Although “mental health” and “mental wellness” may appear to be interchangeable terms, there are some distinct differences. Mental health pertains mostly to our brain’s health and emotional stability, whereas mental wellness is a broader term that covers all aspects of our overall positive functioning. Let’s explore what both these terms mean and learn how we can improve both.
What is mental health?
Mental health is the overall state of our mental functioning. Being mentally healthy means we are emotionally resilient, can function in society, and are capable of managing the demands of daily life.
That said, about 20% of U.S. adults will struggle with a mental health disorder in any given year. A mental health disorder involves a disturbance that adversely impacts our mental state, our physical state, and our ability to function productively. Some examples of mental health disorders include anxiety disorder, depression and bipolar disorder.
What is mental wellness?
Mental wellness refers to achieving a positive state of mind in the holistic sense. It is more than just the absence of mental illness, but instead represents stability and healthy functioning in the emotional, social and psychological realms.
Signs of mental wellness include:
- Being emotionally resilient and able to cope with life’s challenges.
- Being aware of your strengths and abilities.
- You can sustain healthy relationships.
- You’re able to work productively.
- You’re engaged with your
10 tips to improve your mental health and mental wellness
While there are distinctions between the two terms, it is notable that they are, to a large extent, interrelated. There is no denying that our mental health impacts our mental wellness.
Here are some great tips for improving mental health and wellness:
- Get involved in a cause: You don’t need to march in the streets to stand up for a cause. If you believe in something and want to make a difference, reach out to an organization and offer to help.
- Take up a new hobby: Mental wellness gets a boost when we break out of a rut and test our own boundaries. Some new hobbies you can try are: learning a new language, reading the classics, making jewelry or trying kayaking.
- Volunteer your time: Nothing improves your mental wellness like doing something nice for another person. Get involved in a local charity where you can use your skills and compassionate nature to help others.
- Listen to music: Music soothes our minds and invigorates our souls. Make it a priority to make music part of your daily life.
- Improve sleep quality: There are immense mental health benefits from getting enough quality sleep. Stick to a regular sleep routine, and even treat yourself to a warm bath before bedtime.
- Start a gratitude journal: Your mental health and wellness will get a boost when you stop and acknowledge your daily blessings. Keep a gratitude journal where you can put down in words all that you are grateful for.
- Make new fitness goals: Exercise is an excellent way to improve all areas of wellness. Choose a physical activity or two to help you reach new fitness goals.
- See friends in person: Texting and email are fine, but there is nothing as edifying as seeing a friend or loved one in person. Nurture your relationships and deepen connections by visiting friends live.
- Reduce stress: Our mental health can be affected by chronic stress, so reverse that trend by learning ways to reduce the stress in your life. If you feel stressed, try meditation or yoga to reach a calm mental state.
- See a therapist: If you believe your mental health is not optimal, why not schedule an appointment with a therapist? Therapy can be instrumental in achieving better mental health and mental wellness.
Set some goals to prioritize your mental health and wellness. Make plans to take up a new hobby, improve sleep, reduce stress — or do any activity that helps you feel engaged and productive in your daily life.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call 866-313-6307.