ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — According to the CDC, about one in five Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year. May is Mental Health Awareness month, and it’s a good time to take a look at your habits. There are some simple things you can do to improve your mental health.
More than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lives. But some small steps can make a big difference.
David Baker, PhD, Psychotherapist and Performance Management says, “We have to look deep inside, I think, and ask ourselves, ‘honestly, What am I struggling with?’ and it’s not often the obvious thing.”
Just being aware of your mental health status is an important step. Also, practice daily deep breathing. Studies show this habit can help regulate your heart rate and nervous system. And keep a daily gratitude journal. Simply writing down two things you are grateful for over two weeks can lessen depression and anxiety.
Doctor Baker says, “Mental health is about being able again to find a joy or a contentment in something simple.”
Also, engage in play! Research shows being playful can lower stress and improve healthy coping strategies when you’re faced with difficult situations. Another must: make sure you get enough sunlight. Vitamin D helps regulate your mood, metabolism, immune system, and more. Experts recommend 10 to 30 minutes of midday sunlight several times a week to maintain levels of vitamin D. Lastly: prioritize a sleep routine. Try to wake up at the same time each day, avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed, and expose yourself to light right when you wake up. With simple ways to improve your mental health.
Therapy is another great way to maintain good mental health. There are lots of online, virtual options for therapy sessions, including BetterHelp, Talkspace, and MBLIVE.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Bob Walko, Editor.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH: REPLACING BAD THOUGHTS
BACKGROUND: Mental illnesses are health conditions that involve changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior, and can be associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work, or family activities. Nearly one in five U.S. adults experience some form of mental illness. Mental illnesses can take many forms. Some are mild and only interfere in limited ways with daily life, such as phobias, or abnormal fears. Other mental illnesses are so severe that a person may need hospital care. Like other medical illnesses, the optimal ways to provide care depend on the illness and the severity of its impact.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: It’s not always obvious when a problem with mood or thinking becomes serious enough to be a mental health concern. Sometimes, a low or depressed mood is normal, such as when a person experiences the loss of a loved one. But if that depressed mood continues to cause distress or gets in the way of normal functioning, the person may benefit from professional care. The diagnosis of a mental disorder is not the same as a need for treatment. The need for treatment takes into consideration how severe the symptoms are, how much symptoms cause distress and affect daily living, the risks and benefits of available treatments, among other factors. Treatment is based upon an individualized plan developed collaboratively with a mental health clinician and an individual. It may include psychotherapy, medication, or other treatments. Often a combination of therapy and medication is most effective.
RESEARCH IN MANAGING MENTAL HEALTH: A new study, out of the University of South Australia, shows that physical activity is 1.5 times more effective than counseling or medications when it comes to managing depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise interventions that were 12 weeks or shorter were the most effective at reducing mental health symptoms, highlighting the speed at which physical activity can make a change. The largest benefits were seen among people with depression, pregnant and postpartum women, healthy individuals, and people diagnosed with HIV or kidney disease. “Physical activity is known to help improve mental health. Yet despite the evidence, it has not been widely adopted as a first-choice treatment,” said lead UniSA researcher, Dr. Ben Singh. This study is the first to evaluate the effects of all types of physical activity on depression, anxiety, and psychological distress in all adult populations.
* For More Information, Contact: David Baker, PhD, LLC
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