Psychological wellbeing, what about a mental health MOT ?

You take care of your physical health – but what about your emotional and mental health? Are you taking the right steps to psychological wellbeing?

What is psychological wellbeing?

Mental well-being relates to a person’s psychological functioning, life-satisfaction and ability to develop and maintain mutually benefiting relationships. Psychological well- being includes the ability to maintain a sense of autonomy, self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose in life and self-esteem. Staying mentally healthy is more than treating or preventing mental illness.

Mental illness is a term to encompass mental disorders – these are illnesses which affect mood, affect and the ability to function effectively and appropriately.

Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale Guide

Happiness and psychological wellbeing are not the same thing. Of course happiness can be a part of your wellbeing but it’s not measurable, or is it something many of us are honest about. We might say we are happy because we want to fit in, society says we “should be’ or because secretly we aren’t even really sure what happiness is in the first place! Psychological Wellbeing is about how well you are functioning, another word for wellbeing would be resilience. I believe that you can have good mental wellbeing regardless of your mood, and even if you are feeling sad.

So how does this fit with you? Modern life comes with unexpected challenges that can throw us off track, or we can be so busy trying to achieve and keep up with those around us, we lose perspective. We suspect we could feel better, but we don’t know where to start, or how to do this and we need reliable advice.

The NHS have given five evidence-based steps to wellbeing, these are:

  • Connect: Good relationships are important for your mental health they build a sense of belonging and self-worth.
  • Be active: Not only great for your physical fitness but great for raising your self-esteem, and causing chemicals in your brain to be release that can enhance your mood. In fact your physical health might be better along with your mental health — studies show that if we maintain wellbeing factors in our lives, we get sick less often, and even live longer.
  • Keep learning: This can boost your self-confidence and build on a sense of purpose
  • Give to others: Acts of kindness can help to create positive feeling, a sense of reward and connect with other people.
  • Be mindful: Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you

In other words, if you look after your mental health, the stronger your psychological well-being will be. This means the less chance of developing stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

So you have tried all of the tips above but what else what can we do to help ourselves before crisis point is reached?

I believe prevention is better than cure!

It’s an old proverb and one that we are now beginning to apply to mental health. In the same way we benefit from a physical check-up sometimes it’s our mental health that requires attention. So even if you consider yourself to be functioning well what can those of us who are fortunate enough to enjoy good (or even just ok) mental health do to maintain it? What steps can we take to ‘check in’ and improve how we’re thinking and feeling?

It might help to seek some further support to help you see the ‘wood for the trees’. Counselling or a mental health MOT can help you create a picture of where you are and how you are feeling about the aspects of your life by identify issues, and support you in making goals for wellbeing and then help you achieve them.

I am always talking about self-care and how important it is, maybe today it could be about putting your mental health first!