longevity!