People spend their entire lives pursuing happiness. They’ll focus on getting rich, getting better relationships, moving to new cities, and doing everything that society tells them they need to do to become happier.
What many neglect is their own mental health.
And the truth is that mental health is woefully misunderstood. If you had to explain what heart disease or cancer is, chances are you’d be able to do it. But if you had to explain neurosis and how it could affect one’s day-to-day life, it’s likely you’d be stumped.
The state of mental health influences many areas of your life. And it can have a direct impact on your happiness.
In our mental health IOP, we’ve seen many patients who felt they were misunderstood and under-represented in society. And it’s because many people just don’t comprehend the link between mental stability and happiness.
What Is Mental Health?
For us to understand how to achieve happiness, we first must understand the meaning of mental health.
Mental health is your psychological well-being. It’s how you feel about yourself, and how you feel about the environment around you and relationships in your life.
When people talk about “mental health” they mostly talk about anxiety and depression. And while those are real conditions, mental health encompasses more than that. The absence of depression and anxiety does not mean someone is in good mental health.
We believe it’s more about the presence of certain things rather than the absence. For example, people who are in good mental health tend to have:
- A passion and enthusiasm for life
- Contentment for the things they have in in life
- An acceptance of the bad circumstances in your life
- Self confidence and self esteem
- The ability to have fun
Those things are often missing with people who have issues with their mental health. This can spiral into crushing depression and anxiety, which can often lead to destructive behaviors like addiction of drugs and alcohol.
Mental Health and Happiness
In his book “Thrive: The Power of Psychological Therapy”, Richard Laylard described the anguish of poor mental health, “Mental pain is as real as physical pain. It is experienced in the same areas of the brain as physical pain and is often more disabling.”
Mental pain is misunderstood because other people cant’ see it. When you break your leg, the injury is obvious. If someone has cancer, there are MRIs, X-rays, biopsies etc. to check internally. But when someone is mentally anguished, there are few clear-cut tests to check their health.
How To Improve Your Mental Stability And Become Happy
Here’s the key: reduce mental anguish and find more fulfillment in life. This will mean different things for different people, but there are things almost anyone can do to reach this goal.
Feel grateful. One of the hallmark signs of unhappiness is a lack of contentment. You see what your neighbor has, and you feel as if you don’t have enough. You accomplish something, but you feel as if you failed. No matter what circumstance you may be going through, you have something to be thankful for if you’re still alive and breathing. It could be the small things: having a roof over your head, having food to eat, having friends and family that love you. Take time out and think about what you have. Avoid blaming and complaining. Instead speak from a place of positivity and contentment. Adopt a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. Eventually, you’ll notice that your outlook on life will change.
Become mindful. The world is a chaotic place. Events are always happening. People are consistently entering and leaving your life. Things are constantly changing— for better or for worse. Your mind absorbs this chaos, creating disorganized thoughts, anxiety, and general anguish. Remove yourself from this by learning to quiet the mind through becoming mindful. Practices like meditation and deep breathing are often excellent at helping people to decompress, become tranquil, and find a clearer path to improving their well-being.
Get active. Being active isn’t only necessary for your physical health, it’s absolutely crucial for your mental health as well. Get your body moving— whether that’s by going to the gym, taking long walks, doing yoga, or something else entirely. When you’re moving, you enhance your state of well-being with the release of endorphins. This is why exercise is often considered a natural “treatment” for depression and anxiety— without the side effects of traditional medications. Exercising also creates a sort of reward loop: the more you do it, the better you’ll look and feel. This boosts your mood and helps you feel content about your actions. If you’re currently inactive, start today. You don’t necessarily need to join a gym to get started, you simply need to build a habit. Go for a walk, do some push ups, do whatever— just start and build from there.
Find professional help. When you’re dealing with mental illness, you often feel isolated. It may feel like the world is closing in on you, and that there’s no one to help you escape. People may not take what you’re dealing with seriously, nor do they even understand what it is you’re going through. If this describes your experience, getting help with a mental health IOP can be the best thing to help you conquer your issues. At A Mission For Michael, we offer treatments for those who are suffering from anxiety problems, mood disorders, personality disorders, and a variety of other mental illnesses. Our therapies are led by our staff of psychiatrists and mental health experts.
When you are dissatisfied with your life, and are unhappy with the direction it’s going, you need to take the reins and regain control. This is done with customized treatment plans that are designed to change the way you think and feel— helping you obtain the fulfillment you need in life.
Mental stability and happiness are highly linked. It’s almost impossible to have one without the other, and it can be difficult to achieve both when you’re facing some form of adversity in life. Our mental health IOP can help you stabilize your mind and find a path to happiness. Contact us today to learn more about our mental health IOP.