The past several decades have seen American society make great strides toward de-stigmatizing mental health issues while also providing a plethora of tools to help individuals manage their mental health.

A whole range of resources including medication, therapy, self-help tutorials, and support groups have risen up to give Americans more access to mental health care than I’ve ever had before.

Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy mental health lifestyle.

1.    Diet:

It would be difficult to overstate how diet impacts full-body health. Eating well doesn’t just impact the physical body can also have tremendous impacts on mental health. A good example of a substance that should be consumed with discretion is caffeine. Caffeine, which is commonly found in coffee, tea, and soft drinks, can provide a temporary feeling of well-being however it can ultimately lead to feelings of anxiety and unease. Maintaining a balanced diet, eating at the right times of day, and sharing meal with friends and family can go a long way toward maintaining mental health.

2.    Exercise:

Much in the same way that diet has positive physical and mental repercussions, getting regular exercise can be a boon to an individual’s mental health. Exercise releases natural hormones that work to make us feel better. Going to the gym, running in the neighborhood, gardening, taking a walk in the park, yard work, dancing, taking part in team sports, and walking the dog are all great examples of how exercise can be worked into our daily schedules.

3.    Taking time to rest:

We live in a culture that values hard work and being on the go. Many individuals tie their self-worth to how many hours they put in at the office, how many extracurricular activities their children are involved in, and how many hobbies they can juggle at any given time. While it is easy to get caught up in this mindset and derive a sense of well-being from it, the simple fact is that this type of schedule and expectations can work against productive mental health. While being active is important, taking the time in your schedule to rest and recover is of paramount importance. There is no better time spent than time taking care of our own mental health.

4.    Educating yourself on your own mental health:

An often overlooked asset that we have and maintaining our mental health is the availability of resources for educating ourselves about mental health issues. In order to fully address the issues in life that are causing stress, depression, and anxiety, a full understanding goes a long way. Being able to pinpoint exactly what’s going on can direct us to the best solution. A certain sense of control over our situations can be attained by better understanding what exactly is happening to us. A treasure trove of self-help literature is available about each specific mental health issue. Just a little research can help those struggling with mental health with how to communicate their concerns which is a great help with the next helpful tip.

5.    Consulting a primary care physician:

There are myriad factors that affect mental health and a primary care physician may be able to identify aspects of physical health that are impacting mental health. These trained medical professionals are sensitive to mental health issues and work to identify potential causes of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and stress. Primary care physicians can also prescribe pharmaceuticals to address some of these needs, but more importantly, they may be able to make a recommendation to see a trained psychologist or psychiatrist help with more severe mental health issues.

6.    Journaling:

Putting thoughts and feelings to paper has long been a way of expressing emotions in a healthy and productive manner. It is an effective way not only to express things that might be difficult to say, but it is also a way to track a mental health journey by way of noting trends and factors that impact an individual’s mental health. A great practice is to write out each day in journal things that we are grateful for. This promotes a positive outlook and helps to divert us from dwelling on the anxiety and depression that might be dominating our lives at the time.

7.    Be patient with yourself:

When we experience a slide in our mental health, it can be easy to become frustrated with ourselves and expect an immediate change in our attitudes and feelings. The fact is, maintaining mental health is an ongoing pursuit that often takes time. There are a host of factors that have to be considered. What are the reasons our health is sliding? What is the best approach to correcting it?

8.    Find the right friend group:

Surrounding yourself with people who love, support, and are present is like a mental health superpower. Just as important as making sure you have good and productive relationships around, it is key to make sure that time spent with those who are disruptive to your mental health is kept to a minimum. Your mental health is a key to a healthy life. Positive and supporting personalities are incredibly important to painting a healthy lifestyle.

9.    Remove drugs and alcohol from your life:

In general, for positive mental health, it is recommended that recreational drugs cease. These drugs can become a crutch and interfere with true progress toward mental health. Additionally, recreational drugs can interfere with medications prescribed by physicians intended to boost mental health. Keeping alcohol consumption in check is also highly recommended. Excessive alcohol use can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

 

Mental health touches every aspect of society

In what can only be considered a very positive sign, discussion about living in a way that supports good mental health is more and more common. Taking the time to understand mental health and apply lifestyle habits that promote it can have a ripple effect that works through the individual, to the family, and all the way through society.

Mental health programs are essential to helping those who are struggling with wellness. PlanStreet is here to help your organization become better equipped to achieve your mission of helping individuals live their lives to their greatest potential. If you are ready to take your mental health case management to the next level, reach out and learn how we can help you today.