Mental health is a state of well-being in which a person realizes their own abilities, can cope with normal stress in life, work productivity, and contribute to society. Good mental health is associated with improved health outcomes, better immune function, speedier recovery, increased productiveness, and longevity.
Mental health can be broken down into three domains:
- Emotional well-being: life satisfaction, happiness, cheerfulness, and peacefulness
- Psychological well-being: self-acceptance, personal growth, openness to new experiences, optimism, hopefulness, life purpose, control of one’s environment, spirituality, self-direction, and positive relationships
- Social well-being: social acceptance, beliefs in the potential of people and society as a whole, personal self-worth, usefulness to society, and sense of community
It is estimated that only 17 percent of American adults are considered to be of optimal mental health. Most people do not realize that lacking in one or more of these domains can affect their physical health. Even though a person may not be physically ill, they may still be bored, depressed, tense, anxious, or simply unhappy with their lives. These emotional states set the stage for physical and mental diseases. Even cancer and inflammation can be brought on by excessive stress that weakens the immune system. Negative emotional states can also lead to abuse of the body through smoking, overuse of alcohol and overeating. These types of coping behaviors can then lead to missed days of work and directly contribute to the severity of other costly conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Wellness is not just limited to exercise and a healthy diet – it also involves using your mind constructively, expressing your emotions effectively, and being creative and concerned about your psychological and spiritual environments. Remember to treat yourself kindly, especially when something isn’t going well. Use positive self-talk to build yourself up instead of tearing yourself down. Everyone makes mistakes or has things happen to them but you don’t have to continue to beat yourself up over them. Allow yourself to move on.
You can begin making small changes to help improve your overall mental outlook on life and reduce stressful influences. Consider incorporating some of these options in your day:
- Get a massage to relax your body
- Practice meditation or deep breathing to help lower stress
- Make room for down time and some activities you enjoy
- Limit use of external things like food, tobacco or alcohol as tools to cope
- Cultivate a personal relationship to build your social interaction
- Build a spiritual connection to help quiet your mind
- Talk with a counselor to get an outsider perspective
Your CDL Wellness Coach can help you take a small step forward to improve your mental outlook or help you find a professional to work with.