Whether we like it or not, we live in some of the most stressful times of the past couple of decades. Factors such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the imminent financial crisis and the war in Ukraine have taken a toll on our mental health, making us feel anxious and uneasy. Furthermore, we are having these feeling more and more often, especially as we are facing new challenges every day.
But how can we know if we’re mentally ok?
According to Carla Shuman, Ph. D. and owner of a private practice that provides mental health services, there are some key indicators that we are in a good mental state. While being mentally healthy can mean different things to each one of us, there are some characteristics that are common for most people.
Feeling grateful for something every day
When things don’t quite go our way, it’s easy to fall in the trap of complaining about everything. However, finding the strength to feel grateful for something, even when all’s not great, it a sign of good mental health.
You look forward to things
Whether it’s a party with friends, a trip with your family, or even a casual dinner with your partner, is a good sign that you enjoy and look forward to having good experiences.
You don’t hold grudges
Dwelling on negative emotions or experiences for too long can affect our present-day lives, making us unable to enjoy the moment. Therefore, leaving the past in the past and appreciating life as it happens is a good mental health indicator.
You find joy in simple things
Learning to appreciate everyday situations and moments can bring infinite satisfaction and joy to your life. Therefore, being able to feel grateful for doing simple things shows that you are mentally balanced and mature.
You don’t give up at the first obstacle
According to Shuman, “people who are mentally healthy can generally keep going when the going gets tough, and sometimes that even makes them more persistent.”
You help other people
People who are mentally strong are also inclined to provide support for others whenever they can.
You take care of yourself
Self-care is extremely important for maintaining good mental health. And since mentally strong people try to help others, they also try to take care of themselves and do what they need to feel balanced.
You set boundaries
In order to be mentally healthy, it is important to know your boundaries. And part of the process is knowing when to take a step back and say no.
You don’t envy other people
A sign of mental health is knowing that you are a unique person, with particular needs and not comparing yourself to others.
You can genuinely feel happy for others
The ability to be happy for others and showing it is a strong indicator of good mental health. Doing so when you are dealing with difficulties in your life is an even stronger sign that you are mentally very well.
It’s not necessary to tick all the boxes, and especially not all at once. But displaying some of the characteristics described above may help you do a preliminary assessment of where you’re at mentally.
At the same time, acknowledging that you have difficulties with some of these aspects is a first step toward working on them and improving your mental health. Whether you do it on your own or you seek specialized support, maintaining your mental health is a work in progress that lasts your entire life. But, as Shuman concludes, “learning to reframe our thinking and be present to enjoy what’s around us are great skills to acquire as we strive for the best mental health.”