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Man and His Mental Well-Being

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Man and His Mental Well-Being

By- Jyotsna Thangjam
Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, shaping our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It plays a pivotal role in how we manage stress, connect with others, and make informed decisions. Integral to every stage of an individual’s life, mental health is paramount for overall well-being.
Depression, a prevalent mental health disorder, adversely affects mood, cognition, and behavior, elevating the risk for various physical ailments, notably heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. The interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors significantly influences mental health. Recent research underscores a robust correlation between genetics and mental well-being, with specific gene variations associated with conditions like depression and anxiety.
Nurturing during childhood profoundly impacts an individual’s mental and physical well-being in adulthood. Parents can foster this by cultivating close relationships, encouraging social connections, instilling healthy habits, and creating a nurturing home environment rather than merely a dwelling. Ioannis Katsantonis, a researcher at the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education, demonstrated that childhood nurturing not only shields against mental health challenges but also fosters prosocial behaviour in children.
Lifestyle choices significantly shape mental well-being. Individuals who have endured discrimination, abuse, trauma, isolation, or loneliness may experience compromised emotional and psychological health. Recent studies indicate that trauma correlates with elevated rates of psychiatric disorders and diminished functional outcomes. Victims of abuse often exhibit higher rates of depression and anxiety, with some developing suicidal ideation due to emotional anguish.
Environmental factors also influence human behaviour. Psychologist Stokols categorises the human-environment relationship into minimalist, instrumental, and spiritual perspectives, highlighting how our surroundings affect perception, emotions, lifestyle, and attitudes.
Mental illness encompasses a diverse range of conditions affecting emotions, behaviour, and cognition. These conditions include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Traits influenced by emotions can be categorised as physiological (physical health, vulnerabilities), psychological (mental health, temperament, self-concept), and cultural (cultural definitions, expected response styles), shaped by personal, physical, and social experiences.
Signs of compromised mental health include profound fatigue, low energy, sleep disturbances, detachment from reality, hallucinations, inability to cope with stress, and cognitive challenges. Diagnostic procedures often involve physical examinations, laboratory tests to assess thyroid function or substance use, and psychological evaluations. Depression, affecting an estimated 300 million people, disproportionately impacts women.
Emotional well-being fosters productivity and efficacy in work, education, and care giving roles. A stable mental state in parents is pivotal for child health, while mental wellness bolsters interpersonal relationships and facilitates adaptability to life changes. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans grapples with mental health issues annually, underscoring the significance of mental health parity with physical health.
In today’s era of escalating work demands and pervasive social media usage—potentially detrimental to mental health—promoting mental well-being is imperative. Simple activities can enhance mental wellness, such as embracing new hobbies, reconnecting with childhood joys, spending time in nature, and prioritising sleep.
For those seeking professional intervention, psychotherapy offers diagnosis and tailored treatments for specific disorders. Good health and well-being are quintessential to our happiness and quality of life. Optimal health, encompassing both physical and mental dimensions, empowers us to lead fulfilling lives, engage in meaningful activities, and support our loved ones—ultimately hinging on robust mental health.
(The writer is an ex-student of Herbert School Changangei)

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