May 052010

Mental health is a very tricky field of study. A person may not be suffering from any kind of mental disease, yet he may indulge in mad and wild behavior. In other words a person may be insane without any trace of mental disease. So, how to discuss the term ‘mental health’?

A recent approach that has got wide credence in medical circles regarding mental health is the concept of ‘wellness’.  A person who possesses a felling of wellness about his life and endeavors can be called the one having good mental health. Such a person is also thought to fight stresses of life firmly without allowing them to have a negative effect on his physical and mental health. A person who has the above characteristics is almost always a productive and useful member of any society.

Another concept that is accepted in relation to mental health is the absence of any kind of ‘mental disorder’. Now what does this mean? Let’s take an example. A person is obsessed with the latest electronic gadgets. But he does not let this obsession take over his mind and thus does not suffer from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Thus, he can be called a mentally healthy person in spite of his craze for latest gadgets.

A person who is mentally healthy is keen to live life to the fullest and keeps on trying to find happiness in even very adverse circumstances. He takes full responsibility of his sorrows and happiness and has a strong adapting capacity. He is able to create a balance between emotions and the demands of life.

A word of caution here. Mental health also varies from culture to culture and society to society. Sacrificing animals may be a pervert activity for you but it may be a highly religious activity for someone else. Similarly, cannibalism is considered to be perfectly okay in some tribes/sects whereas most of the human race considers it to be insane.

A person may lose mental health because of a number of reasons. These reasons can be genetic, emotional/physical/mental abuse, alcohol/drug abuse and social/emotional reasons like insolvency, blemishing of one’s character in public, failure in love etc. Though genetic and medical factors are beyond our control, a common man should try to adapt himself to the ups and downs of life. Belief in God/religion goes a long way in helping a person preserve his mental health.

A person who has great faith in the divine power does not allow failures, letdowns in life and adverse circumstances to overpower him. He thinks that all these are the will of God or a kind test that he has to pass through. Not only this, he also develops the power to fight with the odds of life through his faith. Similarly, Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation and inner reflection also help a person maintain good mental health.