IntroductionWhen we speak about health, only physical health comes to our mind. Refer Characteristics of a physically healthy person to understand key traits reflecting physical fitness. Rarely we think or discuss about mental health. We all feel that we are mentally healthy as we are not suffering from any sort of mental sickness, but mental health is much more than absence of mental illness. It includes our each and every response to our daily situations. It includes how well we deal with our day to day situations or problems and how we feel about ourselves and our lives.
Characteristics of mental healthA mentally healthy individual displays certain characteristics and absence of even one of them means somewhere mental health is not at its best which is a definite call for help. Presence of all these characteristics mean that mental health is at its best and mind is functioning at its optimal level.
Following are the characteristics of a mentally healthy individual-
Mentally healthy person feels goodA mentally healthy person always feels good about himself, about his life and the events which approaches him on the daily basis. This is the very basic characteristic of sound mind. If we hate ourselves or are not able to deal with something taking place around us or are feeling bad about our life events then this is a sign of mental ill-health. A mentally healthy person feels good about himself because he thinks positively. Optimism is a key here for success. Negativity and negative thoughts like feeling bad about ourselves or our lives can only create hurdles and delay us in reaching our goals.
Maintains good relationshipsA mentally healthy individual is never loner and do not stay isolated. He always seeks company. Relationships he acquire with others are very strong bonds he forms which last long and satisfies him completely. He is always ready to help others and develop a very strong social network. He feel connected with others and do not consider himself different from rest of the group and thus never think of hurting others as he understands that hurting someone will definitely mean hurting himself. He has a strong belief that everyone is connected and this is a very important characteristic of healthy thinking and emotionally stable mind.
Mentally healthy person expresses emotionsA mentally sound and healthy person exhibits emotions appropriately and is spontaneous in doing so. Hiding emotions is an unhealthy sign. Emotional awareness is essential to experience and express these wide spectrum of emotions. When expressing or experiencing, he very well knows what he is feeling at that time. He knows his feelings are products of his thoughts and does affect his response which he projects outside. He knows the difference between emotional expression and emotional self-control and do not try to cross the line between them. He knows how much to express, what and when to express i.e., He has a control over his emotions. Emotionally healthy person is always pleasant and joyful. Does not show rage and anger when meets criticism.
Healthy mind is creativeCreativity means inventing or discovering something new and this is a sign of psychological richness. Mind which is functioning efficiently can be creative. Only sound mind can show the courage and interest in creating something new and accepts risk. Creativity is given a kick start by adversity i.e., challenges in life can promote new inventions and discoveries. A sound mind very well accepts adversity, but mental ill-health may not be able to face adversity at any cost.
Positivism and hopeHope is a key of motivation and in absence of it, desire to achieve anything would become very dull. Presence of hopes make a person feel that he is resourceful enough to conquer his desires. A mentally healthy person is full of hope which keeps his burning desire activated and at the same time is optimistic. In absence of optimism, hope cannot exist. Only positive attitude lets a person to accomplish his goals despite thousands of set backs and all those hurdles which comes in his way. When both optimism and hope are present, a person will be able to find different ways, especially when one door gets closed as his focus is not on making his way past door but to reach his goal. Optimistic approach towards every thing in life will increase life span and keep both mind and body healthy. Negative approach towards life is very closely related with anger, anxiety, tension, stress related disorders, depression, mental disorders etc.
Face rejections gracefullyA mentally healthy person is resilient. He understands that failures are part of a life and thus failures does not cause set backs in his life. Whenever he faces hurdles or failures, he just bounce back even stronger. He knows his weakness and strengths and always finds silver lining in time of crisis. Being resilient teaches him to adapt to unfavorable circumstances. Resiliency teaches him flexibility. His ability to face rejections gracefully prevents disappointments and keeps him stable and helps him to maintain high levels of functions both physically and psychologically. Rejection faced gracefully teaches a person to grow strong and provides strength to triumph over difficult times. Resilience or facing rejection very gracefully is actually considered to be a master characteristic of emotionally healthy individuals.
Self-confidence is a characteristic of sound mindA mentally healthy individual will have high levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. He is aware of all his strengths and weaknesses and thus knows how to make best use of them. Confidence within oneself is s drive that takes him past toughest of the obstacles. Lack of confidence does not lead to making attempts. Until and unless attempts are made and chances are taken, success cannot be achieved. Self-confidence personally prepares a person from inside to take risks unlike in case of lack of confidence where even a person is scared of taking minimal risks and always plays safe. Confidence is essential to carry out life in the best possible way and higher the confidence level, one can make best use of opportunity that approaches him in his way of life. Along with self-confidence, he also has high self-esteem i.e., he respects himself as well as admires himself for the person he is. These characteristics are the signs of a healthy mind. In case of ill-health of mind, self-confidence and self-esteem does not come to a person very naturally.
Self-awareA mentally healthy individual always has insight into himself. He knows about himself and regularly spends some time in conducting inner examination. This kind of self-assessment gives an idea about inner belief systems, pattern of thoughts which are developing, feelings which are getting generated, values, motives etc. He thus gets a very clear sense of his personal identity. When he is clear from inside then outside world appears crystal clear to him. Blurriness inside which is a sign of mental ill-health will not allow us to understand the activities which are taking place in the outer world very well leading to dilemma and insecurities of failures. Throughout our lives we struggle through issues related with identity because we are really unaware of who we are in real sense. Identity confusion often develops in individuals who are not self aware and this sort of problem is often in relation with many social and psychological problems. It leads to confusion, anxiety and interferes with day to day life as it takes away contentment from every day life, no matter what choices we make. A person who is mentally healthy do not face such risks of undergoing identity confusion or developing a negative identity. Instead, he enjoys a very strong sense of his self-identity as he develops opinion of his own. In depth of solitude, he spends some time and develops sense of identity which is quite deep.
Self-disciplinedDiscipline is an important characteristic and necessary factor to achieve success and self-discipline is an important characteristic of a healthy mind which leads to healthy living. In absence of discipline, nothing can be accomplished and when desires are not fulfilled then contentment does not arise which leads to dissatisfaction. A mentally healthy individual follows a strict discipline in his life and this is not practiced because of pressure of outer world but because he loves to live a disciplined life. He creates his goals and then through strict discipline, carry out all the necessary actions essential to meet them. He always upholds rules and orders of conduct.
ConclusionA mentally healthy person is an individual who is always happy and joyful in his life. Mental health does not only refer to sound mind but also to number of characteristics like self-confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline, resilient, being creative etc. To know about more characteristics determining sound and healthy mind read here Characteristics of a mentally healthy person: Part-2. In absence of good mental health, a person cannot display these and many more such characteristics which are essential to live a successful and happy life. Only good mental health will allow a person to be resilient and face rejections very gracefully. He feels good about his life, events which are taking place in life and can express and experience his emotions in an appropriate manner. Intimacy or maintaining good relationships with others is only possible when mind is in sound form.