The Benefits of Improving Mental Health
Which comes first: mental health or mental illness? Are these concepts interchangeable, on a spectrum, static or ever-evolving? Here at Reframe, we believe that just because someone is not presently struggling with mental illness does not mean that that person is mentally well—there are so many more components of mental wellness than simply the absence (or management) of mental illness. Think of it as a broad spectrum of care for our mental wellness.
In truth, there’s no one single action that yields a mentally well human being. No miracle drug, no one meditation, no single good night’s rest—we don’t simply snap our fingers or do the “right” thing and are suddenly, forever, mentally well. Instead, mental wellness requires a consistent, steady practice of the multitude of things required to keep us even, content, and fulfilled. In many ways, mental wellness can be thought of in similar ways as the “internal body battery” that we discussed as we took a look at decision fatigue: a resource that must continuously be attended to and rejuvenated in order to operate at its peak.
If you’ve ever struggled with mental health, then you most certainly don’t need me to explain all of the benefits of having supportive mental wellness; you’ve experienced the real life consequences of feeling off kilter, depressed, anxious, or erratic. I come to you with my own lived experiences of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), so I know firsthand what I gain by taking attentive care of my mental health.
But to illuminate this point, we know that improving our mental health yields a host of mental and physical benefits to our wellbeing. (For simplicity sake, we’ll use the term “mental wellness” to describe well cared, healthful mental health, and “mental unwellness” to describe the opposite. Yes, that is a word—check Merriam-Webster if you don’t believe me!)