Ok before we get into the nitty-gritty why don't I try and answer that question I know a lot of you who clicked on this link are asking.

What is Good Mental Health?

Well, according to WHO (the World Health Organization) good mental health is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community"

According to their British counterparts "good mental health is characterised by a person's ability to fulfil a number of key functions and activities, including the ability to learn. the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions. the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others."

If you ask me, and you're here so I'm assuming you want my two cents worth. Good Mental Health is when we can get up each day without that sense of dread/fear/anxiety/guilt/sadness/tiredness/pain/hopelessness pick your poison, good mental health is getting up without that feeling. It's being equipped with skills to cope with that little demon when its head peeks out from its ugly cave. Good mental health is being able to recognise when we need help and seeking it out. Good mental health is being able to acknowledge and deal with our emotions both positive and negative. Good mental health is being able to practice gratitude not just regret. Good mental health takes into account your wellbeing as a whole, your mental, emotional and physical person.

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Your comfortable place to sit and meditate can be anywhere once it's safe and helps your focus - Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash
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Characteristics of Good Mental Health

So, it is thought that if your mental health is good the following characteristics would be noticeable to you and those close to you:

  • You feel good about yourself.
  • You do not easily become overwhelmed by emotions, such as fear, anger, love, jealousy, guilt, or anxiety.
  • You have lasting and satisfying personal relationships.
  • You feel comfortable with other people.
  • You can laugh at yourself and with others.
  • You have respect for yourself and for others even if there are differences.
  • You are able to accept life’s disappointments.
  • You can meet life’s demands and handle their problems when they arise.
  • You shape your environment whenever possible and adjust to it when necessary.

Of course, it is entirely possible to display all the signs of good mental health and still be suffering from a disorder nobody is aware of so please, never judge someone else's situation. Only the person themself ever knows what happens in their head.

"We readily go to the health club when our doctor suggests we need more exercise, but we regularly neglect the 'mental health club' that our well-being more truly requires."

- Pico Iyer

social activities
Keeping physically active while enjoying snack breaks with friends is really good for our mental health - Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

How to Maintain Good Mental Health

There are so many things that you can do to help keep your mental health good. Below I've created a list of a few things that will keep you feeling energised, healthy and positive.

  1. Drink More Water - Dehydration can really affect our mood but also our concentration levels. Nowadays there are apps out there and you don't even have to buy a smartwatch to use them... apps like NutraCheck and FitBit allow you to set goals of how much water you would like to drink in the day, and they also allow set a reminder so you don't forget to drink water.
  2. Drink Less Alcohol -  Often when we drink alcohol we experience a positive change to our mood but the effect is only temporary. When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body, we often end up feeling tired, groggy, headache and muscle pain and in need of a lot of water. So when it comes to alcohol less is better.
  3. Eat a Balanced Diet - Balanced nutrition or a healthy diet is when you consume the right amount of foods from each of the food groups (on the food pyramid). Unfortunately, a lot of  prepared/convenience foods are high in saturates, salt and sugars. Sugar specifically has been known to lead to inflammation throughout the body and brain, which may contribute to mood disorders, including anxiety and depression. Which makes eating healthy even more important.
  4. Ask for Help -  It can be scary, and it is an impossibly brave thing to do, especially that first time. But none of us are superhuman. Sometimes everyone gets tired or overwhelmed. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.
  5. Don't be so Hard on Yourself - We are all different. It’s much healthier and less stressful to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about the things that make you different will boost your confidence. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life gets difficult.

"I see taking care of my emotional and mental health in the same way that I see taking care of a garment: After it's been through wear and tear, it needs attention."

- Gina Barreca

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These days you can even get a counselling or meditation session from the comfort of your own home via google or zoom - Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Mental Health Resouces in Ireland

Depending on what you're looking for there are different options available. In recent years over a third of visits to GPs are about mental health.

Your GP may suggest ways you or your family can help you. Or they may refer you to a specialist or another part of the health service.  If you're not quite ready to go to someone you know yet please try some of the following.

I've created a list of different support resources available and a brief description of what they provide below:

  • YouTube  - Mindful Meditation tutorials
  • Superprof - Mental Health Tutors and Life Coaches
  • 50808 - is an anonymous texting service for anyone over the age of 16, provides a safe space where you’re listened to by a trained crisis volunteer. You text back and forth, only sharing what you feel comfortable with. By asking questions, listening to you and responding with support, they will help you sort through your feelings until you both feel you are now in a calm, safe place. Some of the issues they support include:
    • Stress
    • Anxiety
    • Substance Abuse
    • Depression
    • Physical Abuse
    • Bullying
  • Fettle - and easy to navigate and affordable network of accredited and qualified online therapists who can help you with anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, couples therapy and more. You can choose your therapist, or someone from the website will help you shorten the list if you describe what areas you wish your therapy to focus on.
  • HSE - Of course, there are public mental health services available in Ireland too, for more information on those, please click here.

I really wish you nothing but the best on your journey to maintain positive mental health.

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Maureen

Hey, I'm Maur/Mo, I'm a writer from Ireland. I've written a novel and a lot of poetry and fiction. Currently, I work as a content writer at superprof