This article will unlock the similarities between mental health and physical health. Further, you will have the utmost clarity about mental health.
You would have often sympathized with your colleague who has a fracture. You would have even accepted hour-long overtime to help him relax.
How easily do you ask your pale-looking friends, Are you okay? But stop for a minute and think how often you would even think of asking about his mental health.
Maybe his pale-looking face is not due to a lack of physical fitness but depression.
The problem with today’s world is that they only care for physically visible things, like a fracture, diarrhea, fever, or asthma.
While things that are not visible such as depression, stress, anxiety, are blatantly disregarded.
You can quickly get a holiday for having a fever but not for feeling depressed.
People are ignorant or unaware of mental health problems and disorders.
Statistical data from 2017 shows that 284 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety while 264 million have depression.
Other mental health problems such as alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, eating disorders also contribute to the cause.
What is mental health?
Mental health is all about our well-being. It can be mental, physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. People may think that mental health is only about the mind, but it is more than that. Mental health affects our way of thinking, feeling, and acting in front of others.
Mental health also intervenes with our ability to deal with stress, make choices, and have relations with others.
In all walks of life, mental health plays a vital role from childhood to adolescence up until adulthood and even further.
Many factors can be responsible for the decline of our mental health:
- Emotional trauma
- Family history of mental health problems
- Bad life experience
- Impaired brain chemistry
- Upbringing in problematic household
Mental health problems are widespread in society today. The positive outlook is that you can make a full recovery with proper treatment in time.
Remember to get help if you or someone you know is suffering mental discomfort.
Check out this article that busts some common myths about mental health problems.
What is physical health?
Traditionally, physical fitness was all about being disease-free. If you were not attacked by some serious illness, you were considered healthy.
But modern science and medical innovations have redefined physical health.
Today, physical health is more than just the absence of disease in the body.
It also considers significant aspects such as physical fitness, immunity, flexibility, and food intake.
Physical health is a package that includes physical activities, nutrition & diet, medical injuries, sleep structure, and abstinence from drugs and alcohol addiction.
The World Health Organization said that health is the complete well-being of a person’s social, physical, mental abilities, and not just the mere absence of disease.
This definition of physical health shares similarities with the mental health definition. That is because mental health and physical health are closely connected to each other.
A person with a good, high-paying job is less likely to be stressed about his financial security, reducing stress. Low-stress levels help to amplify mental health as well as physical wellness.
Similarities between mental health and physical health
Our mind and body are separate entities, and both play a vital role in our well-being.
Though different, our mental health and physical health are closely linked together. Physical fitness, in turn, affects your mental wellness and vice-versa.
My friend says the above-given explanation of mental health and physical health is very complex. I will simplify it and explain the concept with an example if you feel the same.
Because mental health and physical health are very closely interrelated, let us first study who is deemed physically fit to understand mental fitness.
A person with extreme strength, impressive stamina, and continuous endurance is physically healthy.
Further strong muscle and overall body structure also contribute to fitness. Physical fitness also includes a disease-free body and strong immunity.
While mental ability is calculated with the potential of thinking muscles. This muscle strengthens or weakens when you face life problems.
Go through the example to understand better
Let us take an example of a porter carrying luggage of 20 kilos. Understand this example and its relevance to mental health and physical health.
The porter carrying luggage of 20 kilos feels his arms cramp as soon as he tries to pick up the bags.
He knows he will need a lot of effort to carry the luggage. Hence, the porter gives up the idea of moving the luggage. Here we can conclude that his physics is weak.
Now, change the perspective to mental health. When faced with a life problem (carrying luggage), the porter gave up easily. He chose the flight mode.
This symbolized his weak thinking muscle and mental ability. Hence, we conclude he is also mentally weak.
Another porter picks up the luggage of 20 kilos. He put in a lot of effort, used his mind, and found a solution to carrying the luggage. Here, we may say that this porter is better than the first one, but not the best.
From a mental health perspective, this porter may have better cognitive ability than the 1st one, but he is not the most mentally stable person in the room.
His thinking muscles are developed but not that much. This is because he has to put in a lot of effort to pick up the baggage.
A porter is seen picking up the luggage of 20 kilos with ease. He effortlessly found the solution to the big problem of carrying heavy bags.
He lifts the bag so efficiently that people start to believe it is a light suitcase. But the truth is the porter is physically fit to carry the luggage.
The mental health perspective says the porter was ready to solve any life problems with ease. His effortless and prompt problem-solving ability suggests he has strong thinking muscles.
The luggage was not light, but the person carrying it was powerful. He was mentally healthy.
In a major life-crisis situation such as a business going bankrupt, type 1 will sit crying about his losses and would probably blame everyone else for the loss.
The 2nd type would start blaming others for some time. Then, that person will renew his efforts and get a good-paying job to solve his problems and repay his loans.
The 3rd type will effortlessly work on the loss-making business and make it profitable with hard work. This person knows that blaming someone is not going to take him anywhere.
In the above example, the 3rd type is the most mentally stable. This person turned a major life crisis into an effortless and straightforward solution by continuously working towards his goals.
This is what mentally strong personalities do. No matter how big the problem, there are always solutions available.
But to get to the solution, you have to stretch your thinking muscle in the right direction.
Thinking in the right direction helps you get a solution-oriented approach. While searching for solutions in the wrong direction leads to problem-oriented results.
Problem-oriented vs. solution-oriented approach
Mental health and physical health play a significant role in solving a problem.
There are basic 2 categories of people:
1st category: People who make simple problems complicated
2nd category: People who make complex problems simple
1. Victim mentality
Mentally weak people sometimes have a victim mentality. This mentality makes a person believe that he lacks somewhere and all problems are because of him.
This psyche is not good for your mental health and your physical health. So stay away from this mentality.
2. Pointing mentality
The second mentality is the pointing mentality, in which a person assumes that he is always right. Whatever the problem is, it is because of the other person.
This pointing mentality will lead to more problems, and hence it is not good for your mental peace.
In a relationship, where there are so many problems, having a victim mentality may lead to low self-esteem and a perception of not being good enough for his partner. This may lead to partners taking advantage.
While pointing mentality points fingers at partners, leading to severe problems in relationships which can further escalate to breakups. This mentality always assumes the mistakes of others without any introspection.
Here, both approaches are problem-oriented. No solution would be concluded. Even if the solution is found, it would be temporary because the root cause of the problem is not taken into consideration.
How a mentally strong person finds a permanent solution
When there is a clash in a relationship, we often say that both parties should understand each other.
This is a problem-oriented approach because no one understands anything and a small fight escalates into something massive.
A mentally strong person would always go for a solution-oriented approach. He will think, what can I do to help solve the fight or issue.
His mentality would be of understanding another person. He will introspect and find the root cause of the fight. He will reduce any triggers and stop saying things that trigger other people.
A mentally strong person will try to change his behavior and actions.
A couple fights every day because the husband always puts a wet towel on the bed after a bath. It stays there the whole day, and when the wife comes back from work, she finds the bed soaked with the towel in the evening.
- The wife tells the husband to pick up the wet towel and asks him to put it in the dryer.
- The husband forgets to do so for various reasons, such as laziness, lack of time, etc. And the cycle of fights continues.
- The husband knows that his wife doesn’t like wet towels on the bed, and hence, after the bath, he immediately puts it in the dryer.
- The wife knows his husband forgets to put the towel in the dryer, and hence, if he forgets, she puts it in the dryer.
A simple problem could become complex, and the couple could have even divorced with a problem-oriented approach. The solution-oriented approach found a solution and ensured mental peace.
To conclude, mental health and physical health play a vital role in uplifting one’s life. Though they seem very different, mental health and physical health are very closely connected to each other. The mentally stable person who perceives health as a major factor in life will receive peace and everyone’s respect in society.
A person may look healthy to you physically, but he may be fighting various mental illnesses.
People generally do not want to open up about such things as they don’t want to be seen as weak.
Though society is slowly opening up and becoming aware of mental health, it still has a long way to go.
So next time when you meet your friends, inquire about their mental health along with their physical health.
You never know; asking 1 small question can help stop damaging consequences.