Surround yourself with positive people to protect your mental health.
Mental fitness is very important in helping us maintain good mental health, say experts.

Researchers agree that good feelings can boost your ability to deal with stress, solve problems, think flexibly and even fight diseases.

They say that taking care of yourself mentally by staying in a state of "joy and satisfaction" is an important part of good mental health.

While many of us may agree with these experts, sometimes it may seem like it’s easier said than done. And for some, the journey of taking care of one's mental health might be too far-fetched, it’s still not clear why staying positive is such a priority.

At least one in three South Africans suffers from some form of mental disorder, with depression contributing to more than 40% of the mental illness burden.

Jogini Packery, a psychologist and head of student services at the South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP), says: "Our mental health is based on how we see, think, feel and act towards the world It regulates how we understand the world, position ourselves within it, and how we behave in relation to others."

Lameze Abrahams, the head psychology at Lentegeur Hospital, says taking care of our mental health means attending to all aspects of our well-being, including our bodies, emotions, relationships, and communities.

* Learn to challenge self-criticism, and re-frame this with positive affirmations .

* Take care of your body by exercising, drinking enough water, eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep.

* Avoid cigarettes and alcohol.

* Surround yourself with good social support.

* Learn skills to manage the stressors of life.

* Ensure that you take medication as prescribed.