The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as "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" (World Health Organization, 2014). Mental health is not just about the absence of mental disorders; it is the overall state of well-being.
Mental health is a vital aspect of functioning and has a significant impact on performance whether that is in an academic setting, within your career, sports performance, or other areas of your life. Treating your health without considering your mental health can be detrimental.
Mental health can be the difference between success and failure. So, why does it continue to be ignored? In quite a few settings, mental health and one’s well-being are addressed as an aftermath of an incident or concern rather than as a preventative measure. However, if an individual reversed the two—it can make a substantial difference.
The following are a few examples that demonstrate the impact of addressing mental health as a preventative measure:
Consider an individual recognizing they often become stressed when experiencing a significant change—that may include enrolling in college, joining a sports team, moving to a new state or away from home, beginning a new job, having a child, moving in with a significant other, etc.
This individual begins to experience mood changes, isolation, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, racing thoughts, and more at the height of this life change. Ultimately, the inability to adjust negatively impacts other areas and affects their performance which results in the opposite of their desire—dropping out, quitting, or removing themselves from the environment.
Now consider the alternative scenario:
This individual recognized that they often become stressed when going through a significant life change due to past experience. Rather than waiting until symptoms surface or they are in the middle of a conflict, the individual seeks a therapist or other healthy resources to help prepare them for this transition. As a result, they have developed effective coping skills, techniques, and are more prepared to handle the adjustment. Thus, their performance is stronger because their mental health is strengthened with the proper support.
Preventative Care Rather Than Reaction
It is often recommended to go to a physician, dentist, vision care, and OB/GYN for a reason—to get ahead of any issue. Rather than reacting to the symptoms that have surfaced, be aware of the signs early to prevent you from running into obstacles in the first place.
Do you ever notice how jobs may have a quarterly review or team meeting to check up on progress? Well, instead of evaluating your performance at work, you are evaluating your state of mind. Helpful techniques to achieve this are self-reflection and practicing mindfulness.
Self-reflection and mindfulness are imperative skills to check in with yourself and assess your state of mind. People can often get too busy and overwhelmed with schedules, daily tasks, and plans that they forget to slow down, breathe, and check-in with themselves.
Furthermore, your mindset and level of confidence are important to be aware of as well. Are you tough on yourself or self-critical? Your mindset—whether that is at work, on a field, or sitting at home—has a huge impact on performance. If you do not believe in yourself, how can you possibly be effective or reach your full potential?
If you notice yourself saying, “I just don’t feel like myself,” that could be the first sign that you need to address the issue head-on. In addition, there are other warning signs and symptoms to be cognizant of:
Experiencing a loss of identity
Mood changes such as irritability or depressed moods
Fatigue/loss of energy
Loss of interest in typical activities
Overthinking or racing thoughts
Feeling out of control
If you are experiencing symptoms that are atypical for you, it is time to take action before symptoms become severe.
Taking that first step can be challenging. Lack of time is often expressed as a major reason one is deterred from seeking resources for mental health. However, this is about longevity. You may be able to maintain things for a bit, but at some point, you do not want to risk losing your effectiveness, concentration, motivation or drive, energy and then no longer be suitable for optimal performance.
Tips to Manage Mental Health
The following are 5 tips to navigate challenges and improve your mental health:
Set goals rather than setting expectations.
Have moments to yourself to breathe and regroup, no matter how small they are. Focusing on your mental health is practicing self-care.
Know your limitations and maintain your boundaries. It is okay to say no when something is overwhelming or too much to take on.
Routines can help you get back on track, though be careful not to go to extremes.
Build a strong support system and network of those you can trust—this may include family, friends, a therapist, support group, neighbors, etc.
We all struggle at times, but you do not have to manage alone. A therapist can assist you in developing an appropriate strategy and techniques to cope with stressors and strengthen your mental health so that you can function and perform.
To book our counseling and coaching services visit: Nayaclinics.com/book-online
About Sam Nabil
Sam offers therapy in Boston and Boston Marriage Counseling for adults suffering from relationship challenges, life transitions and anxiety. Sam Nabil was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English, The Washington post, The Boston Globe, Fatherly magazine, Women's health magazine, Cornell university, Yahoo News, USA Today, Marriage.com
Naya Clinics offers Marriage Counselors near me, individual therapy near me, and life coaching near me in various locations across the USA and the world. Naya Clinics also offers Online marriage counseling, online therapy, and online life coaching.
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