May is National Mental Health Month which makes this the perfect time to talk about how we’re feeling. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, estimates that 43.8 million adults in the United States experience mental illness in a given year.
Mental health is our emotional, psychological and social well-being that affects how we feel, think, and act. Troubles with your mental health could be due to any number of reasons including family history, trauma from divorce, loss of a loved one, etc. or even your own genetic make-up.
Symptoms of mental health problems can range from frequent feelings of sadness to withdrawing from family, friends, and activities you once enjoyed, to intense mood swings and unjustified fears, worries, or feelings of guilt. If this sounds like you, don’t worry, we know a few ways to help you achieve and maintain positive mental health.
Talk as much as you want. It’s very important to discuss your feelings. You can talk with a family member, friends, a counselor - it doesn’t matter, just as long as you don’t bottle up your thoughts. Opening up about what you’re thinking and feeling can help you cope when you feel troubled, hence, preserving your mental health.
Get back to doing things you enjoy - it will enhance your self-esteem. If you love to paint or draw, pick up some supplies and get to work. If knitting, crocheting, or crafting brings you joy, then hop to it. Any activity you can get lost in, is a good thing! By letting your love for an activity take you away, you’ll likely find that your stress is less.
Meditation may be the answer. It has been shown to instill calmness while clearing your mind. Set aside 10-minutes each day to sit in a quiet, non-disturbed space. You may find that this quiet activity proves to be an effective stress-buster - giving your mental health a necessary daily boost.
Don’t lose sight of healthy habits. Eating right and feeling good about yourself go hand-in-hand. When you indulge in cheeseburgers, potato chips and soft drinks, you are setting your body up for a crash - both physically and mentally. Vitamin-rich foods will boost your energy, your mood, and more importantly, your brain power.
Spend time with the people you love. Alone time is important, but don’t let it consume you. Surrounding yourself with caring individuals will help reduce, even eliminate negative feelings. Research gathered by Mental Health America found that 71% of individuals who were surveyed, turned to their family or friends in times of stress. Don’t be afraid to lean on a shoulder when it’s there.
Mental illness touches individuals from all walks of life - regardless of their financial or social status. Touchette Regional Hospital can help. Our expanded Behavioral Health & Wellness Center offers high-quality outpatient and inpatient care. The experts at Touchette offer a welcoming environment combined with an exceptional clinical staff and evidence-based best practices. Call today at 618.332.5374 and take control of your mental health.