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Positive Mental Health

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How to look after yourself one thought at a time.

What is positive mental health?

Mental health is about more than being free of mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia etc. It is also about having a positive sense of wellbeing. Positive mental health allows us to enjoy life’s pleasures, believe in our own abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work/study productively and enjoy socialising.
Positive mental health is about reaching our potential and feeling like we always have the chance to give everything our best shot. Not just feeling positive, but also getting out there in the big bad world. Positive mental health not only prevents mental ill health, it also leads to greater enjoyment and satisfaction with one’s life.

Factors associated with positive mental health:


Happiness at Work/School

If you are content at work or school/college, this will really help to boost your mental health. You will likely feel satisfied by your accomplishments - the pats on the back for a job well done or the good grades showing evidence of your hard work. Doing well at work/school/college is also likely to lead to feelings of security. We humans love routine and a stable work/school life provides this.


Having close friends and family is very good for mental health. Having someone to chat to and socialise with is pretty essential for well-being. If you do not feel supported by your family, friends can really swoop in and be there for you. As the saying goes ‘Friends are the family you choose for yourself’.
It is important to have someone whose ear you can bend, but it is also important to have people to go out and do things with. A trip to the cinema, bowling alley or a restaurant can really be good for the soul, as well as being fun. If you feel lonely and like you don’t have many friends, perhaps taking up a sport of some kind may help. Not only will you get fit (another thumbs up when it comes to mental health), but you will meet people. Even if you don’t have many friends, realise that one or two close friends are worth more than 20 hangers on who are only good for Facebook pictures. You ARE worth it and sometimes circumstances mean that friends are hard to come by.
If you are in a situation where you are being bullied, it is important to get help. It is not YOUR fault, no matter what the bullies say. Bullies pick on people so that they can feel good about themselves and this says more about them than it does about you. You can get information and help if you are being bullied by clicking here and here.


Having enough dosh seems to be important for mental health. Firstly, because being hungry will, obviously, seriously impact your buzz. Secondly, if you are poor, you may only be able to buy cheap food low in nutritional value. Thirdly, worrying daily that the bank/landlord will knock on your door is very stressful in itself. The link between food and mood is so significant that the mental health charity, Mind, has written a guide on the link between the two.

On the other hand, many people do have enough money for healthy nutritious food, but prefer to spend it on other things such as alcohol, clothes or partying. This is a short term gain for a long term pain. Plus, you just won’t have the same energy levels as you would if you were chowing down on the good stuff!     

A budgeting service such as MABS should be able to help you budget so that you can eat well and still socialise. And remember, if you are in school or are a student, there are many discounts available.


Freedom from discrimination

Discrimination seriously impacts mood and mental health. Sadly, many groups in society are discriminated against, for reasons ranging from hair colour to skin colour to sexuality to gender. For this reason, there are various organisations in Ireland that help to support people being discriminated against. These organisations provide legal advice also, as most forms of discrimination are illegal in Ireland. You can find out more about discrimination and sources of help by clicking here.



It is always good to have an outlet for stress or even happiness. Anything from drawing to backing to making music will help release any pent up frustrations. It is also good to be able to express a full range of emotions and creative pursuits allow you to do this. If you really love your creative pursuit, you may even be able to get some cash from it!



Spirituality does not always refer to organised religion. If it makes you content, going to mass and being part of a congregation will certainly be a positive thing. However, even if you do not believe in organised religion, you may feel a sense of peace and serenity by being around nature or sitting alone meditating. Remember, spirituality means different things to different people, so find what works for you.  


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Published: Mon, 12/08/2013 - 16:59

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