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Evidence of mental health

Published Oct. 8, 2005

Mental Illness Awareness Week occurs during October. The flip-side of mental illness is mental health.

With the permission of the Mental Health Association of Greater Dallas, I am reprinting the following, titled "Mental Health is 1-2-3."

These are some of the characteristics of people with good mental health.

1). They feel comfortable about themselves.

They are not bowled over by their own emotions _ by their fears, anger, love, jealously, guilt or worries.

They can take life's disappointments in stride.

They have a tolerant, easy-going attitude toward themselves as well as others. They can laugh at themselves.

They neither underestimate nor overestimate their abilities.

They can accept their own shortcomings.

They have self-respect.

They feel able to deal with most situations that come their way.

They get satisfaction from the simple, everyday pleasures.

2). They feel right about other people.

They are able to give love, consider the interests of others and accept love.

They have intimate emotional relationships that are satisfying and lasting.

They expect to like and trust others and take it for granted that others will like and trust them.

They respect the many differences they find in people.

They do not push people around, and they do not allow themselves to be pushed around.

They can feel they are part of a group.

They feel a sense of responsibility to their neighbors and fellow human beings.

3). They are able to meet the demands of life.

They do something about solving their problems as they arise.

They accept responsibility for who they are and what they do.

They shape their environment whenever possible, adjusting to it whenever necessary.

They learn from the past, live in the present and look to the future with hope.

They are objective enough about life to find humor, even in difficult situations.

They welcome new experiences and new ideas.

They make use of their natural capacities.

They set realistic goals for themselves.

They are able to think for themselves and make their own decisions.

They put their best effort into what they do and get satisfaction out of doing it.

They have a religious or philosophical view that gives their lives purpose and direction.

There is no line that neatly divides the mentally healthy from the unhealthy.

There are many different degrees of mental health.

No one characteristic by itself can be taken as evidence of good mental health, nor can the lack of any be taken as evidence of mental illness.

Nobody has all the traits of good mental health all the time.