Why Mental Health Important For Our Life
A review article by
A few decades ago, “health” meant only physical health to common people. The terms depression, frustration, and anxiety were never heard. But nowadays, in many cases, people are leading stressful life, committing suicide, taking violent revenge, rape, murder, and other crimes without any strong reason. Analysis of these incidents proves that in most cases, people commit these mistakes when they are mentally disturbed or imbalanced.
More than 12.5% of the world’s population is living with a mental disorder. Even children and adolescents are not spared from this problem. Around 300 million people have problems of anxiety disorder and 60 million people among them are under the age of 18. The numbers indicate that taking care of mental health is equally important to physical health.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health does not mean only an absence of mental illness. It is a very basic requirement for the effective functioning and prosperity of a human being. According to WHO, the determinants of mental health include an individual’s ability to:
- Manage his/her own thoughts and emotions.
- Behave and interact properly with others.
Type of Mental Health Disorders
This is the most common form of mental disorder. In depression, people feel sad and/or irritated. Their ability to focus on routine activities gets reduced significantly. Other symptoms include feelings of excessive guilt, low self-esteem, and hopelessness about the future. They always feel tired and low-energy because of their negative thoughts. Long-term depression increases the chance of committing suicide.
People suffer from excessive fear and worry. It hampers significantly one’s ability to perform in personal and professional life. Sometimes people create a lot of phobias in their mind to face a particular situation, like facing an interview, a conversation with strangers, etc. They start to avoid social gatherings and public transport, and in severe cases, they may not feel comfortable leaving the house.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This type of mental disorder is faced by people after exposure to some intense horrific events or series of events. They experience the event repeatedly through flashbacks. The most painful part is although they want to avoid the event’s memory and thoughts, they appear and disappear automatically in the mind like the waves of the seashore.
It is found mostly in adolescence and early adulthood. The problem has two opposite faces:
- The mind remains occupied with the thought of food and it results in excessive eating.
- The mind becomes over-conscious of body weight and shape. It results in a significant reduction of the food intake.
In both cases, the problem causes significant risk or damage to health leading to premature death.
This is found usually in children and it goes away with their development. But sometimes it persists and individuals fail to behave according to societal norms, rules, or laws and violate the basic rights of others.
It starts during early childhood and in a later phase, it becomes prominent through cognitive disorders, like the inability to perform intellectual and/or social functions, speech problems, reduced grasping power, etc.
Medically they are named attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), etc. according to the symptoms.
Reasons behind Mental Disorders
People who have a family member with mental illness are more susceptible to it due to genes. It does not necessarily mean that everyone in the family will get the problem. Mental illness starts with the interaction of multiple genes in the presence of various influencing factors, like stress, trauma, etc.
Sometimes accidents, prenatal injuries, or infections due to a certain type of bacteria (e.g.: pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with the streptococcus bacteria) can damage the brain which can result in mental disorders.
Trauma and Stress
Traumatic life events (like violence, rape, accidents, etc) make a deep impression on the mind.
In today’s world, a person’s status is judged by his/her materialistic success: a bright career, a good job, wealth, etc. Ambitious parents force a child to join the rat race for success from the tender age of his/her life. When the desired success is not achieved, life becomes empty. Then comes depression, anxiety, and mental instability.
Overuse of Technology in Daily Life
The invention of smartphones and social media made human life easier. But people started to overuse them due to easy access to the internet. They are addicted to checking Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social platforms all the time. People spend very little time with spouses, children, parents, and friends. It creates an emotional barrier among them and during a crisis, they don’t find anyone to provide mental support.
How to maintain mental health with Balanced Mind
Mostly patients need medication, psychotherapy, and other therapy if their mental disorder is related to genetic factors and health issues.
But for other cases, including some changes in lifestyle can bring immense well-being of mental health. The list includes:
- Healthy Lifestyle: Eating healthy meals, regular physical activities, and being responsible to one’s own duties keep him/her mentally fresh.
- Meditation: Meditation helps to integrate the mind and body. In India, many meditative techniques were evolved in ancient times. Regular practice of any technique definitely calms the mind and enhances overall well-being.
- Understanding the Life: One should not identify himself with his/her money, social status, etc. These are not you but your life situations. Try to grasp some wisdom from our ancient Indian scriptures, like Upanishad, Gita, etc. Their teaching about the vastness of life will help anyone to overcome any type of depression, anxiety disorder, trauma, or other mental illness.
- Keeping Smart Devices Away for a Certain Period of the Day: Try to fix 2/3 hours per day to be away from smart devices. It will help you find time for the above activities and interaction with your near and dear ones.
- Make Learning a Habit: Always try to learn something. It may be learning painting, music, new sports, or any new subject. It will keep your mood fresh.
- McGee M. Meditation and psychiatry. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2008 Jan;5(1):28-41.
- Velten, J., Bieda, A., Scholten, S. et al. Lifestyle choices and mental health: a longitudinal survey with German and Chinese students. BMC Public Health 18, 632 (2018).
- AlFaris, E., AlMughthim, M., Irfan, F. et al. The relationship between study skills and depressive symptoms among medical residents. BMC Med Educ 19, 435 (2019).