Mental health is so bound up with physical well-being as to be virtually inseparable. Yet it also depends on a host of factors which many people can find difficult to control.
At a very basic level in life, we need food and water, an environment neither too warm not too cold and the ability to sleep enough in order to recharge our batteries.
Beyond this, we need to be safe from any risk of danger, while working or otherwise going about our daily lives.
The third essential component of basic needs is of course the feeling of being loved, by family, friends and a partner.
With all these in place, we can feel sufficiently confident to make our mark on the world. We can have ambitions at work, or we can do our jobs to earn enough money to accomplish the things we really love in our free time.
Real happiness – or even just a feeling of well-being – comes when we begin to find this self-fulfilment. It could be through having a family, or being an excellent colleague, or playing in a band.
But take away one of the key basic needs, and you run the risk of feeling depressed, or experiencing mind-numbing stress.
Even when the key elements of life seem to be in place, you always need to question them. Is that food good for my health? Will giving up coffee help me sleep better? Do I really need to work in such a dismal environment?
So, if you wish to improve your mental health, I would suggest three things:
1. Get to know your inner-self better: spend time learning what is behind your dreams and desires, ask yourself the right questions about your past and future.
2. Do something with others: maybe a team sport, or a hobby such as sewing or painting. Find your talents and get appreciated.
3. Exercise your physical self: walk to work, ride a bike, do a run every Saturday, take a swimming course. A good body will support a healthy mind.