Your mental health can affect numerous aspects of your life from how you feel emotionally and physically to your actions and behaviors. Taking care of yourself and taking steps to improve your mental health can have a very positive impact on your life. Each year, October 10 is celebrated as World Mental Health Day. A time for everyone to reflect, promote awareness, and take action. It is not too late to make a change in your life or get treatment for mental health disorders. There is hope and help available.
There are many ways that you can be proactive in your own mental health and supporting others. For instance, taking the time to recognize when someone is going through a difficult time and showing them you care. You don’t have to solve their problems for them, but providing a listening ear, positive distraction, empathy, or words of encouragement can help. Your small act of kindness and compassion can make a difference in their life and help them to keep moving forward or realize that they need professional mental health care.
Ways You Can Enhance Your Own Mental Health
There are plenty of ways that you can boost your own mental health and well-being to help manage or prevent mental health problems.
Manage Stress: Stress can play a major role in mental health. When life becomes overwhelming, it can take a toll. Learn different strategies for stress relief and figure out what works best for you. Be conscientious about taking on too much responsibility and too many tasks – learn to say no and how to delegate. You don’t have to do everything yourself; it’s okay to ask for help.
Try different things for stress relief such as a relaxing bath, reading a favorite book while sipping tea, practicing meditation or deep breathing, going for a walk, listening to music, journaling, painting, or talking with friends. The options are endless. Make time to do things you enjoy to keep your stress in check and boost your mood.
Stay Active: Exercise releases endorphins which are a natural mood booster. Physical activity is also a great way to burn off excess energy and release tension. If you’re someone who gets bored always doing the same thing, switch it up. Some days you could go to the gym or take a Zumba class. Other days you might want to go for a bike ride, go hiking or running, go swimming, or shoot some hoops. Staying active doesn’t have to mean putting in hours at the gym – there are plenty of other things you can do to mix it up.
Surround Yourself with Positive People: The company you keep can have a big impact on your mental health. If you surround yourself with people who are negative, always complaining, and never seem happy, it can wear off on you. While everyone has a bad day, make sure you’re spending time with people who have a relatively positive outlook and make you feel good. People who motivate, encourage, and inspire you. Look for opportunities where you can meet new people and make new friends who share similar interests.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol: If your go-to solution to a bad day is having a drink or using drugs, this can quickly become problematic. Drugs and alcohol only provide a temporary solution and often make the situation worse. They can end up exacerbating the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders. Focus on healthier ways of working through your problems and cheering yourself up. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, Above It All offers comprehensive treatment and addresses mental health concerns as well. Get the help you need to turn your life around for the better. Long-term recovery is possible.
Engage in Meaningful Work: This could be through your job, or through an activity such as volunteering. Commit a portion of your time to something that makes you happy and makes a difference. This can have a very positive effect on your attitude, outlook, and mental health. If you’re not happy in your job, work on finding a new one. If you’re not happy with where your life is headed, look for opportunities for change.
Look for the Positives: There are positives in every single day if you’re willing to look and change your perspective. Keep a gratitude journal and make it a point to write down two or three things each day that you are grateful for. They don’t have to be huge or life-changing– though some might be – but simply things that you are thankful for. On days when you’re feeling down, you’ll have something to look back on as a pick-me-up and to remind you that there is good in each day.
Seek Therapy or Counseling: There is no shame in seeking help for mental health issues. It is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Be proud of yourself for making your well-being a priority and getting the professional help you need for recovery. If you know someone else who has been facing rough times, encourage them to seek therapy or counseling and let them know that you’re there to support them.
Educate your Children: Mental health should not be a taboo subject – it is something that should be talked about. Help your kids to practice healthy routines and enhance their mental health. If they’re showing signs of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, addiction, or other problems, talk about it. Don’t keep quiet and hope that it will go away or fix itself. Build strong and open communication with your kids and let them know that it’s okay to ask for help.
Above It All incorporates strategies and activities to promote positive mental health for all clients. There is also a specialized program for clients with a dual diagnosis – substance use disorder and mental health disorder – to ensure that their mental health needs are addressed and managed along with their substance use. If you or someone you love is battling addiction or a dual diagnosis, turn to Above It All for comprehensive care.
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- Mental Health America, 31 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health. Accessed March 17, 2016.
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- Psychology Today. 9 Ways You Can Improve Your Mental Health Today. Accessed March 14, 2016.