Mental Health & Mental Well-being: Definition and Guidance



Last Updated on December 20, 2023

Mental health is crucial to our general well-being and is just as important as physical health. Having good mental wellbeing helps us work more productively, enjoy our leisure activities, and actively participate within our communities. Being mentally healthy and having good mental wellbeing is vital to all of us – those living with a mental illness and those living without it.

What is mental health?

Mental health consists of our emotional, psychological, as well as our social well-being. It influences the way we think, what we feel, and how we act. But it also helps determine the way in which we handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions. Mental health is important in all phases of our life, from childhood and teen years through adulthood.

What is mental well-being?

Mental wellbeing, on the whole, is the state of flourishing in different areas of life, such as in relationships, at work, socially, and more – regardless of the ups and downs that come our way. It’s the understanding that we are not our problems and the assumption that we can manage those problems.

Our mental wellbeing is all about our thoughts and feelings and ways we cope with the good and the bad everyday life throws at us.

Prolonged periods of low mental wellbeing can lead to or accelerate the development of mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. Someone living with a mental health condition can experience poor mental wellbeing more frequently, but also have long periods of maintaining good mental wellbeing.

This is why it is important to understand that good mental wellbeing is not the absence of mental illness or lack of problems, challenges, and hard times.

Actually, it is often that those hard times, including facing with a mental illness, shape and improve our mental health and wellbeing. Each time you face and deal with problems your wellbeing grows stronger.

Simply put, mental wellbeing is just how we respond to life’s challenges. In this short mental wellbeing definition lies a deeper meaning and significance for our lives.

What is good mental well-being?

As mentioned earlier, good mental wellbeing is not the absence of problems, negative thoughts and feelings. All of us have complicated and challenging situations that can make us feel angry, sad, overpowered and more. Instead, mental wellbeing it’s about being able to interpret and manage those feelings, so that in the end you can:

·      accept yourself

·      thrive in the face of adversity

·      cultivate positive relationships

·      have a sense of purpose

·      be productive

·      handle day-to-day life stresses

·      make do when things change

What are the effects of poor mental wellbeing?

The effects of poor mental wellbeing vary and can be different for every individual.

We already know that individuals with a mental health condition can experience good mental wellbeing, as well as the fact that long periods of poor mental wellbeing can lead to developing certain mental health conditions.

Furthermore, poor mental wellbeing can not only affect our psychological health but also leave a detrimental impact on our physical health. 

How can we improve our well-being and mental health?

Maintenance is important. Just as you fill your car with fuel, check the oil and water on a regular basis, check your tires, you should check yourself and reflect on your own wellbeing.

This is why you should try to:

·      get enough sleep

·      practice mindfulness

·      make time for things you enjoy

·      stay active and eat well

·      nurture relationships

·      learn to manage stress

·      be comfortable in your own skin

·      set realistic goals

·      deal with tasks one at a time

·      ask for help when you need it

Remember, our emotions – both good and bad – dictate our thoughts and actions and are the glue that gives meaning and value to life. That’s why it is so important for you to take care of yourself, manage your emotions and increase your general wellbeing by doing so.