What is mental health and why is it important?


Mental health has become quite a buzz word in our current world, but what is all the fuss about? Do we really know what we mean by mental health?

Since the end of the 20th century there has been a surge of interest in physical well being and preventive practices to avoid illness. Fitness, diets, yoga have become the norm.

Over the last 2 decades this self-care awareness has expanded to include our minds, not just our bodies. Celebrities are hailed for speaking out to break the prejudice that our internal realities cannot be assumed to be healthy and that many people suffer with their emotions and their thoughts. Problems with mental health are no longer just the realm of the weak or the crazy. Thankfully, the stigma is being broken.

So what is mental health exactly? It is our internal reality - our emotional,psychological and even our social well-being. Mental health refers to our 'state of being'.

Our internal world is shaped by our thoughts and our feelings. Obviously these are intricately intertwined and feed on one another. Depressive thoughts will induce chemicals in our bodies so we “feel” depressed, to match our thoughts. And these feelings affect our minds to trigger more depressive thoughts. They create a loop, and if this state lasts long enough, it can become a hard-wired habit, almost an addiction. We become very used to feeling that way, it almost becomes our personality.

And it doesn't just stop there. Our state of being directs our beliefs, our choices, our behaviours, and how we relate to others. It affects our entire relationship with life, with ourselves and the world around us.

If we have poor mental health, it affects our decision making and our ability to deal with stress as it inevitably arises in our lives. Over time, when our nervous system becomes unable to self-regulate, all the other systems in our bodies are affected. It is universally recognised now that poor regulation of stress has a negative impact on our physical health.

A very sad result of this inability to self-regulate is that many people seek out other coping mechanisms to deal with their distress. They seek solace in drink, drugs, medication, procrastination, rage, isolation and often work. Life passes them by as they hide in these distractions. The sense of self becomes darker and more desperate.

So is this a new phenomenon? Actually our society is becoming more aware of mental health problems as the stigma around them lessens and more people are able to seek support for their challenges. Research has provided information, understanding and modalities to help with these issues. A desire to achieve mental well-being is becoming mainstream and embraced as a noble endeavour.

Our modern life is certainly more complex now. The changing work environment is full of uncertainties and financial insecurities. Technology and social media have transformed the way we relate to one another. All this adds to our stress levels and can lead to isolation and feelings of deep loneliness, even in a crowd. This is so harmful as humans thrive on meaningful connections with others and a sense of community.

Thankfully, this awareness has a silver lining. As we are more aware of these mental health problems, we can prevent them from developing by seeking out support to promote internal well being. There is a wide range of help available. The challenge is to find the help that is most effective for each person. It is important to choose carefully.

Transforming mental health problems into internal well-being is the vision of our team at Thera. Our “zero protocol” program is carefully designed to weave together the most suitable modalities for each individual in our care. Drawing on cutting edge science of transformation and compassion based approaches we help each client emerge from the darkness they are facing. They learn to cope with challenges skillfully, create meaningful relationships and become the very best version of themselves. We believe that anyone can learn to love life.

author: Paul Tanner , Thera.Rehab - Creator of ZeroProtocol TM

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