It used to be that a person was to be considered to be in good mental health simply if they showed no signs or symptoms of mental illness. But in recent years there has been a shift to a more holistic view of mental health.
According to the World Health Organization, “mental health is a state of well-being in which the 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 own community.” The Canadian Mental Health Association describes mental health as striking a balance in all aspects of your life: social, physical, spiritual, economic and mental. Reaching a balance is a learning process. At times, you may tip the balance too much in one direction and have to find your footing again.
Your personal mental health balance will be unique, and your challenge will be to stay mentally healthy by keeping your balance. Just as physical fitness helps our bodies to stay strong, mental fitness helps us to achieve and sustain a state of good mental health. When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and environment, and the people in it.
We can be creative, learn, try new things, and take risks. We are better able to cope with difficult times in our personal and professional lives. We feel the sadness and anger that can come with the death of a loved one, a job loss or relationship problems and other difficult events, but in time, we are able to get on with and enjoy our lives once again.