Mental health affects every aspect of our lives. From how we think, feel and act, to how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices, our mental health influences our daily experiences. Yet, despite its central role, mental health is often overlooked and underprioritized compared to physical health. Just as we make an effort to eat well, exercise, and get sufficient sleep to maintain physical health, nurturing mental health requires active care and attention. When we face setbacks, stress, or emotional difficulties, it’s tempting to power through and think we’re strong enough to handle it. But just like an injury to the body needs care to heal properly, difficult thoughts and feelings that aren’t addressed can compound over time. Taking steps to get support can help prevent small issues from spiralling into larger ones. Mental health affects everything from productivity at work, to relationships with loved ones, to overall life satisfaction. Making mental health a priority isn’t a luxury or an act of self-indulgence – it’s a key component of overall health.

Just as regular doctor’s appointments, healthy eating habits, and physical activity help us take care of our bodies, looking after mental health requires its own set of tools. From stress management techniques to building a support system, numerous strategies exist to care for our minds. Taking time for self-care is not selfish – it’s an act of self-love that allows us to function at our best. Read on to learn why mental health matters just as much as physical health, and simple ways to start prioritizing it.


Mental health does not exist in a vacuum – it converges with nearly every aspect of life. From how we function at work to how we interact in relationships; our state of mind has wide-ranging impacts. Here are some key areas where mental health makes a difference:

  • Energy and Concentration: When we’re mentally unwell, even small tasks can feel draining. Stress, anxiety, and sadness sap energy and make it hard to focus on work. Good mental health, on the other hand, provides us with resilience to tackle challenges.
  • Decision-Making: Mental health affects both impulsiveness and judgment. When we’re feeling emotionally off-balance, we’re more likely to make reckless choices based on impulse rather than logic. Mentally well people have an easier time making thoughtful decisions.
  • Careers: Mental illness is one of the top causes of worker absence. Numerous studies demonstrate that poor mental health decreases productivity and engagement at work. On the other hand, mentally healthy workforces demonstrate higher motivation and performance.
  • Relationships: Our ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships depends heavily on mental health. Symptoms like constant irritability or emotional withdrawal can strain even the closest bonds. Healthy communication and intimacy rely on our mental wellbeing.
  • Physical Health: Mental and physical health interact closely. Chronic stress weakens the immune system and can lead to a myriad of issues like high blood pressure and digestive conditions. Taking care of mental health helps the body stay strong too.
  • Life Satisfaction: Perhaps most importantly, mental health affects overall life satisfaction and happiness. Feeling constantly overwhelmed or dealing with traumatic experiences understandably dampens our sense of wellbeing. Taking steps to care for mental health provides tools to foster inner peace and contentment.

Overall, making mental health a priority benefits nearly every dimension of life. Just like eating nourishing foods provides us energy for an active lifestyle, tending to our emotional and psychological needs empowers us to live our best lives. The mind and body are integrally connected – caring for both is essential.


Taking care of mental health doesn’t require dramatic gestures. Though seeking help from a therapist or counsellor is very beneficial for many people, numerous small steps can also make a difference. Here are some uncomplicated habits to nurture mental wellbeing every day:

  • Stress Management Techniques: From deep breathing to mindfulness meditation, stress management skills help calm the mind and body. Carving out even a few minutes per day for these practices can boost resilience.
  • Get Quality Sleep: Lack of sufficient sleep exacerbates stress, clouded thinking, and emotional instability. Following sleep hygiene habits like limiting electronics before bed helps ensure restful sleep.
  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity naturally boosts mood and mental acuity by releasing endorphins and other neurotransmitters. Aerobic exercise is especially great for alleviating anxiety and clearing the mind.
  • Maintain Support Systems: Whether it’s family, friends, spiritual community or support groups, feeling socially connected is key to mental health. Make time each week to nurture relationships.
  • Engage in Enjoyable Activities: When life feels stressful and bleak, it’s important to make time for fun and relaxation. Laughter and play stimulate the body’s natural relaxation response.
  • Practice Gratitude: Taking moments to reflect on people and things we’re grateful for cultivates positive emotions and decreases brooding. Keeping a gratitude journal or sharing thanks with loved ones strengthens this mindset.
  • Seek Help When Needed: For some mental health conditions like depression or PTSD, professional help is often needed. If symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to see a therapist or doctor. Help is always available.

The most effective and sustainable mental health practices are those that can weave into daily routines. Even small steps to regularly care for the mind and spirit can make a big difference long-term. Just like regular exercise or nutritious meals become healthy habits, taking time for mental self-care can transform into a valued ritual.


Despite increased awareness and acceptance regarding mental illness, a troubling stigma remains. Debilitating symptoms from conditions like depression or anxiety are still sometimes viewed as “just being dramatic” or something that can be willed away. Minimizing or dismissing mental illness often further discourages people from seeking help. Other times, well-meaning friends or family encourage those struggling to “just be positive” or “try harder,” without realizing the brain changes underlying many mental health conditions.

Mental illnesses are complex conditions rooted in genetics, brain physiology, and environmental influences. They cannot be overcome solely by inner strength or sheer effort. Simply “thinking positive” fails to address the biological underpinnings of most mental health conditions. Mental illnesses also cannot be cured overnight – effective treatment often involves both therapy and medication over an extended period. Still, with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, mental health conditions can enter long-term remission. Eliminating stigma requires choosing compassion over judgment and understanding over criticism when interacting with those facing mental health challenges. If friends or family are struggling, offer to help connect them to a professional rather than present clichéd advice. For those dealing with mental illness themselves, give yourself permission to make health your number one priority, and seek any support needed. There is no shame in facing mental health difficulties. Given the right support and resources, most people can effectively manage symptoms and live full, vibrant lives. Overall, society must move away from dismissing mental illnesses as temporary setbacks or personal shortcomings. Like diabetes or cancer, mental illness arises from physiological causes, not personal weakness. Compassion and understanding are vital steps to help erase stigma.


Though mental health issues are extremely prevalent worldwide, mental health services receive significantly less funding and attention than physical health. For instance, in the U.S., expenditures related to mental health treatment make up only around 5% of total healthcare spending, even though mental illness affects tens of millions of Americans. Lack of access due to underfunded services keeps many people from getting needed care. Without sufficient budgeting for mental health resources, conditions escalate to crisis points that could have been prevented with earlier intervention. Situations like incarceration, homelessness, or suicidal thinking could be reduced through greater access to quality mental healthcare. Prevention always costs less than crisis management. To build a healthier, more just society, we must infuse the healthcare system with funding proportional to the prevalence of mental illness.

On an individual level, each of us can advocate for better mental health policies and services. Though transforming the system requires collective effort over time, our voices do matter. Practically speaking, donating to mental health charities, voting for candidates who prioritize mental health funding, and sharing personal stories about how better access could help are all small actions that contribute to destigmatization and change. Additionally, speaking up about mental health in our own social circles and workplaces can powerfully chip away at shame and judgment. The more people talk openly about their experiences, the more mental health crisis comes out of the shadows. All of us likely have close friends or family impacted by mental illness – by sharing our stories, we shed light on the reality that truly no one is alone in this struggle. Each courageous disclosure moves the needle closer to a just system.


We all likely agree regular doctor’s visits, nutritious foods and consistent exercise are non- negotiable components of a healthy physical lifestyle. Yet we don’t always apply this same attitude towards mental and emotional health. Real change begins with the belief that tending to mental health deserves just as much time, energy and priority as caring for the physical body.

Start by doing a self-inventory to identify how you currently care for mental health. Are you actively managing stress? Do you make time for fun and laughter? Are you staying connected to loved ones? If self-care practices feel totally absent, choose just one small goal to start. It could be a nightly journaling routine, trying out therapy, carving out leisure time or meditating once a week. Just like any healthy habit, consistency is key to lasting results. On top of lifestyle changes, advocate for the human right to mental healthcare in whatever ways feel possible and comfortable. We all have mental health needs – by coming together to demand better services, we not only heal as individuals, but evolve into a society defined by its compassion. Though change takes time, progress begins today with each of us prioritizing our mental wellbeing. What we believe about mental health informs how we treat ourselves and others. By taking care of our minds with the same commitment as our bodies, we build happier, more hopeful lives from the inside out.


Mental health forms the very foundation of how we experience life. From powering through everyday responsibilities to maintaining fulfilling relationships, our mental wellbeing determines the quality of our moments and memories. Seeking help or making lifestyle changes to support mental health is not a bonus “nice-to-have” – it’s a basic necessity for a life fully lived. The mind is just as integral as the physical body. By being proactive about mental health, from trying therapy to weaving self-care practices into each day, we set ourselves up for success on every level. Dismantling stigma and demanding mental healthcare access for all also helps create a society that acknowledges our shared struggles and understands the mind’s fundamental role in health. Just like nurturing the physical body, caring for mental wellbeing takes commitment, courage and compassion towards ourselves and each other. Our minds and spirits long to thrive – by making mental health a priority, we take the first step in fulfilling that universal longing.

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