Improving Mental Health – What You Can Do

Somewhere in your life’s journey you will focus thoughts on improving mental health. This is particularly true as we grow older and “things seem to slow down”. So what do we mean by “mental health”? For many years the subject of mental health was divided into two broad categories; normal and abnormal. Science has identified various degrees of abnormal where most are labeled “disorders”. The corollary would be that there are various degrees of normal where some people may just be “slower” than others. I still smile when recalling a cowboy song by Waylon Jennings where he sings, “I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane”.

The healthy mind possesses cognitive skills in varying degrees such as memory, awareness, analytical ability, problem solving and eye-hand coordination, all of which can usually be improved in most people. These are some of the areas where we can improve our mental health.

On the other side of the ledger mental dysfunctions and disorders should be handled by members of the professional community. To give you an idea of the scope of disorders they deal with, 1Wikipedia lists 190 mental disorders.

When we look at the possible causes of mental disorders there may be opportunities for us to take action to improve or even forestall a mental health issue.

Causes: Science has yet to identify the exact causes of most mental disorders, but research indicates that many disorders may be caused by a combination of three factors; biological, psychological and environmental.

Biological factors include:

  • Chemical imbalance; an abnormal balance of neurotransmitters in the brain make it difficult for the nerve cells to communicate correctly.
  • Genetics; mental disorders in the family can pass on the susceptibility for same down through generations.
  • Brain defects or trauma; there is a relationship to some mental disorders and defects or trauma in certain areas of the brain.
  • Infections; certain infections have been linked to brain damage and the development of mental disorders, particularly in children.
  • Substance abuse; long term substance abuse has been linked to various mental disorders.
  • Toxins; exposure to toxins may cause poor mental health.
  • Nutrition; poor nutrition has been linked to poor mental health.

Psychological factors:

  • Psychological trauma during childhood
  • Death of a parent or close relative
  • Difficulty relating to other people
  • Neglect

Environmental factors:

  • Stress caused by a death or separation
  • Low self esteem
  • Relocation, job or school
  • Peer pressure, expectations
  • Substance abuse, self or close relative
  • A dysfunctional family life

The purpose of this website is to offer a basic understanding of mental health issues and what you may be able to do to improve your mental health.

1List of Mental Disorders

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