Six Signs That You're Mentally Healthy

Nobody's perfect. However, certain characteristics can help you stay calm, advance on a personal level, and enjoy a fulfilling life. It means you're mentally healthy.
Six Signs That You're Mentally Healthy
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 07 June, 2023

Many of us spend our lives pursuing happiness. We aspire to continuous states of joy and fulfillment. However, this is unnatural and almost impossible. Instead, we should be focusing on cultivating calmness, stability, and well-being. In fact, if you’re mentally healthy, you’ll already enjoy these characteristics.

Good mental health isn’t something we’re born with. However, there are genetic factors that can condition us. For example, an article published in Integral Pediatrics claims that most psychiatric disorders are distinguished by a high hereditary burden.

But, this is only a starting point. The environment that surrounds us and the personal work we carry out can also make a difference (Dempster et al., 2011). So, how do you know if you’re mentally healthy? And, if not, how can you achieve it? You can find out here.

Being mentally healthy

By definition, a mentally healthy person is one who enjoys good mental health. But, what does this mean? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), being healthy doesn’t only imply living free of disease or illness, but enjoying a state of total physical, mental, and social well-being.

This institution also states that mental health isn’t only defined as an absence of psychiatric conditions. In fact, it also involves internal balance and relates to the socioeconomic environment. The WHO includes aspects such as developing individual potential, knowing how to deal with daily stresses, and working productively to contribute to society.

The characteristics of being mentally healthy

Good mental health is reflected in the quality of thoughts, management of emotions, and adoption of adaptive and appropriate behaviors to function well in daily life. So, how do you know if you’re mentally healthy? If you are, you’ll identify with the following characteristics:

1. Self-esteem and self-confidence

Self-esteem is an aspect that’s talked about so much that it could be considered something of a cliché. But, in reality, it’s key to mental and emotional health. Indeed, without this component, it’s difficult to remain stable and feel confident when facing daily life and charting a path.

Good self-esteem involves having a positive perception of yourself and feeling a strong appreciation for who you are. This includes listening to, respecting, and prioritizing yourself whenever you can. Moreover, you should be self-compassionate and build confidence to see yourself through difficult times and move forward.

According to a study published in the journal, Interdisciplinaria, self-esteem is an important protective factor for good mental health. In fact, it’s one of the main differentiating elements between the clinical and the general population.

2. Psychological flexibility

A large part of being mentally healthy means adapting to life’s changing situations. It’s easy to feel happy and calm when everything is going well, but it’s essential to remain calm and stable when adversity arises. Cognitive flexibility is the ability that allows you to achieve this since it contributes to the following aspects:

  • Having an open mind.
  • Accepting changes without getting too frustrated.
  • Finding effective ways to respond to challenges and solve problems.

As a matter of fact, this ability has been shown to make us less prone to suffering from mental disorders such as depression and more likely to develop and practice resilience (Soltani et al., 2013).

3. Emotional intelligence

If you’re mentally healthy, you possess high emotional intelligence. In other words, you know how to identify what you feel and you’ve learned to regulate your emotions. This means you’re not hijacked by extremely intense states and you don’t react automatically when you experience emotions.

Instead, you’re self-aware and employ strategies to modulate or manage your emotions in a healthy and productive way. In addition, you’re capable of carrying out the same processes when relating to other people. As such, you can understand what they feel and need and know how to act on it.

This has an important advantage since, as suggested by a meta-analysis published in Personality and Individual Differences, emotional intelligence is positively associated with mental and psychosomatic health.

4. Inside work

If you’re mentally healthy, you’ll work on yourself. You may already have a good background and a set of acquired skills, thanks to your upbringing or experiences when you were growing up. However, working on yourself is essential to evolve, get to know yourself better, and not be at the mercy of external events.

5. Self-care

Being mentally healthy means you know how to prioritize and organize your time. For instance, you allocate time for working, developing good habits, and taking care of your relationships. In fact, you seek and create balance in every area of your life.

6. Good communication skills

You can tell if you’re mentally healthy by analyzing your relationships with others. Indeed, they’re excellent reflections of your internal state. For instance, if you’re hurt or damaged, any comment or action from others can trigger intense and negative emotions. They make you react impulsively and harm others or allow yourself to be harmed.

A study published in Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences claims that possessing good communication skills and knowing how to say no assertively are aspects that correlate favorably with good mental health.

How to remain mentally healthy

Mental health isn’t an immutable aspect and varies in different circumstances. For this reason, it’s important to know which practices help to cultivate your psychological and social well-being, whether you’re starting from scratch or simply want to maintain it. Here are some suggestions :

  • Take care of your internal dialogue. Try to speak to yourself with words of affection, encouragement, and compassion. Avoid criticizing and judging yourself.
  • Work on acceptance and non-resistance to change. Find a lesson in each adverse experience and develop resilience.
  • Stay active. This is the key to a mentally strong personality. It means you have the determination and motivation to go after your goals.
  • Learn to listen to you. Read the signals and sensations of your body to know what you feel and need at all times. Silence and journaling can help.
  • Cultivate positive and meaningful bonds with other people. Learn to set boundaries, express yourself clearly and respectfully, and carefully select the people you surround yourself with.

You might be interested to read Ten Things Mentally Strong People Do Every Day

Being mentally healthy can be due to psychotherapy

Finally, it should be noted that good mental health isn’t the result of chance or good luck. In fact, a great deal of work lies behind these habits and skills. And, in many cases, being mentally healthy is thanks to psychotherapy.

Indeed, psychotherapy can be the starting point for healing or developing effective strategies. It’s also a great help for those who, at certain times, need extra support, even though they’re not suffering from any disorder.

Finally, mental health is worked on and cared for daily, just like physical health. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to start implementing positive changes in this regard.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.