Our mental health can be described as what our brain needs to keep it running smoothly so that our physical and emotional needs will also be met so that we can be healthy. Mental health is the emotional and spiritual resilience which allows us to survive pain and still enjoy life. It emphasizes social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities and can be defined as a positive sense of well being rather than the opposite of mental illness. Our mental health influences how we think and feel about ourselves, about our future and about others and how we interpret events. It affects our capacity to learn and communicate as well as sustain relationships. Mental health influences our ability to cope with change, transition and life events. Knowing the “triggers” that may alter your mental health will help your body cope with situations as they happen. This proactive step can help sustain a positive mentality before it causes physical ailments. According to a recent government survey, nearly half of all Americans used mind-body medicine interventions such as deep breathing relaxation, meditation and guided imagery. Wellness centers, hospitals and luxury spas are giving more emphasis to mind-body clinics and presenting ways to reduce stress through such things as yoga classes and healthy eating seminars. These healthy mind-body connections are gaining respect as an antidote for everything from type A stress to chronic pain, depression, heart disease, compromised immune function, infertility and overeating, as well as improving side effects of cancer treatment.
Researchers have confirmed the negative health effects of depression and hostility. There is mounting evidence that suggests that positive emotional experiences can improve our physical health and lay an important foundation for better and quicker healing responses. Researchers at UCLA have found that optimism is associated with stronger immune cell function. Harvard researchers found that deep relaxation, as achieved by yoga or deep breathing exercises, can help counter the effects of chronic stress. Relaxation exercises and stress management have also been found to be an important factor in blood glucose control for individuals with Type II diabetes.