Mental health affects each and every area of our lives.
It allows us to establish healthy and functional affective bonds with others, it allows us to interact properly with other people, it enables us to have a good work performance, and even allows us to enjoy the day-to-day and be able to achieve the longed-for concept of “happiness”. Now then… what are the characteristics of psychologically healthy people? This is the topic we will deal with next.
The traits of psychologically healthy people
The psychologist of the Malaga Psychologists’ Office PsicoAbreu proposes a series of features that people we consider psychologically healthy should have. They are the following.
1. Good self-esteem
A person with adequate self-esteem and a good self-concept knows himself and sees himself in a realistic way. She does not belittle herself, does not worship excessively, does not underestimate or overestimate her abilities or skills, does not see herself as inferior to others, does not compare herself with others, is self-confident in most of the decisions she makes, is satisfied with herself (even though she knows she still has to improve), is confident in her own abilities, feels good about being alone (not afraid or anxious about being alone), knows her strengths and weaknesses, respects herself, knows what she is good at and what she is not, is able to accept criticism from others, knows how to ask for forgiveness, knows how to criticize herself in a healthy way in order to improve…
We can also closely associate the concept of self-esteem with the concept of emotional independence , which allows us to consider another person and any relationship as one more part of our daily life, thus allowing the consolidation of healthy relationships with others.
2. Emotional intelligence
A person with adequate emotional intelligence is able to feel, experience and express both positive and negative emotions. An emotionally intelligent person is able to self-regulate and exercise control over his or her own emotions and feelings.
The identification, analysis, communication and management of one’s own emotions is crucial in order to achieve a more adaptive final behaviour in the future. People with emotional intelligence are not overwhelmed by their own emotions (fear, anger, guilt, anxiety, jealousy…), as they are able to feel them and process them in an adaptive way, so as not to remain anchored to them for a long time.
Resilience is a positive skill that allows us to go through an adverse, traumatic or extreme situation with our own coping capacities, and even allows us to come out of it stronger. Resilience allows us to go through an adverse event in an adaptive way, although this does not imply that negative emotions are not felt or expressed during the process of illness, death, grief…
4. Internal Control Locus
People with a locus of internal control are characterized because they think that there is a close relationship between their behavior or conduct and the consequences thereof .
A person with an internal control locus has the perception that he is capable of controlling his own life, and that he is not controlled by luck, fate, karma, or the decisions of others. The locus of internal control facilitates traits such as responsibility, effort, constancy, positive self-criticism… For example, a person with a locus of internal control attributes his successes and failures to his own actions, and not to external forces.
In contrast, people with external locus of control attribute their merits, failures and responsibilities to external events or other people, which leads to low self-esteem, a passive attitude in the face of adversity and does not facilitate personal growth.
Assertive communication with others consists of the expression of one’s opinions, emotions, feelings, needs and desires, in a timely and direct manner .
Assertiveness therefore implies respect for one’s own rights and those of others, without falling into passive or aggressive communication. It also allows for healthier, deeper and more adaptive relationships with others and facilitates interaction with the environment.
On the other hand, assertiveness is closely related to good self-esteem, because if I consider that my needs, opinions and feelings are as important as those of others I will have more ease in expressing them and being able to defend them.
6. Tolerance to frustration
Frustration is an unpleasant secondary emotion that has components of rage, sadness and impotence , and that is experienced because we cannot have what we thought or expected (plan, illusion project, material object…).
Every day we experience many events and situations that cause us frustration: missing the bus, being scolded at work, having your favourite shoes that fit, having a friend cancel your weekend plan, being robbed, being fired from work… Frustration is a very frequent emotion in our daily lives, so it is essential to know how to control and manage it.
7. Patience and self-control
Patience is a skill that allows us to endure and deal with difficulties and setbacks in order to achieve some goal or good. We all know that what is valuable or worth achieving requires patience and effort (having a professional career, or specialization in something, having a sentimental relationship with someone…), so the development of patience is fundamental in our day-to-day life so as not to abandon what we have set out to do.
Self-control is a skill that is related to patience and the ability to defer immediate gratification for the achievement of a goal that is considered much more important. For example, if I am not able to have self-control and say no to a trip with a friend on the weekend before exams (immediate gratification deferral), I will not be able to study and I will not take those subjects, which allow me to reach my proposed goal “to take my career”.
8. Adaptive capacity and coping skills
Changes are frequent in our lives and in our daily lives, so the ability to adapt to them is essential. People with a good capacity to adapt are capable of adapting to new situations: a new life in another city, a new environment, a death in the family, a bereavement, a disappointment in a love relationship…
The coping skills that everyone develops throughout their lives help to accept and face these new situations as best as possible , in order to regain the emotional and psychological well-being that one had before the event. These coping skills can be the positive restructuring of negative or dysfunctional thoughts, the search for social support, the positive re-evaluation of the event… among many others.
Empathy is a skill that allows us to know how other people feel or what they are thinking, in order to understand their emotions, feelings and intentions. This capacity to put ourselves in the other person’s place makes it easier for us to have an adaptive and effective interaction with their closest social environment.
10. Social skills
Social skills are the tools that allow you to socialize with others. Mentally healthy people, in general, have satisfactory social relationships, and are able to maintain solid bonds with others , communicate adequately with strangers and acquaintances, usually maintain a pleasant relationship with others in their daily lives, and maintain bonds. Psychologically healthy people enjoy social relationships and usually feel good in the company of others, so social relationships are satisfactory for them.
How can these characteristics be enhanced?
It is possible to work on all these characteristics with the help of psychological therapy, in order to be a healthier person psychologically and to reach a greater psychological well-being on a daily basis . As patients, this will allow us to have more adaptive and healthy bonds with the people around us, feel better about ourselves and enjoy ourselves more on a daily basis.
If you don’t have any of these skills well developed, it would be a good idea to see a psychologist for good psychological health and greater personal and mental well-being.