It can be such an annoying question, however, it is the question that we should always ask when presented with any type of information. When it comes to our understanding of mental health, we should critically reflect and think over the importance for us as individuals and for each other. Ask why, so we can continue to develop our knowledge and understanding of how vital this dimension of health is and the relationship it has to the holistic approach to our health and wellbeing.
Everyone always says how important looking after our mental health is, but how often do we look into that importance? The last post looked at developing an overall understanding of the term mental health. Now we will look into the interrelationship between our mental health, and the other four dimensions.
What are the dimensions of health?
When we explore health as a holistic concept, it means we don’t just look at being healthy as merely the “absence of disease”. To help with this concept, we view our overall health as having five dimensions:
They each play their own important role in maintaining our health, but it is how they interrelate and work together that forms the basis of the holistic approach.
So what does this mean?
Put simply, if one of our dimensions is not functioning how we would like, it affects the rest. Our mental health has such a pivotal role in the impact it has on the other four dimensions. In some ways, it can be seen as the most important of the dimensions due to the affect it has on all of the others.
If we start to slide towards the “red zone” of the mental health continuum (talked about in this previous post), this can have a detrimental impact on our other dimensions and depending how long we are in that area, the larger the effects. We can start to withdraw, lose motivation, fatigue easily, which all can lead to not wanting to talk to people or attend social gatherings that may have been planned. It may also result in a change in nutritional or physical activity habits we already have. There may be a reluctance to focus on things that help stimulate our minds and with the withdrawal, we can start to lose our sense of belonging and connectedness (aspects of our spiritual health).
All of this can lead to a lack of energy which brings us back to lack of motivation. It’s a cycle that can, at times, be difficult to get out of, particularly if we don’t have the know how and the skills to help.
On the flip side, when we are thriving in a dimension, the others thrive as well.
Our mind is such an amazing and beautiful thing……but, it can also be such an asshole.
This is where the benefits of enhancing our mental health come into play.
There are so many different benefits to having a positive mental health and being in the healthy functioning section of the continuum. Below are just a few that relate directly to the other dimensions of health. It is why gaining the skills and knowledge to support and enhance our mental health is so important in today’s society.