Things Mental Health Is Not
One of the most common of these misconceptions is that mental health consists of being normal. The difficulty here arises when we attempt to define normal which is approximately average in any psychological trait, such as intelligence, personality, or emotional adjustment.
The problem with defining mental health in terms of normality is that it results in holding up the average person as a model of mental health. Our own beliefs determine our own perception of normal. Many people want to believe that their thoughts, feelings, and actions would be like everyone else’s. Most people don't talk about their internal experience as we only experience ourselves. If we have thoughts or feelings that we think are different from others, we could question if they are normal.
Life Management and Relationship Coach, J. Tow, agrees that there isn’t one thought that is right or “normal," but does not believe that any one feeling is right or "normal." If one action, he says, can be considered to be the only right or “normal” action in most circumstance, then it is possible that different things would be considered to be normal as opposed to one.
We could agree with him that many of us aspire to be the best rather than average. People with exceptional talent, intellect, or appearance are are not ordinary, common, or usual. Those people are above what we seem average. He could be right, we should just avoid trying to be "normal" and just be who we are. It is something for all of us to consider.
Being in Control
Too many people believe that a strong person is one who can control his or her emotions. The danger in this concept lies in the belief that only someone who is weak and less fortunate will develop any mental health problems.
As Karl Menninger, a renowned US Psychology stated, "Mental health problems do not affect three or four out of every five persons but one out of one." No one is excluded, regardless of race, national origin, or socio-economic status. Whether the feeling is one of general nervousness, at the lowest level, or the abandonment of the will to live at the other end of the mental health spectrum, everyone experiences distress from time to time.
The type of person with the most genuine problem is the one who feels strong emotion but has trouble expressing it. R.J. Larsen, a Psychology professor, notes that intensely emotional people have more than their fare share of problems, yet they're not unhappy or depressed in any way."
The shared wisdom here seems to be: Don't stifle your feelings, but do try to limit bouts of temper to their appropriate time of place.
A State of Perpetual Happiness
As we can see, mental health is not what many people think. Something else mental health is not, is happiness.
Over the span of a lifetime, people will experience both victories and defeats. They will experience emotional highs and lows. It is impossible to go through life without occasionally experiencing such negative feelings as envy and jealousy. Emotions such as anger, fear and anxiety can help shape how people react to others. Learning to cope with these feelings moves a person toward emotional maturity and toward independence.
Many people, when they hear the term mental health think of mental illnesses, when reality recognizes mental health as far more than the absence of mental illnesses. We may not admit it, but mental health is something all of us want for ourselves, whether we know it by name or not.
Carl Rogers, another eminent psychologist, described a mentally healthy person as one who is dependable of being realistic, self-enhancing, socialized, and appropriate in his behavior; a creative person whose specific formings of behavior are not easily predictable; a person who is ever changing and ever developing while coping with an imperfect world.
When we speak of happiness, peace of mind, enjoyment or satisfaction, pains and hurts, we are usually talking about mental health.