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Importance of Mental Health

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Mental well-being is of much importance at every stage of life. It affects how we feel, thinks, and act.

Written by

Dr. Shuchi Jain

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ramchandra Lamba

Published At September 2, 2022
Reviewed AtMay 6, 2024


Mental health and well-being include all three aspects - emotional, social, and psychological.

It has an impact on all the choices we make. A little turn from the usual leads to stress, anxiety, depression, and mood disorders.

Modern life is stressful. These days people tend to be more stressed. Meeting deadlines, work pressure, work-life balance, and over-expectations have created an unwanted stressful zone. In this article, we will read about mental health, stress, anxiety, depression, and how to cope.

What Is Stress?

Stress is a natural feeling or human reaction that happens to everyone. It could be emotional, physical or psychological tension. The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. It can come from any event or thought that makes us feel frustrated, or angry. It is the body's reaction to a particular biological response from a certain situation or event.

Stress is a normal biological response. For example, consider getting a termination email and you will end up stressed. This sudden, unexpected event response is stress that ultimately affects mental health.

What Are the Types of Stress?

Stress can be of two types:

  1. Acute.

  2. Chronic.

What Is Acute Stress?

Acute stress is of short duration. For example, when a person has a heated argument, they might feel stressed at that particular moment. After some time, the situation turns normal. The experience was distressing at first, but it passed quickly. This response is acute stress. The best way to treat it is by practicing -

  • Breathing exercises.

  • Physical activity.

What Is Chronic Stress?

Chronic stress lasts long. Consider a situation of multiple failed attempts. When one fails for more than the usual time, they have a feeling of stress that deepens every time they face the same situation resulting in a deeply rooted chronic stress. Another example could be toxic friendships or relationships, financial crises, etc.

What Is Anxiety?

Unlike stress, anxiety is a continuous phase of worries, even in the absence of a stimulus (reason or cause). It negatively affects mood and body functioning. It results in sleepless nights, lack of concentration, tiredness, and irritability. It is somehow similar to stress, but the response is more exaggerated. Anxiety is not always harmful. A body alarm system makes us aware of external or internal threats.

What Are Generalized Anxiety and Panic Disorder?

  • The most common anxiety disorder is generalized, in which a person has frequent unmanageable worry. It also has physical symptoms of anxiety, as discussed above.

  • Another one is panic disorder which is characterized -by anxiety attacks. The symptoms include - sweating, breathlessness, and a racing heart.

How to Treat Anxiety?

Mild stress and anxiety have the same treatment model that includes-

  • Breathing exercise.

  • Physical activity.

  • A healthy diet.

  • Good sleep.

In advance cases, seeking medical help is suggested.

Anxiety disorders are treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a medical illness in which the feeling of sadness lasts more than usual.

It interferes with routine functioning and concentration, builds frustration and restlessness, headaches, affects the sleep-wake cycle and eating patterns, and gives rise to suicidal thoughts.

However, the symptoms may co-relate with other illnesses. Hence one must consult a health care professional.

What Causes Depression?

The exact cause is not known. But many factors contribute to the same. They are-

1. Genetic factors.

2. Biological factors.

3. Environmental factors.

4. Psychological factors include -

  • Blood relations.

  • Alcohol and drug abuse.

  • Personal and financial problems.

  • Physical or sexual abuse.

  • Medical problems, and

  • Death.

What Are the Various Ways to Lower Anxiety and Depression and Improve Mood?

It is natural to feel stressed, anxious, and depressed. But when this feeling persists and dominates, it affects mental well-being.

Thus various ways help eliminate anxiety and depression and thus improve mood.

  1. Limit the Use of the Internet and Social Media - Take an example from the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the lockdown, everybody was scrolling through television, social media, the internet, etc. Negative news from any corner was like salt sprinkled on a burn. This news elevated stress and anxiety and created an aura of sorrow and vain. Therefore sometimes, taking a break from social media and the internet helps improve certain aspects.
  2. Stay Hydrated and Follow a Nutritious Diet - Eat well, stay fit - one said. Including plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of a routine diet has health benefits. Avoid oily and junk food and plan a nutritious diet. Mental health has an impact on the digestive tract. Stress, anxiety, and depression kill the appetite and promote sugar cravings. Thus maintaining a healthy diet will work in such circumstances.
  3. Maintain a Proper Sleep-Wake Schedule - Stress affects the sleep cycle and thus ends up in insomnia. One should follow a seven-hour sleep schedule. To sleep better - meditate, and perform physical and relaxation exercises. Limit the use of caffeine and alcohol.
  4. Focus on Physical Activity, Meditation, a Good Walk, and Spending Time With Nature - Sit less, move often - one rightly said. One should meditate, exercise, walk, and spend at least 10 to 15 minutes with nature daily. It acts as a check on one's mental well-being.
  5. Limit Alcohol Intake and Smoking - People have adopted it as a habit- whenever they feel stressed, they smoke. That is not the right choice as it does not solve the problem and may cause serious health issues.
  6. Enroll in Social Activities and Communicate With People - Social activities and gatherings keep you occupied, your mind peaceful, and distracted.
  7. Surround Yourself With Good Company, and Spend Time With Family and Friends - Reach out to your friends, and talk with your family. A good listener and sympathizer always calm down stress and anxiety. Also, it suppresses the vibe of loneliness. One feels surrounded, guarded, and happy.
  8. Self-Pampering and Spending Time on Things You Love - Sometimes, self-pampering also helps counter the situation. Spend time on reading, singing, music, dancing, exploring, comedy shows, or anything of your choice. Laughter benefits both mental and physical health.
  9. Understand the Cause of the Problem and Deal With It - Escaping a stressful situation is not always possible. One should focus on dealing with it. Evaluating the causes, figuring out the circumstance, seeing if you have control over it or not, and comforting yourself is the best way to reduce stress.
  10. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance - A healthy work-life balance is necessary for healthy living. Block distractions while at work and stay focussed. Meantime, comfort yourself and surround yourself with the things of interest. It improves productivity and profit and also restores your energy and mindfulness.
  11. Medication and Psychotherapies - One should consult a psychologist when self-help fails. They identify your situation well and will treat you accordingly. Medications such as antidepressants are a drug of choice to treat depression. One should start those only after consulting a doctor.


Stress is a normal response. Anxiety is okay only when under control. When this feeling dominates, one should follow the suggested measures. When self-help does not work out, one should see a doctor. Mindful meditation has proven to reduce psychological stress and anxiety. Regular physical activity, brisk walking, and time spent with nature should be a part of the daily routine. Forget about anxiety and depression, keep yourself distracted, and you will feel a sudden change in your lifestyle.

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Dr. Ramchandra Lamba
Dr. Ramchandra Lamba



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