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Why Is Mental Health Important?

Mental health has always been important. For thousands of years, many of the things that kept a person in good mental health, such as being outdoors, getting physical exercise, or being with loved ones, was built into people’s daily lives as part of their survival. But as society has grown, changed, and progressed, many of those aspects also changed. Whereas people worked outside, laboring, they transitioned indoors, potentially sitting all day, behind a desk, or driving for many hours. Whereas food was grown locally and unprocessed, it is, for many, a matter of convenience and taste over health. And where people were once highly connected with each other as a means of surviving, they can now spend incredible amounts of time without seeing or speaking directly to each other.

These shifts, many of which are convenient, have also had a huge impact on mental health. They lead to stress, fatigue, poor physical health, depression, and feelings of disconnection. And now, after several years of isolation and quarantine from a pandemic, focusing on our mental health has become more important than ever. Our mind is the command center of everything we do and therefore, the quality of a person’s mental health directly impacts every part of their life.

Why Should We Take Care of Our Mental Health?

Our mind is the command center of everything we do. Therefore, the quality of a person’s mental health directly impacts every part of their life. Maintaining good mental health it is vital to regulating our emotions, thoughts, and constructive behaviors. Moreover, good mental health increases productivity, boosts our self-esteem and self-image, and improves relationships.

Additionally, it also helps us control or combat some physical health problems that are linked to mental health conditions. For instance, stress is one of the main causes of heart disease. So by managing your stress, you can also reduce the risk of heart disease.

Other health benefits also include:

  • An improvement to our mood

  • Reduced anxiety

  • A sense of inner peace

  • Clarity of the mind

  • Improved relationships

  • Increased self-esteem

What Affects Our Mental Health?

Many different factors can impact our mental health. Some of these include:

  • Biological factors, e.g., genes or our brain chemistry

  • Life experiences, e.g., abuse or trauma

  • A family history of mental health conditions

  • Lifestyle, e.g., diet, physical activity, and/or substance abuse

Mental Health Changes Over Time

A person’s mental health can change throughout the course of their life. The mind can be highly sensitive to changing conditions. For instance, without proper attention, a person’s mental health can suffer when going through any variety of difficult challenges, such as a job loss, a breakup, a dysfunctional home or work life, or dealing with a chronic illness. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the struggles a person can go through, and without the tools to maintain resiliency, people easily fall into states of depression, burn out, or despair.

A person’s environment, genetics, lifestyle choices, and age greatly impacts their mental health. While some of these things may be beyond our control, it is important to recognize the choices we do have. An unattended mind can easily become overwhelmed, leading to a deterioration in an ability to cope with everyday tasks or emotions, which, of course, leads to a decreased ability to enjoy life, experience internal motivation, and feel successful. And isn’t that what we all want? No matter what state of mental health you find yourself in, there are people, places, and techniques to help you climb the ladder of mental health and wellness.

Signs of a Mental Health Problem

Check the warning signs below to find out if your mental health is taking a turn for the worse:

  • Your eating or sleeping habits have changed

  • Withdrawing from people and activities you enjoy

  • Low or no energy

  • You feel emotionally numb or apathetic

  • Unexplained aches and pains

  • Helplessness or hopelessness

  • Drinking or smoking more than usual

  • You’re unusually confused, forgetful, angry, upset, worried, or scared

  • Feeling severe mood swings

  • You have thoughts and memories that you can’t get out of your head

  • You hear voices or believe things that aren’t true

  • Thoughts of self-harm or harming others

  • Having trouble performing daily tasks getting to work or school

I Think I Have a Mental Health Issue… What can I do?

If you think you have a mental health problem, the best thing you can do is get help. One option is to reach out to your primary care provider if you have one. Let them know what you are experiencing and tell them you would like to be referred to a mental health professional or that you would like help getting treatment. Whatever you do, don’t stay quiet about it. Many people struggle with mental health issues at one time or another, but no one needs to struggle alone. There is help, and you are worth helping. No matter what, don’t give up.

And if you are struggling mentally because of substance abuse or another form of addiction, and want to recover, you can reach out to us at Honu House Hawaii. We provide a container for recovering from the trauma of addiction, a transitional wellness environment where you can gradually, safely, start on the road to recovery. Meditation, mindfulness techniques, breath work, and professional therapy are just a few of the tools in our program. We want to help you. Talk to us today.

  • Author Profile Picture

    By John Burke

  • April 10, 2022

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