The Characteristics of Good Mental Health

What does it mean to function well in life? What does it mean to have good mental health? It means we exhibit the following traits:

  1. Feeling good about ourselves; accepting that we have both strengths and weaknesses. Understanding that change takes time, and being patient with ourselves. 
  2. Being able to effectively manage our emotions so we’re not controlled or overwhelmed by them (Feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, rage, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, and so on).
  3. Being able to form and enjoy stable, healthy, boundaried and meaningful relationships.
  4. Feeling at ease in the company of others.
  5. Not taking life too seriously; being able to laugh at ourselves.
  6. Respecting ourself, our values, beliefs, attitudes, choices and decisions. Also, respecting others and their right to think, choose, decide and act for themselves.
  7. Being able to accept, and to cope with, disappointment. This includes being able to adapt and compromise when this is healthy and appropriate.
  8. Being able to cope with life’s pressures and demands, and managing the problems we encounter in life.
  9. Being able to think, and decide, for ourselves. Not allowing others to define who we are.  
  10. Being able to influence our world for good, and leaving behind a strong legacy.

These are qualities and traits which develop gradually. They come from experiencing both good and bad in life, and learning what’s important, and what’s a waste of time. They speak of small decisions to press on and persevere, to forgive ourselves and others, to be more compassionate, and to overlook the small stuff, and to focus on the good. 

12 thoughts on “The Characteristics of Good Mental Health

  1. Number 9 is a big one for me. As a middle child, it’s easy for me to conform to the most forceful voice in the room.
    To counter act this tendency, I collect quotes that remind me to find a better path. Here’s one of my favorites, by General Alexander Haig, who was also US Secretary of State in the early 1980s:

    “Make of your life an affirmation, defined by your ideals, not the negation of others.”

    Liked by 1 person

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