The usage of the word “Mental Health” has been more common in the recent past than it ever was. Awareness regarding this has also increased significantly. However, there definitely is a lot left to be achieved in terms of helping people gain better awareness as well as reaching out to more people. 

But what actually is Mental Health? But before we discuss that, let’s discuss the term “mental illness”. 

Mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling, or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day or ability to meet the ordinary demands of life.

Though the term “mental illness” is well defined, what comes under the purview of “mental health” is varied. According to the WHO, mental health is “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” 

Now, what actually comes under the purview of mental health problems?

There can be varied problems and symptomatologies which can be a cause for concern such as depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, somatoform disorders, psychotic disorders, etc. If one notices any signs of distress or any abnormal behaviors such as changes in day-to-day behaviors, mood, eating, sleeping, attitude towards life, etc., seek help immediately. Even if a person does not have a disorder that falls into any of the categories of these disorders or illnesses, but one still feels that they are experiencing distress, need help with their day to day life’s challenges, or stressors or any difficulties, they should not hesitate to go to counselors or other mental health professionals for help.

Now, in general, what can one do while sitting at home? 

Well, let me give you some activities that you can perform on yourself. But remember to perform these religiously. 

  • Firstly, work on reframing your negative thoughts into positive ones. Try and look at negativity from a realistic yet positive perspective. Additionally, make attempts to add more positive thoughts in your daily life by practicing positive affirmations.

  • Write or just regularly repeat affirmations that you feel will help you. Add a gratitude journal to your daily schedule, so that you can express your gratitude to your friends as well as enemies, and take note of all the good things that happened in your day.  

  • Be optimistic, yet realistic. Set realistic goals for yourself. Create and follow a schedule or a timetable for yourself. Plus, you can also create a positive activity schedule, focusing on doing things that will make you happy on a daily basis, whilst keeping track of them. Having a good social circle is also extremely essential.

  • Try to accept the past and focus on the present. Forgive people who harmed you, and try to move on. Find, discover, and explore things that might give you a sense of purpose in your life. Only you know what that is, and if you have found a sense of purpose, that’s amazing! If not, the process of exploring in itself will give you purpose.

  • Additionally, a good and rich diet filled with all the essential nutrients is recommended. Have a rainbow diet, which means including food items such as fruits and vegetables of all colors of the rainbow on a regular basis. Also, some essential nutrients and food items for enhancing one’s mental health include Omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods like walnut and fish oil, sources of lean protein like beans, eggs, chicken etc, green leafy vegetables,  whole grains, bananas, and fermented food like yogurt and other probiotics.  

  • Don’t forget to rest well, and get a good night's sleep. Relax but also remember to keep yourself occupied most of the time. This will help you become a lot more productive throughout the day.

  • Exercise regularly, and try to stay fit. Exercising is a major key to help one feel good, feel less stressed out, and boost one’s esteem. Also, perform fun yet mentally stimulating tasks that will help your brain stay young and active. Just do what you love. And don’t forget to keep doodling! 

These are just general ways to help one stay mentally healthy. But in case you face some major difficulties, remember to get help from qualified professionals such as registered psychiatrists and licensed clinical psychologists. Other helpers include mental health nurses, psychiatric social workers, counselors, and other mental health assistants.