~”Would you describe yourself as mentally healthy?”
According to the World Health Organization, an individual’s mental well being is an integral part of an individuals’ ability to form relationships, study, work, and to pursue work and leisure interests, as well as make daily decisions and choices. The state of one’s mental health is shaped by social circumstances and environmental factors. Factors such as insecure attachment during infancy or even job insecurity can impact one’s mental health.
Would you describe yourself as mentally healthy? Here are ten characteristics of a mentally and emotionally healthy person. See how well you compare.
- Realistic – You are able to see the world in terms of facts and actual events. You do not let the actions or opinions of others spoil your outlook on life.
- Accepting – You have a positive but realistic feeling about yourself and others. You have compassionate understanding of others defects. You respect differences and value diversity. You base opinions about others on individual characteristics, not group stereotypes.
- Autonomous – You are “inner directed”. You are not controlled by the desires or wishes of other people. You make choices on the basis of your own values and beliefs rather than follow the crowd or try to please others.
- Authentic – You are not afraid to be yourself. You are able to genuinely express your thoughts and feelings. You can be “real” without the need to gain approval from others.
- Intimate – You are capable of establishing appropriate physical and emotional intimacy with other people. You have something to offer a relationship. True intimacy is developed while communicating and sharing feelings with a significant person.
- Creative – Although you may not consider yourself to be a creative type, consider the thought that all of us are the artists of our own lives. Being creative means being open to new experiences. Creative individuals are curious and adventurous.
- Self esteem – You generally like yourself despite what others might say or do. You are able to accept that you will not automatically succeed at everything but you still give it a try.
- Have Value – You value life and discover a purpose for living.
- Optimistic – You see the glass as “half full” vs “half empty”. If something bad happens you are aware that it is temporary and will not last forever.
- Comfortable Being Alone – You are comfortable spending time with yourself and others. You do not feel helpless. You are able to satisfy your own needs without depending on others
I was in my mid 30’s before I was introduced to this list. It came at a perfect time as I was beginning to take a lot of time to self-reflect and work on improving myself. While I work on all of the characteristics in various ways, the three that I committed to working on the most were 2, 6, and 10. Today, I am less critical of others, especially my older boys (hence our relationship improved – which was very important as they were entering their teen years). I find ways to be creative by painting, coloring, decorating, making jewelry and more. And I LOVE hanging out with myself. The more I worked on loving and taking care of myself, the more enjoyable my alone times became. It was a very rewarding part of my personal growth process.
Take some time to explore your personal characteristics in comparison to the list above. There are many strategies that you can implement in your life to help improve your mental status. What small steps can you take today to strengthen your mental health status? If you need assistance exploring some healthy strategies, talk with a trained professional.
All the best!
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World Health Organization. (2012). Risks to mental health: An Overview of Vulnerabilities and Risk Factors. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mental_health/mhgap/risks_to_mental_health_EN_27_08_12.pdf
Robinson, J. and McCormick D. (2011). Concepts in Health and Wellness. Delmar, Cengage Learning. Clifton Park, New York.