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What does being mentally well look like?

Mental wellness is about feeling good mentally and emotionally. It involves being able to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively, have healthy relationships, and realize your full potential. Mental wellness allows you to enjoy life and look after your physical wellbeing too. So what are the key signs that someone is in a mentally healthy state? Here are some of the main areas to consider when assessing mental wellness:

Positive mood and outlook

When someone is mentally well, they are able to maintain a positive mindset and outlook on life most of the time. Their default mood tends to be calm and content. Even when problems arise, the mentally well person can put them in perspective and not let them dominant their emotions. A positive attitude enables optimism, laughter, appreciation for life’s joys and good times with loved ones. It provides resilience against the ups and downs of life.

Self-confidence and high self-esteem

Mentally well individuals have a healthy level of confidence in themselves and their abilities. Their sense of self-worth comes from within, not depending excessively on external validation. They appreciate their own strengths and accept their limitations. This provides a secure base from which to pursue personal goals and handle relationships. Mentally well people do not tie their self-esteem to arbitrary standards like attractiveness, wealth or status.

Emotional stability and self-control

While mentally healthy people certainly experience the full range of human emotions, they are able to manage their feelings skillfully. They can calm themselves down when anxious, cheer themselves up when sad, and express difficult emotions like anger or jealousy appropriately. Their emotional responses are measured, not erratic or extreme. Mentally well individuals have the self-control to avoid mood swings, addictions and other destructive impulses that provide only momentary relief at best.

Healthy self-talk

The mentally well typically have an encouraging inner voice. Their self-talk builds them up rather than putting them down. Mentally healthy inner dialogues express sentiments like:

– I’ve got this
– I can handle whatever comes my way
– I’m doing my best and that’s good enough
– I deserve to be loved and respected
– My mistakes don’t define me

This constructive self-talk provides an emotional anchor. It also enables mentally well people to treat others with compassion, not judgment.

Engaged and purposeful

When people are in a mentally healthy state, they are engaged in life and have a sense of purpose. They care about their work, hobbies, causes, loved ones and activities. There is meaning to their days from pursuing self-defined goals and enjoying the journey. Mentally well individuals avoid stagnation by staying intellectually curious and open to new experiences. They feel their lives matter even in small ways by making others smile, creating beauty, or leaving things a bit better than they found them.

Realistic outlook

Mentally well balanced people have realistic expectations and goals. They recognize that life brings a mix of positives and negatives, not just unbroken happiness. Challenges and setbacks are viewed as learning experiences, not causes for bitterness. Mentally healthy individuals aim for progress, not perfection. Their standards account for human limitations and external constraints. They are compassionate with themselves when falling short. This pragmatic perspective provides important resilience.

Problem-solving abilities

Mentally well adjusted individuals are able to tackle problems head on and come up with solutions. They break big problems into manageable steps. When frustrated, they take a break, get advice or refocus instead of getting stuck. Flexible thinking allows mentally healthy people to find creative workarounds when the first option doesn’t pan out. They benefit from a mix of logic and intuition. Sound judgment equips them to weigh pros and cons when making decisions.

Social connectedness

Humans are social creatures, so positive relationships are a marker of mental wellbeing. Mentally healthy individuals cultivate intimacy in their lives through self-disclosure, mutual understanding and shared experiences. They have the empathy, communication skills, vulnerability and emotional intelligence to develop meaningful bonds. Healthy relationships provide love, acceptance, companionship, stimulation and a sense of belonging.

Coping abilities

An inevitable part of life is stress. From work deadlines to bills to health issues, everyone faces challenges. Mentally well individuals have effective coping strategies to deal with stressors and settle their nerves. This may involve exercise, music, meditation, spending time in nature, tapping into spiritual practices or seeking counseling. Being able to calm down and gain perspective provides balance when things feel beyond one’s control.

Meaningful work

Mentally well people view their work as more than just a paycheck. They derive a sense of purpose from contributing their skills and talents. Work also provides structured routines and social connections that are important for mental health. Having meaningful work that aligns with one’s values and makes good use of their abilities is a pillar of mental wellbeing. It provides a vehicle for achievement, recognition and expanded knowledge.

Rest, relaxation and fun

All work and no play is not good for mental wellness. Mentally healthy individuals know the importance of taking breaks and making time for enjoyment. They recharge their batteries through pleasant social interactions, laughter and light-hearted activities. The mentally well get adequate rest and take vacations to prevent burnout. Whether relaxing with a good book, watching a comedy or enjoying a hobby, they balance hard work with leisure.

Help-seeking attitude

Mentally healthy people understand everyone needs assistance at times. If they are struggling with sadness, anxiety or unhealthy patterns, they lean on others for support. Talking to a friend, joining a support group or seeking therapy requires openness and vulnerability. Mentally well individuals are able to identify when they want help and willing to receive it. They do not feel shy about utilizing mental health resources.

Flexibility and openness to change

The mentally well can roll with life’s punches and adapt to changing circumstances. They are flexible about altering plans when necessary and trying new things. Openness enables mentally healthy people to learn new skills, take up hobbies and continuously grow. An ability to update perspectives also allows mentally well individuals to evolve past limiting beliefs and worldviews. This helps them avoid rigidity as life brings its unexpected twists and turns.

Self-care skills

Mentally healthy folks understand they are responsible for caring for their own wellbeing. They make self-care a regular habit, not just a luxury or occasional treat. The mentally well get enough sleep, eat nutritious foods, exercise and look after medical issues. They also nurture their spiritual side, make time for fun with loved ones and participate in relaxing activities. Good self-care provides the foundation to operate at full mental capacity.


As we have seen, mentally healthy individuals exhibit a mix of qualities that enable emotional and psychological flourishing. These include optimism, self-confidence, emotional control, purpose, problem-solving skills, realistic thinking, coping abilities and openness to seeking help when needed. Mental wellness involves caring for one’s whole self – mind, body and spirit. It grants the internal resources to enjoy rewarding relationships, meaningful pursuits and a zest for life. With sound mental health habits, individuals can thrive and reach their full potential.