Often, when we hear someone is stressed or suffering from mental health issues we recommend that they look after their wellbeing. We suggest meditation, therapy, exercise, healthy eating, if there’s a book on it, we offer it up as a solution. But what about prevention?
Though prevention is not always possible there are things that people can do to help reduce the effects of mental illness before they occur. Here is where we begin to understand the relationship between mental health and wellbeing and the importance of their coexistence.
What Is The Difference Between Mental Health And Wellbeing
Mental health is your psychology, how you are feeling on the inside, whereas wellbeing is a practice with which we can influence that psychology. Wellbeing is the attempt to minimise suffering in the knowledge that life will present us with many challenges. We can’t get rid of suffering but we can learn from it and we can learn to be with each other through it.
These days, wellbeing is an overused, and sometimes misused term. Because of this, finding one trusted definition is almost impossible. However, just because it has a few different definitions does not mean it is any less beneficial to your mental health.
The most worrisome aspect of modern wellbeing discourse is that too much responsibility is put on the individual. Instead of recognising a bad environment, we tell ourselves that with more self-care we could endure or perform better rather than trying to create conditions in the world that are less stressful. If a job or course is causing too much stress it might be that it is in fact stressful and not a lack of resilience on the individual’s part.
Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing
The more support we have in life the less the chance of developing mental illness. That doesn’t mean we can avoid distress altogether but it does allow us to have some influence on our mental states.
Promoting the benefits that wellbeing has on mental health is a sure way to support it. However, promoting it does not ensure you will prevent or cure mental illness. The idea of a cure is different within the world of mental health. If you break and arm it is clear enough what the goal of healing is, not quite so for a broken heart.
While wellbeing aims to reduce suffering we must also realise that our suffering is trying to communicate something to us or to others. Distress can often be a reasonable response to a stressful environment, especially if we have become accustomed to distress within our family of origin. It is about figuring out where the distress is coming from, and this is not easy. Of course there are also genetic and biological factors that will have a medical aspect that is outside the purview of psychotherapy.
At Alex Delogu, we specialise in building a healthy relationship with your psychology but first it is important to understand what is mental health and wellbeing. You can read about more forms of wellbeing plus stress reducing techniques on our blog; Tips On How To Improve Your Mental Health.