Mental health is more than just a diagnosis. It doesn't only refer to psychiatric or psychological disorders that require actual medical attention.
It's about your overall mental health—how you feel about yourself, your ability to manage your emotions, and navigate whatever is going on in your life.
Sometimes, you might find yourself stuck in negative thoughts due to difficult moments in your life. A 21-year-old reader asked a question on DxD's QnA platform, seeking advice on what he should do to improve his emotional health.
Dr Ng Beng Yeong, DxD's resident psychiatrist offered some pearls of wisdom on how you can reclaim your true self in the face of such challenges.
It's all in your head
Your thoughts and attitudes play a crucial role when it comes to mental health issues.
Dr Ng listed down some of the common symptoms of anxiety and depression. They include loss of interest, poor concentration, getting worried and having negative thoughts. 
Start by reevaluating your priorities in life
If you have a ton of negative thoughts about where your life is going, Dr Ng suggests that you sit back and reassess your priorities. Establish a clear understanding of your life goals, and think about how you would like to achieve them one at a time.
Break down 'unattainable' goals into small tasks
Your life goals may seem beyond reach initially but take one step at a time! Learn to break them down into smaller, achievable tasks.
Once you've accomplished a small task, you should reward yourself by doing things that make you happy.
These strategies help you put a positive spin on stresses and challenges you face.
You can also consider counselling as an option
We are not superhumans, so don't be afraid to reach out for help. If you feel really overwhelmed and unable to cope, you can arrange to see a counsellor at the counselling centre in Singapore.
Alternatively, you can also seek treatment with a psychiatrist, who can then further evaluate your condition and see if you need medications or psychotherapy. 
Last but not least, stop comparing yourself to others!
It's human nature to compare ourselves to others. It's important to remember that we all do things at our own pace, on our own terms. 
Dr Ng illustrated this point by saying that we all have our own timelines and life is a marathon, not a short race. Every single step forward counts, and every long journey starts from small steps forward.
If you feel that you simply must compare yourself to others who are more successful, then don't forget to realise that there are people who are also lagging behind you.
This can help establish a sense of appreciation for the blessings you've been given.
Remember to always keep your spirits high!
Article medically reviewed by Dr Ng Beng Yeong.
1. Ballenger JC. Anxiety and Depression. The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2000;02(03):71-79. doi:10.4088/pcc.v02n0301
2. Coping with depression – Institute of Mental Health. Imh.com.sg. Published 2010. Accessed January 6, 2020.
3. How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. Psychology Today. Published 2018. Accessed January 6, 2020.