WHAT IS MENTAL HYGIENE?
The science of maintaining mental health and preventing the development of mental illness (source: www.merriam-webster.com).
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MENTAL HYGIENE AND MENTAL HEALTH?
Unlike mental health which addresses mental illness once it has begun, mental hygiene focuses on prevention of mental illness, much the same way that brushing your teeth and avoiding sugary foods prevents tooth decay.
You brush your teeth every day to keep your teeth healthy. What do you do every day to keep your mind healthy?
HOW CAN I MAINTAIN MY MENTAL HYGIENE?
My psychology today blog, The Mental Hygienist gives tips and tools for maintaining mental health. Mental Hygiene focuses on mindset, sleep, fitness, nutrition, and relationships, and optimizing all of these areas to avoid inflammation of emotional needs.
WHAT ABOUT CHEMICAL IMBALANCES?
When doctors refer to "chemical imbalances" in our brains, they are describing a state, not a cause.
Chemical imbalances can result from unhealthy lifestyles, destructive habits, and genetic predisposition.
It is obvious why unhealthy lifestyles and destructive habits could be improved with mental hygiene, but even genetic predisposition to mental illness requires proper mental hygiene much the same way that a family history of heart disease would require more attention to cardiovascular exercise and a heart-healthy diet.