Focus on Your Mental Health for your New Year’s Resolution

Do you have a New Year’s resolution? How does improving your mental health sound?

Your mind and body cooperate powerfully. The way you think affects how you feel, and vice versa. When you feel stressed, your muscles get tense and you might experience headaches and stomach problems; a physical reaction called “fight or flight”. Feeling stressed all the time could result in high blood pressure and affect your heart. Likewise, when you’re in pain you may become distressed or anxious. However, when you relax your mind and body, you no longer produce the hormones that create stress which allows you to return to a state of calm, physically and mentally.

Mental illness or mental health? What is the relationship to one another? They are separate yet interconnected concepts. They need to be looked at, measured and responded to differently. According to Statistics Canada, 1 in 3 Canadians will experience a mental illness or substance use disorder in their lifetime. What about the mental health of the rest of the population?

Mental illnesses are disorders that can be caused by factors like genetics or brain chemistry. They complicate our thinking, mood and behaviours hence severely negatively impacting the way we function in our lives. Different mental illnesses present differently and some of them take effort to work through and diagnose. Although mental illnesses can affect people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and social classes, many go undiagnosed. Depression, anxiety, and OCD are just a few examples of the many mental illnesses that people may suffer from. These conditions need to be treated for one to function optimally in their community.

On the other hand, mental health is a positive concept, it is all about mental well-being. It relates to our ability to live a satisfying and fulfilling life, achieve our goals while coping with stressors and dealing with everyday challenges. Mental health affects all people. It’s important to realize that one might have a mental illness such
as depression, but with the help of medications and support from various resources, they could have good mental health. Furthermore, poor mental health is not always due to mental illness, life events or stressors
can affect anyone’s mental health, whether or not a mental illness is present.