The Importance of Psychological Health

Psychological health is a wide umbrella term that encompasses mental, emotional and social well-being. It determines how we perceive and interpret the world around us, how we handle stress and our relationships with others. It also impacts our physical health and ability to manage chronic medical conditions. There are many factors that can impact psychological health such as illness, age, lifestyle changes, personal development, life events and community concerns. This is why there are a variety of different professionals that exist to support you through threats to your psychological health.

Achieving psychological health requires a balance of positive emotions and functioning, and involves the ability to self-regulate your emotions. This is particularly important for those with a history of trauma, which often leads to difficulties with emotion regulation, such as alexithymia (inability to identify or express your own emotions). People who are able to effectively regulate their emotions can maintain good health and prevent or reduce the severity of psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Mental health includes a person’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and enables them to live life to the fullest. People who have healthy functioning in this area can manage their emotions, are able to make decisions and take action, and feel confident in their abilities. They can form satisfying and long-lasting interpersonal relationships, show compassion for others and can accept their own weaknesses and limitations. They avoid irrational thoughts and behavior, hostility, excessive excuse making, and blame-taking.

The relationship between your mental and physical health is closely linked. Mental health influences the onset, progression and effects of physical illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. It also influences risky behaviors, such as substance misuse and inactivity, which can increase the likelihood of developing these illnesses.

Having a mental illness can decrease quality of life and lead to greater health care costs, such as hospitalization and increased use of health services. It is estimated that co-occurring mental and physical health conditions cost society more than $2 trillion annually.

It is important to note that if you are experiencing a mental health disorder, it is never too late to get help. The first step is to find a therapist or counselor who is trained in treating mental health issues and is familiar with the particular symptoms you are experiencing. Then, together you can develop a treatment plan that works for you. This can include medication, therapy and/or a combination of both. Some people also benefit from other forms of treatment such as exercise, yoga, or creative therapies like art, music and movement. In addition, some people benefit from a type of brain stimulation therapy called electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which sends electric currents to the brain to improve or even reverse troubling symptoms. A hospital or residential program may also be necessary if your symptoms are severe.