About 16 million Americans have major depression. Forty million Americans have anxiety. And millions more have other mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Health care has long been focused on physical health. But these days, experts recognize the importance of mental health — and just how much these common mental health conditions affect our lives each day.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. So in this post, our team of psychiatrists and therapists at Boston Neuro Behavioral Associates shares tips to boost your mental health this month and all year round.
Get to know yourself
It’s no secret that life today is fast-paced. It’s easy to get swept up in busy calendars, work projects, and family obligations while forgetting to check in with yourself.
But supporting your mental health means taking the time to identify how you’re feeling and what you need in the moment. Learn what hobbies and activities help you relax and recharge, and make time for those activities in your routine.
Set goals for yourself in your personal and professional life. Pick goals that will encourage you to grow, but keep them realistic so you can achieve them and reap the rewards of your hard work.
Positive thinking can improve your mental wellbeing, but for many people with depression, simply thinking happy thoughts isn’t enough to make a change. Whether you have depression or not, practicing gratitude can have a positive effect on your mental state.
Consider taking a moment each day to write down things you’re grateful for. Carving out time to focus on things that you’re thankful for can help you see the good in even difficult times.
Find healthy ways to manage stress
Everyone deals with stress. Whether it’s at work, at school, or at home, high stress levels can take a real toll on your mental health. Stress can increase anxiety and make you more likely to feel depressed, but managing stress can go a long way in supporting your mental wellbeing.
Find activities that you enjoy, such as reading or exercising, that give you the opportunity to unwind. Consider trying deep breathing or meditation to relax, release muscle tension, and even your lower blood pressure.
Don’t forget your physical health
Your mental and physical wellbeing are interconnected, so prioritizing physical health can help you feel better mentally.
To support your mental health, get enough sleep each night. Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that can lead to poor mental health. Find ways to establish a healthy sleep routine that helps you get high-quality sleep and wake up refreshed each day.
Regular physical activity improves your mood and relieves stress naturally. Eating a healthy diet gives your body energy, and might also lower stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and other bad habits like smoking and vaping.
Consider going to therapy
Building a supportive group of friends and family can help you improve your mental wellbeing, but there’s nothing wrong with seeking help when you need it. If you feel overwhelmed in your daily life or you're looking for ways to prioritize your mental health, professional therapy can give you specific tools to navigate your life successfully.
Our Boston Neuro Behavioral Associates team is here to support you and give you the knowledge you need to feel your best. To schedule a consultation, call the office nearest you or contact us online.