The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community."

Think about your own mental health in relation to this definition on a 0-100 scale, where would you put yourself? Where do you want to be? What can you do to improve this starting today? (As you continue reading, I encourage you to write down one thing you could do today that would improve your mental health.)

Strengthening our mental health is an ongoing process, very similar to continuously strengthening our physical health in order to stay healthy. And even then, sometimes we get sick.

Our brain is another organ in our body that gets sick and needs treatment sometimes. Our brain can also get run down and not work optimally, which might look like having sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, and more. When this happens, it can affect many aspects of our life from our job performance, to our relationships and our own emotional state to name a few.

It is important to know what are signs and symptoms of your brain needing some treatment and then knowing what you can do about it.

Let's look at some signs that your brain might need some treatment:

Difficulty concentrating

Sleep problems

Stomach and gastrointestinal problems


Physical pain

Physical tension

Constant worry

Tightness in chest

Avoidance and isolation

Using substances to cope


Lack of interest in things you used to find pleasurable

Feelings of guilt

Low or excessive energy

Sudden change in appetite or weight (either eating too much or too little)

Anger outbursts


Thoughts of suicide

As you can see there are a lot of things on this list, many of which could be on their own very manageable. However, if the symptoms are lasting for longer than two weeks and are negatively impacting your life, it might be time to seek the guidance and assistance of a professional

So where do I start?

If you have been displaying any of these complaints consistently for over two weeks, it might be time to reach out for help from a professional. A good starting point is your family physician who can rule out a medical reason. Another option is to set up a free phone consultation with a therapist to get additional feedback and guidance. Many private practitioners, as well as here at A Balanced Life, offer free 15 minute phone consultations.

If you decide that you want to get assessed by a therapist, you can use the Barton Health Community Resource Directory, available at mental health kiosks around town and online at to start your process. When you are searching for a therapist, call and ask what their experience is in relation to your presenting problem, and what type of therapy they use. You can then search online to find out if this is an evidence-based form of therapy, which is important in making sure you are getting quality care that has been researched and proven to be effective.

You can also follow A Balanced Life Tahoe on Facebook where I post weekly articles on ways to reach a state of well-being and assist you in reaching your full potential.

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