Mental health makes a vital aspect of overall health and well-being and can be described in at least three manners: first, as the lack of illness; second, as a condition of the organism that enables the complete execution of all its functions; and third, as a state of equilibrium within oneself and between oneself and both the physical and social surroundings. 
It is characterized by an individual’s self-perception and emotional experiences, influencing their resilience and adaptability during challenging times. Mental well-being is regarded as pivotal in determining an individual’s capacity to function effectively, capitalize on available opportunities, and engage fully with their familial, professional, communal, and peer contexts. 
While mental health can be influenced by a variety of factors, experts have identified several key elements that play a significant role in shaping mental well-being. These factors, ranging from genetic predispositions to environmental conditions, highlight the intricate interplay between biology, psychology, and society. In this article, we delve into 10 crucial factors affecting mental health.
Top factors affecting mental health
Loneliness is characterized as an uncomfortable and perturbing feeling stemming from the perceived disparity between one’s desired and achieved social relationships. 
Stress is a psychophysical adaptive response triggered by perceived stressors. It represents a psychological strain or tension stemming from demanding or unfavorable circumstances. 
One of the primary factors affecting mental health of students is anxiety which denotes a mental state characterized by feelings of insecurity, threat, and discomfort in response to perceived stimuli. It is also associated with apprehension toward the unknown or impending outcomes. 
Depression is characterized by feelings of hopelessness, isolation, low self-esteem, and self-criticism. Symptoms include fluctuating connections with the environment, social detachment, and vegetative states such as loss of appetite and insomnia. 
- Genetics and Family History
Genetic factors contribute to a predisposition for certain chronic medical and psychiatric diseases. A family history of disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia can increase the likelihood of these conditions occurring in subsequent generations. 
6. Physical Health and Lifestyle:
Physical health and mental health are interrelated. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and avoidance of substance abuse are critical for maintaining mental well-being and precluding the possibility of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. Physical illnesses, chronic pain, and hormonal imbalances can impact mood and cognitive function. 
- Past Experiences
Early childhood or past experiences significantly shape mental health in later life. Traumatic experiences, the burden of household chores, inadequate education, and self-stigmatization can increase the risk of mental health issues. 
- Environmental Stressors:
External factors, such as disadvantaged social standings or discriminatory practices, are characterized by actions that aim to marginalize or treat people unequally based on their race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status. Discrimination, serving as one of the factors affecting mental health and a contributor to stress, has been associated with various psychological symptoms. 
- Cultural and Societal Influences:
Cultural norms, societal expectations, and stigmatization surrounding mental health influence how individuals perceive and seek help for psychological issues. Social factors affecting mental health may include traditional beliefs and practices, the effect of traditional healers, neglect, and discrimination. 
- Inadequate Access to Mental Health Services:
Access to quality remedial services and resources for mental health is among the fundamental factors affecting mental health. Disparities in mental health care availability, inadequate knowledge and skills of providers, lack of mental health workforce, and distance from facilities can hinder individuals from receiving the support they need. 
• What are the biological factors affecting mental health?
Neurochemical imbalances, neurotransmitter activity, and brain structure play critical roles in mental health. Conditions like depression and anxiety can lead to imbalances in neurotransmitters or brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Hormonal changes, such as those occurring at puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can also be important factors affecting mental health.
• Why are strong social support networks crucial factors affecting mental health?
Strong social connections and support systems have a protective effect on mental health. Having meaningful relationships, a sense of belonging, and a network of friends and family can contribute to resilience in the face of challenges.
• How are trauma and adversity long-term factors affecting mental health?
Traumatic events, such as accidents, violence, abuse, or natural disasters, can lead to conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex trauma. Coping with trauma often requires specialized therapeutic interventions.
• How does Ayurveda propose to manage mental health issues?
According to Ayurveda, Manas (Mind) is a three-dimensional aspect in terms of the gunas like sattva(state of absolute purity and balance of the mind), rajas(stands for dynamism and activity of the mind), and tamas (stands for darkness and inertia). To treat mental diseases, Ayurveda recommends the use of the following three therapies:
Daiva Vyapashraya: This spiritual therapy focuses on using the power of japa, mantra, and other religious practices like wearing precious gemstones.
Satvavajaya: This psycho-behavioral therapy recommends the use of assurance (ashvasana) to replace turbulent or negative emotions and psycho-shock.
Yukti vyapashraya chikitsa: This biological therapy consists of samshodhan (cleansing or Panchakarma) and Shaman (pacification). Samshodhan is bio-cleansing of the various channels of your body, while Shaman is a palliative method of treatment using lifestyle changes, Ayurvedic drugs, and changes in food habits. 
Ayurvedic formulations containing powerful herbs like Ashwagandha, Brahmi and Bhringaraja are often used to treat mental ailments. Zanducare,com brings for you potent Ashwagandha capsules and Brahmi capsules for a stable mental health. Order without delay!
Mental health is a complex interplay of various factors that span biological, psychological, social, and environmental realms. While these 10 factors affecting mental health provide insight into the multifaceted nature of mental well-being, it is important to recognize that each individual’s experience is unique.
This article is written from a health and wellness perspective only and is not a piece of medical advice. Kindly seek the help of a certified medical practitioner before initiating any treatment.
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