The U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, considers mental health to be a major factor in the top three pillars of wellness. In a recent interview with HuffPost editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington he said, “Emotional well-being is more than the absence of a mental illness. It’s that resource within each of us which allows us to reach ever closer to our full potential, and which also enables us to be resilient in the face of adversity.” Murthy mentioned what all therapists and psychiatrists so often say, that mental health is not about taking care of an illness, it is about taking care of yourself. Health involves more than treating symptoms, it is about preventative care and nurturing healthiness.
The concept of comparing mental health to physical health is not new. Just as you treat and care for your body, you should do so your mental wellbeing. However, it is often compared to an illness, mental health as being only something that is treated but that is not true. Treating mental illnesses are a part of mental health, but are not the only aspect. The next element is feeding and nurturing your mental health as you would your body. To be your best you invest in yourself, by exercising and eating healthy, and by practicing self-care. There are many ways to practice mental self-care, and taking care of your body and nutrition are ways to improve your overall wellness.
Taking time to make mental investments can reap many benefits. Scheduling a regular mental checkup even when you aren’t feeling “ill” is something that can help catch any problems early, and help you create new and healthy skills to stay well. Even when you aren’t having a bad day, seeing a therapist or licensed professional can help you invest in your mental wellbeing and your overall health. Just like getting a message when your body is sore, using stress management skills to help ease and regenerate your mental wellness is a great way of taking care of yourself. Your mental wellness needs the care and upkeep that you give your body, invest in it today!