The Characteristics of mental health are largely unknown. Would you believe me if I said that most people place low value on their mental health as a whole? Yes, we’ve come a long way since I was first diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia, but there is still a long and arduous road ahead of us. Why? Well, there is lots of advice out there on what not to do around people with mental health issues but very few statuses on “what to do?” as in, what are the characteristics of mental health that are positive? What can we do to help? Let’s dissect this shall we?
Good mental health is not polluting your body with substances
A rather offensive headline but I feel I want to make a point here. People with good mental health characteristics don’t drink alcohol, they don’t do drugs, and they don’t use any other substances either, such as coffee. Oh prey, whatever will you do with your life without just one of these? I know, right? Life is hard and we do what we must to get through, but would you believe me if I told you that not having these substances in your body makes life a hundred times easier? Why you ask?
Take alcohol for example. It’s a paralytic. The more you consume, the more it paralyses your central nervous system. It’s actually bad for anxiety and depression — those that have suffered anxiety after a night out will know what I mean. It’s also a depressant, and can greatly increase your depression the more you are exposed to it. It’s not widely discussed in the characteristics of mental health amongst the general public, but it’s widely known in the addiction services.
The Characteristics of Mental Health – Taking accountability
When it comes to the characteristics of mental health a good point would be for those that take account of their actions and understand that every action has a consequence. People with poor mental health struggle with this. For instance when I was going through depression I thought the world was being mean to me, and it was “out to get me,” but in reality it was more-so the bad way in which I was communicating with people. It came across negatively to them. It wasn’t my fault of course, I was never taught good communication skills. So my actions were having a negative consequence on those that I circled with. When I changed this my world became so much more pleasant. That doesn’t mean I don’t come across negative people in my life that want to tear me down, it just means I don’t let these people close in my life.
Observe and reflect, rather than react and call out
The healthiest people in the world sit and observe, reflect and take note of all situations and circumstances. There is a deeper meaning to everything. Everyone reacts for a reason. I was angry at women for not giving me a chance, but the deeper meaning is that I was angry at myself for not being able to communicate my feelings properly with women. The outward anger was a reflection of my inward anger. Misdirected. It would be easier to call me an outright misogynist and denounce anything I do — but if you looked into my deeper meaning you would find a man with many internal scars, brought on through many years of bad decisions through poor guidance. I’ve found myself in some of the worst situations through quick judgement and bad reasoning. I’ve also found this a good tool for assessing the characteristics of mental health in myself — the more reactive I am then the worse I feel on the day.
Lasting and satisfying relationships
One of the better things about me is that I have clung onto my childhood friends since I moved school and town back in 1987. The friends that I made then are still my friends now. I have people on my friends list that I have known for longer than 32 years and those people have been the strongest of influences in my decision making when I’ve had to make them. I haven’t always made the best of decisions but my friends have stuck by me through thick and thin. The same is for the friends that I made when I moved to England, and the friends that I made when I moved county in England. Long lasting and valuable relationships. People with good mental health are keen to form friendships that last forever, value them, and want to put as much into them as they get out of them.
Know that learning is a journey
If I stood up and said that I knew it all then I would be completely arrogant. Life has it’s ways of throwing curve balls into my area to see if it can catch me out. I’m forever learning new information every day. In fact, the more that you learn the less that you will realise that you know about the world. Socrates once said,
“I am the wisest man alive, for that I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
The more I understand this world, the more I realise that I don’t know. This is why I like to dissect new information constantly. I’m always up for learning something new. I’ve even tried cross stitch and hairdressing on my travels, and learned that I am completely terrible at them! But at least I’ve tried, right?
Pick up a book. It doesn’t have to be a book. Read an article, anything that is new. Learn from it, grow, and challenge your biases. It all builds character and intellectualism.
As I was on a learning journey through the characteristics of mental health in my early twenties, I realised very quickly, after I gave up alcohol how much I didn’t know. And set out trying to learn anything.
Have lasting hobbies
One of the lucky one’s here. Writing is my hobby. I get up every day to write. It’s my hobby, and profession. Not many people can say they love what they do. Yet on another note I’ve met people that like to separate their hobbies from their professional life, which is awesome too — as long as there’s something that can take your mind of the silence of being with yourself, because it isn’t fun. Film & TV isn’t a hobby — try creating something instead. Then you have value for your work. You can look back and say, “wow, I did this.”
Know that physical is linked with mental
When my wife first broke her back she was bed & sofa bound for at least a year. This had a severe toll on her mental health. A once active and healthy lady that rarely sits down can do nothing but sit down. She fell into a pit of despair and clinical depression, which in turn had negative outcomes on her physical health. You see the pattern here? Your body is all connected. You just can’t have good mental health and bad physical health, it just doesn’t work like that. Both physical and mental need to be healthy or one is blocking the other. That’s not to say you can’t function properly without both, but if you understand the characteristics of mental health slightly more after reading this then you’ll realise that you just won’t be functioning optimally.
Last but not least, seeing the positive in most things
A lot of people tell me this is rubbish but I beg to differ. There is always a positive that can be taken from a situation no matter how bad it is. You can even train your mind to think like this most of the time. Take me for example. You could say that I have had a horrific life up until now. Used, abused and forever in debt — yet I choose not to see it that way. I choose to see an amazing journey of learning and prosperity. I’ve learned so much, done so many amazing things, and met some amazing people. It’s been an absolutely incredible journey. Being positive all the time isn’t about fake smiling through life, it’s about turning bad situations on their heads. The failed relationships I had can be seen as a massive pile of failure, but it can also be pegged as future lessons of what not to do with other people. Most people that understand the characteristics of mental health have a good try at thinking positively! It’s not easy though, takes years to master in a world that continually tells you that you are imperfect.