Mental Wellness: A Possibility or an Ideal?
According to the Psychology Today website (psychologytoday.com), January is Mental Wellness Month. That seems like an admirable cause to bring awareness to, however, it begs the question, what the heck is mental wellness and is anyone actually mentally well? The World Health Organization defines mental wellness as, “A state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (unc.edu). That sure sounds like a lot of requirements in order to be considered mentally well. Is it possible to move in and out of mental wellness the way we do with physical wellness? Are we ever 100% physically or mentally well? I believe you would be hard-pressed to find someone who feels physically well all of the time. Our bodies are machines that must be taken care of, but even the most clean-eating, gym-going, health nut out there is going to have a headache, backache, stuffy nose, sore throat, etc. etc. etc. from time to time. Mental wellness, just like physical wellness, is not measured in black-and-white, you-have-it-or-you-don’t dimensions. It is a continuum. We are constantly moving from one end of the mental wellness spectrum to the other depending on the day, the time, the weather, or the circumstances around us. Therefore, while it is beneficial to strive for mental wellness the same way we strive for physical wellness, it is important to be realistic in thinking we should be perfectly mentally well at all times.
Maggie Futch, Intern
Lohmann, R. C. (2015). 2015 Awareness calendar, Psychology Today. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-angst/201501/2015-awareness-calendar
UNC Charlotte (2015). Mental wellness. Retrieved from: http://yourhealth.uncc.edu/mental-wellness