Mental health is a term thrown around a lot these days, especially in pop psychology books. Simply put, someone with good mental health is considered stable which means they have little or no signs of any mental disorders, are able to adequately express emotions, and are able to cope with stress and contribute to society.
Our mental health is usually under attack during times of stress. This can lead to depression or anxiety if not handled properly. The best and easiest steps usually prescribed to deal with stress are to talk to friends and family about it, take some time to relax, and to exercise. If you don’t make sure to be vigilant about taking care of yourself during a situation that may be causing you stress, it can lead to negative thought patterns. A negative thought pattern is a way of thinking that negatively affects your way of life and how you think about things.
For example, if you are in an interview and stressing about it, you may begin to think “I don’t think this interviewer likes me. He must be thinking right now about how ridiculous I am.” While this may seem like a fairly innocent thought, if you do it enough it can become a pattern and part of your life that can drag you down.
Negative thought patterns are hard to recognize sometimes; when you are used to thinking a certain way, you forget to question it. The best way to keep your mental health in balance is to talk to a trained professional about what problems you are having. They will be able to help you realize what, if any, errors of logic you are having in your brain that might be causing you anxiety and stress. It will take work and effort to break yourself free of your cycle of self-doubt, but you will be able to do it with patience and with the help of those you care about. Once you know that you are making errors in thinking you can recognize what triggers them, and begin to coach yourself back into mental health!