Building good mental health 101
Note: The goal of this page is to outline the characteristics of good mental health and to provide strategies to achieve and maintain it.
Many people experience problems with their mental health at some point in their life. These include depression, anxiety, addiction and sexual problems. Consult the mental health section of the website for information about mental health services, support and treatment.
There is no consensus for a definition of mental health. However, the World Health Organization describes it as “a state of well-being in which the person recognizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
In the past, the focus of mental health was directed towards problems such as depression and anxiety. However, there has been a shift towards a holistic approach that includes mental wellness, mental fitness and other factors that help an individual grow and flourish.
Those with good mental health are more likely to:
- cope effectively with life’s difficulties and challenges;
- perform better at school and work;
- have satisfying and lasting social relationships and intimate partnerships;
- be employed; and
- enjoy a good quality of life
Positive mental health and well-being is a combination of feeling good and functioning well. The characteristics of good mental health include:
- experiencing positive emotions, that include happiness, joy, pride, satisfaction, and love;
- having positive relationships, where there are people in your life that you care for, and who care for you;
- feeling engaged with life, where you participate in activities that bring you joy;
- finding meaning and purpose, so you feel that your life is valuable and worthwhile;
- having a sense of accomplishment, where you do things that give you a sense of achievement or competence;
- having emotional stability, where you can manage your emotions and not become overwhelmed by them;
- being resilient, where you can cope with difficult situations and the stresses of daily life;
- being optimistic, where you feel positive about your life and the future;
- having good self-esteem, where you have positive feelings about yourself; and
- having vitality and feeling energetic.
Just as there are many things you can do to enhance and protect your physical health (e.g. don't smoke, eat healthfully, get sufficient restful sleep, enjoy regular physical activity, etc.), there are many things you can do to enhance and protect your mental health.
There are many mental health programs and services that can help you in times of need. For a list of services available at Concordia and beyond, consult the mental health page.