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How Does Mental Health Affect Happiness?

Good mental health and happiness are intertwined as happiness depend on essential skills such as good judgment, critical-thinking, problem-solving abilities, and even daily functioning in the important domains of relationships, work, and the maintenance of physical health.  Mental health impairs general functioning, which may, in turn, decrease success in the above-mentioned important domains.  This article […]

How does Mental Health affect Happiness

Good mental health and happiness are intertwined as happiness depend on essential skills such as good judgment, critical-thinking, problem-solving abilities, and even daily functioning in the important domains of relationships, work, and the maintenance of physical health.  Mental health impairs general functioning, which may, in turn, decrease success in the above-mentioned important domains.  This article will focus on mental health and happiness, and how each may be improved.  It is essential to understand that we’re talking about mental health, we’re not just talking about the absence of mental disorders, we’re also talking about the negative effects of maladaptive behavior. 

Maintaining good mental health starts with healthy habits.  It’s important to eat a well-balanced diet, stay active, get doctor check-ups, proper brain exercises and sustain physical hygiene.  Positive social interactions is another crucial aspect of good mental health.  As human beings, it’s essential for us to have friends, to talk to others, and to have people to give us emotional support in times of need.  Gainful employment is necessary for mental health as we need to have money in order to have healthcare, a home, and other necessities like food, safety, etc. 

In addition to gainful employment, positive intimate relationships help us to feel happy.  For one to achieve happiness through gainful employment, good physical health, a social life, and intimate relationships, one needs to be able to function, and functioning may be impaired by mental illness and maladaptive behaviors, which can negate our abilities to access the things we want in life.

Mental illness is pretty straight forward, if you have a problem, then seeing a healthcare provider is an essential first step in getting treatment for that mental disorder.  Mental health problems are a lot like physical health problems, people tend to ignore the symptoms until they become unbearable.  The decision to seek help is a difficult one, but after the support is received, things generally get better.  Maladaptive behavior is another matter.  People who exhibit these behaviors may have mental health problems, but often times that’s not the case.  Maladaptive behaviors can be summed up to ineffective coping behaviors.  It’s important to understand that most people have some maladaptive coping behaviors from time to time, and if they aren’t recognized, then they can lead to mental health problems. 

Avoidant behaviors are one of the most common maladaptive coping behaviors.  People avoid situations or people which may make them uncomfortable, and this can lead to impaired functioning, which can in turn, eventually lead to mental (and sometimes physical) health problems. Also, sometimes it might cause depression. However, most of the time people ignore the signs of depression. For example, a person who feels uncomfortable about going to the gym may avoid the behavior, which leads to physical inactivity, which can then lead to health problems, and health problems can be intertwined with mental health.  Maladaptive thinking patterns are at the core of maladaptive coping behaviors.  The guy who feels uncomfortable at the gym may have maladaptive thoughts about himself, or how others perceive him, which causes the avoidant behavior. Changing these negative thinking patterns is essential to achieving success and happiness in life. 

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