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What is mental health?

It’s mental health awareness month in May and I think it apropos to define mental health.  Of course, this is no easy task, as there are many different definitions of mental health. So what is mental health?  You can watch this video clip or read on.  Click here to download the Taking Care of Your Mind Worksheet to help you track your progress for one week.

Mentalhealth.gov’s definition of mental health:

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Positive mental health allows people to:

  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities

Ways to maintain positive mental health include:

  • Getting professional help if you need it
  • Connecting with others
  • Staying positive
  • Getting physically active
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Developing coping skills

The World Health Organization’s definition of mental health:

WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community.[4] However, cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how “mental health” is defined.[3] “Behavioral health” is the preferred term to “mental health.

UCLA Psychiatrist and Neuroscientist Dan Siegel, drdansiegel.com defines the mind

The mind can be defined as an emergent, self-organizing process that arises from, and also regulates energy and information flow within the brain and within relationships with others. Underlying both the neural and the relational pillars of a healthy mind is the process of integration” the linkage of differentiated aspects of a system. Cultivating integration within relationships and the nervous system means we can create the flexible, adaptive, coherent, and stable states of a resilient emerging mind.

Traci Ruble, Psyched in San Francisco psychotherapist defines mental health

Mental health is the ability to respond flexibly to life, and to keep other people in mind in relationships while remaining regulated yourself. It also involves the internal resourcing capacities of: re-framing our perspective, self-reflecting, feeling one’s bodily sensations and accessing all the parts of our self.
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Traci Ruble

Traci Ruble

Traci is a therapist and the CEO of PSYCHED & Managing Director of Sidewalk Talk. Her therapy work is centered around working with couples and individuals working on their relationships. Her many years in corporate life make her a good match for executives and leaders.

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