Mental health - the condition of being sound mentally and emotionally that is characterized by the absence of mental illness and by adequate adjustment especially as reflected in feeling comfortable about oneself, positive feelings about others, and the ability to meet the demands of daily life.
Mental wellness is not in the dictionary, so here’s the definition for wellness:
Wellness - the quality or state of being in good health especially as an actively sought goal.
When I read that distinction between the two terms, here’s the words that come to mind for each:
Mental health - aware of the past and the present, open to potential but somewhat unclear, getting by, passive
Mental wellness - aware of the past, the present and the future, acceptance, purpose, determination, driven, active
Do you see the commonality there? Awareness is key to any kind of change you would like to make in your life. It’s absolutely step one. And right now, awareness of mental health and wellness issues is at a critical tipping point. We are ALL struggling to one degree or another, let’s be honest. And you know what? It's ok. In fact, it's more than ok, it's expected. Congratulations, you're normal.
Let’s open up the dialogue - erase the stigma. Let’s lift each other up and make it a goal to aspire not just to a state of positive mental health, but instead into a state of positive mental wellness!
Acknowledge where you are, where you’ve been and where you want to go!
I’d like to be a part of the solution. I'll start the dialogue...
I have struggled with my mental health over the years, and certainly over this past year. Anxiety and depression have plagued me on and off many times in my (nearly) five decades on this Earth. I’ve taken medication that has saved my sanity at times. I’ve had the benefit of partnering with excellent therapists over the years that allowed me to process what was in my head. And as a huge proponent of natural remedies, I have also worked with a naturopath for nearly two decades.
As a continuous student of personal growth and development, I find these things to be an integral part of my story. A story that I hope allows others to feel that they are not alone, and that there is light and hope at the end of the tunnel.
It’s a continuous journey for me, for all of us. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns either, sometimes it’s a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and Netflix! (Just me?) But...it’s possible. Possible with people who see you and hear you...and who are willing to not only walk by your side, but maybe even a step or two ahead of you as a way to open your mind. Not to tell you what to do, but rather to ask the tough questions to get you to make the right decisions for YOU.