“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
The CDC defines mental health as our “emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.”
Today, mental health awareness has a huge platform. Celebrities of all backgrounds advocate for more recognition and understanding. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions affect not only your mindset, but your physical well-being. The CDC reports that the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke increases if depression is a factor. That same report also stated that more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.
Regardless of the reports and statistics, mental illness can be coped with. There are ways to be successful each day. As Christopher Robin most famously said in Winnie the Pooh: “Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
A few tips to boost your mental health:
- Don’t beat yourself up when you’re already feeling down. Read that again.
- If you’re having a rough day, go for a walk and breathe some fresh air. Regular exercise, even if only for a few minutes a day, can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Be sure to eat nutritious foods and drink lots of water. Fueling your body with a balanced diet and plenty of hydration is essential to your overall health and well-being. This also helps to improve your energy and focus.
- Let your body and mind rest. Being short on sleep never made anyone feel better.
- Take a break from electronics before going to bed. Studies show that the blue light produced by our phones and televisions impairs the melatonin production in our body – which results in not getting enough sleep and/or poor sleep quality. We need our beauty sleep!
- It has been proven that shallow breathing increases tension and anxiety in our bodies. So, just take a minute to slow down and breathe deep – get some oxygen flowing. If you are interested, you could try researching some meditation apps/videos.
- Talk to people – whether it’s a friend, family member, or stranger, being social and investing in relationships can improve your mood. Remind yourself that you are not alone.
- Involve yourself in work or activities that make you feel useful or fulfilled. Learn a new skill, develop a different hobby, find a better job, or volunteer in your community.
- If you are really struggling to find support, seek out a professional. When you need help, please ask for it.
If you or someone you know is struggling or having thoughts of suicide, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. This service is confidential, free, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In life-threatening situations, call 911.
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
– Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)