Mental Health Awareness Month

May 10,2016

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Paige MadorShare This PostIcon

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and a great time for everyone, regardless of any mental health disorder, to step back and take stock of their mental health. As we know, this topic has been receiving more attention over the past several years – in fact, 18% of the adult population of the United States is living with a mental illness according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This equals roughly 57 million Americans – obviously a number that deserves our attention. What’s important to recognize is that mental health is not just about the mental illness. Like making preventive measures to protect our physical health, we must take care of ourselves emotionally as well. There are so many ways to manage your mental health:

  1. Exercise – Exercise is a great way to deal with stress and anxiety. According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, physical activity has positive effects on the mood in both the short and long term. A 2007 study of adults with depression revealed that patients on an exercise plan had the same level of relief as those taking an antidepressant medication. For more tips, check out this article from the Huffington Post.
  2. Meditation – Meditation is more accessible today than it has ever been. No longer just for monks or yogis, it is being recognized as an effective coping strategy for every day stress. Although it may sound intimidating, there are many easily-accessible guided meditation programs that make the practice available to almost anyone. For more information, check out this blog post from Harvard Health. Many people find yoga incredibly beneficial as well – here is an interesting article from Psychology Today about the mental health benefits of yoga.
  3. Eat well – Correlations between diet and mental health have only just begun being researched, but some studies have shown that whole, nutrient-dense foods have a positive effect on your mental and emotional well-being. Research has shown that poor diet results in concentration and memory issues. Check out this interesting article from the Washington Post.
  4. Talk to someone – Whether it’s a trusted friend, a family member, a licensed therapist, or a support group – talk about it! Years of research have shown us that getting things off our chests can help us to cope better with life’s stressors. Journaling can also be helpful. Check out this article from the Huffington Post about why counseling is beneficial for everyone.
  5. Get enough sleep – A good night’s sleep is essential for stress management and mental health. Our brains need time to reset! For more information, check out this article from Harvard Health.

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