February “What’s On Your Mind” article published on Jewish In St. Louis website.
How can I increase my mental health?
Dear JF&CS Therapy Team,
My friends and I were talking about all of the focus in the media about mental illness and wonderedâ€¦..rather than focusing on mental illnessâ€¦.what if the media focused on mental health. That discussion led us to a questionâ€¦.are there really ways for a person to increase their mental health?
Dear Inquiring Minds â€“
You and your friends will be happy to know that there definitely are ways to enhance a person’s mental health. Of course, it is also important to know when it is time to seek professional help for a problem that is interfering with you going about your daily life.
Below are some â€œtipsâ€ for enhancing a person’s mental healthâ€¦.and Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s therapists are available by calling (314) 993-1000, if professional help is ever needed.
Try These 10 Tips to Improve Your Mental Health
Treat yourself with kindness and respect:
Make time for your favorite hobby like doing a daily crossword puzzle or planting a garden; or try something new like playing an instrument or learning another language.
- Take care of your body physically:
Eat nutritious meals; drink plenty of water; avoid smoking; exercise; and, get enough sleep.
- Surround yourself with people who have strong family and social connections:
Make plans with family members and friends who are supportive and seek out activities where you can meet new people.
- Give of yourself:
Volunteer to help someone else. You will feel good about helping someone in need â€” and it is a good way to meet new people
- Learn how to handle stress:
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Use good coping skills like taking a walk, writing in a journal or playing with a pet. Also, try to see the humor in life and smile. Research shows that laughter can reduce stress, strengthen your immune system and even ease pain.
- Learn to quiet your mind:
Try meditating. Relaxation exercises can help you to feel calm.
- Set realistic goals:
Make a decision about what you want to achieve in the next week, month or year and write down the steps you will take to realize your goals. Be realistic and remember that making progress toward your goals is part of the achievement.
- Break up monotony:
We all have routines that make us both more efficient and increase our feelings of security and safety but a little change can be energizing. Take a walk in a different park, or try a new restaurant.
- Avoid alcohol and other drugs:
Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people will use alcohol and other drugs to “self-medicate” but in reality alcohol and other drugs only result in increased problems.
- Seek help when you need it:
Getting help is a sign of strength â€” not a weakness. Remember that treatment is effective and people who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and substance abuse disorders.