Guest Written by Tonya Gosnell
The World Health Organization says health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being; not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. They define mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
So what does this look like for me? Does it mean I’m happy every day? Does it mean I feel like conquering the world every day? Does it mean I have it all together every day? I don’t think so. Some days I have to get up and fake it until I make it. In other words, I put a smile on my face and plug through with a positive attitude until it is my reality. One thing is for certain, you are much more likely to have a good day if you start it off by saying that you will. You are also much more likely to accomplish something if you have a goal in mind and a plan to get there.
The mind is like the body; you get out what you put in. If you feed your mind junk, full of negativities, that’s what you get back. The power of positive thought is real and effective. Looking at the big picture of your life and not just one moment or one day will give you a more realistic picture of what is going on and help you appreciate life at a different level. Everyone experiences good days and bad days, but what does my overall life say about my mental health or my health in general?
I’ve found that healthy self-esteem is important. This doesn’t mean I should take 20 selfies a day and post them on Facebook because I’m all that and a bucket of chicken. No, it’s how do I make a difference in my job, in my relationships or in my daily activities. Am I making positive contributions? If not, let me find a way. Be a positive change in someone’s life, love someone, be true to whom I am, live a good life and be thankful for the blessings God has given me.
My relationships also contribute to my health. I need satisfying relationships with people that I can count on and that can count on me. I need mutually nurturing relationships that provide unconditional and positive support. If I isolate myself I will get down. God created us to be social, so if I don’t have relationships I feel the void.
Sometimes the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. An example of this would be joining the Arkansas Tech University campus walk called Out of the Darkness on Saturday, April 12. We will be walking to raise awareness and money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It’s a great feeling to join other people in a common cause and it doesn’t take much to participate.
It’s also important that I am resilient. When life throws a curve I can take it. I think our culture has been teaching us the wrong responses to life and its challenges. Society has created this dependence on the government and others to do everything for us. We want to abuse our bodies with junk food and sit in front of the television all day. Then take medication that will help us continue our unhealthy life styles rather than putting forth the effort to help ourselves. Go ahead, eat all you want, just take the purple pill and you’ll be fine. I want to be the kind of person that faces a challenge with dignity, strength and determination.
I have to take care of myself. If my body feels bad then it’s really hard to be positive and productive. The food that I eat needs to nourish and not poison me. I also stay active. My exercise of choice is Zumba! The music is great and the people I’m with are having fun. Dancing is a way for me to have fun and get my heart rate really pumping. The more I do it, the better I feel physically and mentally. And it gives me satisfaction by helping someone improve their lives on different levels. There is no down side.
Guest Written by Tonya Gosnell