We often have a hard time understanding why Mental Health Hygiene is just as important – if not more so – than physical hygiene. When we can’t see the damage that our neglect is causing – unlike the damage of physical neglect such as cavities, dirty fingernails, etc. – it’s a lot easier to pretend it doesn’t exist.
But the truth is, your mental health is one of the most important aspects of your wellbeing. Your mental health affects every aspect of your life – from your education to your finances to your closest relationships. All these things suffer if your mental health suffers.
Today, we’re going to look at the importance of Mental Health Hygiene, and how healthy habits can benefit your life.
The Effects of Poor Mental Health Hygiene
Dr. Anne Marie Oberheu explains that the effects of poor mental health can be far-reaching and underestimated, “…poor mental health can affect your ability to make healthy decisions and fight off chronic diseases. What’s more, neglecting your mental health can lead to more serious health complications such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Gastronomical problems
- Premature death
Depression alone can cause chronic fatigue, insomnia and increased sensitivity to aches and pains due to abnormal function of neurotransmitters in the brain“.
Maintaining good Mental Health Hygiene is more than getting enough sleep and taking time off – it works to support and protect your physical and mental wellbeing.
Benefits of Strong Mental Health Hygiene
It’s hard to think of a single facet of our lives that isn’t improved by creating healthy mental hygiene practices.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) explains, “Just as physical fitness helps our bodies to stay strong, mental fitness helps us to achieve and sustain a state of good mental health. When we are mentally healthy, we enjoy our life and environment, and the people in it. We can be creative, learn, try new things, and take risks. We are better able to cope with difficult times in our personal and professional lives. We feel the sadness and anger that can come with the death of a loved one, a job loss or relationship problems and other difficult events, but in time, we are able to get on with and enjoy our lives once again.”
The CMHA also reminds us that mental health can translate into physical health, too. Being able to properly manage and reduce stress, for example, can help reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, and we’re feeling mentally healthy we are more likely to engage in social activities and exercise.
Understanding and practicing strong Mental Health Hygiene practices is an essential component of a healthy mind and a strong body. Make these habits a part of your daily routine, set regular times to check in and evaluate your mental health, and don’t be shy to speak up and ask for help if you need it. You’re worth it!