People often ask me what it means to be mentally healthy. Previously, I have discussed things we can all do to achieve better mental health, but people want to know what it looks like when they get there. While this looks a little different for everyone, there are some common characteristics of people who are able to maintain good mental health and build resilience.
10. You wake up every day and feel grateful for something.
When you are having a bad day or a bad week, you can look around you and observe other people being happy. It can be hard, in times of suffering, to acknowledge things you appreciate. But the ability to think of at least one thing for which you are grateful on a daily basis is a sign of resilience. It is a sign that you are driven to appreciate the good things or the good relationships that you have. Acknowledging these can improve your mental health if this is a regular habit.
9. You have something that you look forward to doing or experiencing.
Maybe you have an event coming up with friends, a vacation, or something as simple as a quiet night at home watching a favorite movie. Planning something that you can look forward to and finding some contentment and enjoyment in it is a sign that you are seeking positive experiences, which can decrease anxiety and feelings of depression.
8. You let go of anger, and you do not spend time holding grudges against others who have hurt you.
While we have all had tough relationships and conflicts in our lives at some point, holding onto them can prevent us from moving on with our lives. It can lead to internalized negative emotions, such as anger, sadness, and even loneliness when it prevents us from finding other friendships or relationships. If you can successfully let go of anger and stop thinking about those who have hurt you, you are more likely to have peace in your life and achieve good mental health.
7. You enjoy the simple things in life.
People who tend to maintain good mental health can have positive experiences doing simple things, like going for a walk in nature, laughing with friends and loved ones, or listening to good music. You can appreciate every experience even if it’s not exciting or elegant.
6. You keep trying when the going gets tough.
It’s difficult to stay motivated when you’re going through tough circumstances. You may start to run out of energy and lose hope. But people who are mentally healthy can generally keep going when the going gets tough, and sometimes that even makes them more persistent.
5. You help others around you.
The mentally healthiest and most resilient people are not self-focused. Even when your own circumstances are questionable, you continue to reach out to others and provide support as best you can. Depending on what’s going on in your life, you may not be able to do big things to help others, but you are always concerned for others and try to lend a hand.
4. You take care of yourself.
Mentally healthy people care about others, but not to the extent that you no longer maintain good self-care. You make sure your own needs are met because you know this allows you to be more available to help others and to be present in your relationships.
3. You have good boundaries in your relationships.
Knowing when to say no and knowing when to give themselves some space allows people who are mentally healthy to stay that way. It’s possible to be helpful without violating your own sense of space and privacy.
2. You are not envious of what others have.
You don’t spend time comparing yourself to others or to what others have. You focus on what you want and what is within your reach.
1. You can be happy for others, even when your own life is challenging.
The capacity to be happy for others, and to let them know you are happy for them, is an important aspect of mental health. It means that you can look beyond your own struggle or pain, and you are happy for others regardless of what is going on in your own life.
Some of these characteristics may seem hard to achieve. Some of us have grown up in families where negativity, conflict, and fear are a constant fixture of life. It’s not always easy to shake those cycles and start our own new habits. Learning to reframe our thinking and be present to enjoy what’s around us are great skills to acquire as we strive for the best mental health.