Nine Skills Necessary for Good Mental Health


The focus of this year’s National Mental Health Month is the mental health of young people.

The National Mental Health Association reports that one in five young people is affected by mental health problems.

Whether you are a young person or someone who cares for one, it is vital to keep in mind that mental health is far more than the genetic and neurobiological hand we are dealt. Good mental health is a combination of biology, adequate life-skills, emotional awareness, and lifestyle choices.

Nine Skills Everyone Needs for Good Mental Health

  1. Awareness, understanding, trust and management of our emotions and feelings. Our emotional intelligence has much to do with our success in life. We need to be aware of our feelings, understand that emotions and feelings give us important information about ourselves, and use this information to choose our actions wisely.
  2. Effective communication of thoughts and feelings. We cannot get our needs and wants met unless we know how to communicate them effectively. Others will never know or understand us if we cannot share our feelings and opinions.
  3. Being able to parent ourselves. When we are very young, our care givers are (hopefully) there to soothe and reassure us when life is difficult. As we grow into adulthood, we need to be the grown-up who can calm and soothe our own upset and face our problems.
  4. Being able to let go of what does not serve us. Forgiveness is about setting yourself free from hopeless expectations of justice that will likely not happen, of apologies that may never come, of getting love and support now from people who should have given it “then,” and freedom from self-regrets.
  5. The ability to manage our thought and belief content. Our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs color everything we see, including our self. By examining what we believe and choosing the type of thoughts to entertain, we can influence our emotions and our perceptions of people and the environment.
  6. Taking responsibility for our lives. Once you realize that you are responsible for your life, then you are responsible for all you think, feel, say, and do. Although it seems paradoxical, taking this responsibility makes life easier.
  7. Having adequate self-acceptance. It is unnecessary to like everything about yourself or your life to accept it. Self-acceptance is acknowledging what true about you, and recognizing that truth is what you have to work with.
  8. Understanding the dynamics of relationships. There are many falsehoods about relationships that are accepted as truths, and they get people into relationship trouble repeatedly. We all need realistic expectations to avoid unnecessary disappointments.
  9. Having enough self-discipline for good self-care. Putting perfection aside, if you do not eat nutritious foods, get adequate sleep, and stay active, you cannot expect to be healthy, mentally or otherwise.

While lifelong development is an option, people give their mental health a boost when they have a personal or spiritual philosophy or a sense of purpose that gives their life direction and meaning. Those who keep learning and develop their interests and potential further increase their chances of mind-body health.


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