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Good mental health

6-minute read

Key facts

  • Good mental health is when you feel you can manage day to day stresses, work productively, use your abilities and contribute to society.
  • Good mental health is a key part of feeling happy with life, being connected to other people and having a sense of meaning.
  • Resilience allows you to cope with challenges by using your inner strength and support networks.
  • Investing time and energy in your relationships with family and friends is important for your mental health.
  • You can build good mental health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, practising gratitude, contributing to the community and doing things you enjoy.

What is good mental health?

Good mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness. It means you are in a state of wellbeing where you feel good and function well in the world.

According to the World Health Organisation, good mental health is when you can:

  • cope with the normal stresses of life
  • learn and work productively
  • use your talents and abilities
  • contribute to the community

If you have good mental health, you might feel happy, confident, hopeful and generally satisfied with life.

You are likely to feel connected to other people and to be making a contribution to society.

You might also have a sense of meaning or purpose and a feeling of being at peace.

Good mental health in challenging times

Everyone has challenges in life. People who have good mental health are more likely to be able to cope with the ups and downs of daily life.

You are more likely to have good mental health if:

  • you are confident when you come across new situations or stresses
  • you feel optimistic
  • you do not always blame yourself
  • you can set and achieve your goals
  • you can stick to routines that are good for you, such as eating and sleeping well
  • you can enjoy life even though you've had difficult experiences

Building resilience

An important part of having good mental health is building resilience. This is when you can cope with unexpected changes and challenges in your life, by using your inner strength and the networks around you.

Resilient people can manage stress better. This means they are less likely to develop mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. You can learn coping skills to build resilience.

For more information about building resilience, visit headspace or Kids Helpline.

Daily actions for good mental health

Research conducted by MindSpot has shown that people who regularly do the below actions tend to have better mental health than people who don’t do them.

MindSpot refers to these as ‘the Big Five’, and their research has shown that the more often you do these actions, the better your mental health may be.

Meaningful activities

These are any actions that you enjoy or that give you a sense of accomplishment. A meaningful activity could be listening to music you like, or watching a favourite TV show.

Healthy thinking

Examples of healthy thinking include keeping perspective and talking to yourself with kindness.

Goals and plans

Having goals is important to keep you energised and motivated. Goals give you something to look forward to and can help to prevent dwelling on past problems.

Healthy routine

Keeping up a healthy routine doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be as simple as going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, or a routine linked to our roles and relationships.

Social connections

Staying connected to friends and family helps you to feel validated and reminds you that you belong.

For more information and to complete the Big Five self-assessment sheet, go to the website.

Resources and support

Find out more about maintaining good mental health. Try this mental health check-in to find out if you might need some help at the moment.

If you are struggling to feel happy, cope with everyday life, find meaning or feel connected to others, you can talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Visit MindSpot for more tips on good mental health.

There is a lot of support and information available in person, online and by telephone.

  • Visit Beyond Blue or call 1300 22 4636 for counselling and support.
  • Find your local headspace centre, contact headspace or call 1800 650 890 for support and counselling for young people.
  • Try ReachOut for mental health information for young people and parents.
  • Check out Black Dog Institute for a variety of digital tools and apps to help improve mental health.
  • For advice and to get connected to local mental health services, you can call Head to Health on 1800 595 212. Check the operating times.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2023

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