Mental Health Awareness Month, observed every May, is a time to raise awareness and break the stigma about mental health, and support people with mental illness. In fact, more than half of adults in the United States will be diagnosed with a mental illness—a variety of conditions that affect one’s mood, behavior, feelings or thinking—at some point in their life.
Mental health plays a huge role in your overall health and well-being. It affects everything, including how you think, feel and act, and helps determine how you make healthy choices and cope with stress. Because it’s such a crucial component of your wellness, focusing on maintaining or improving your mental health is important. Here are five ways to boost or prioritize your mental health every day:
- Express gratitude. Taking five minutes daily to write down the things you are grateful for has been proven to lower stress levels and can help you achieve a more positive mindset.
- Get moving. Exercising regularly can benefit your brain function, reduce anxiety and improve your self-image.
- Spend time outdoors. Getting outside, especially when it’s sunny, can greatly improve your mood, which benefits your mental health.
- Be kind. Helping others and being kind not only helps the recipient, but can also benefit your mental health. Simply holding the door for someone or giving a compliment can go a long way.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Fatigued individuals typically experience drowsiness, mood changes, loss of energy and appetite, headaches, and a lack of motivation, concentration and alertness. Strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
Seek help from your primary care doctor or a mental health professional if you’re concerned about your mental health. If you need mental health-related crisis support, or are worried about someone else, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available by calling or texting 988 and chatting online at 988lifeline.org.
Header photo by Simi Iluyomade on Unsplash