It seems like just yesterday that we were setting our intentions for the New Year, and already it’s May. 😱 As Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day celebrations abound, we are reminded that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to increase our knowledge, appreciation, and understanding of those living with mental health conditions and to spread the message that everyone’s mental health deserves attention. In that spirit, Pear Nova is partnering with the experts, advocates, and leaders of NAMI Chicago, who have served individuals in Chicago impacted by mental health conditions since 1979, to promote mental health awareness and encourage healing on a community level. This month, a portion of proceeds from sales of One Piece Wonder will be donated to NAMI Chicago to further its mission of supporting individuals on their mental health journey.
Mental health includes our social, emotional + psychological well-being and is an essential element in our overall health and fitness. It affects how we think, feel, and act and plays a critical role in our daily interactions and lifelong relationships. Positive mental health can help us achieve our dreams, care for our families, and improve our communities. And in the same way that our physical health requires consideration and care, our mental health must also be properly attended to. If you’re looking for ways to improve your mental health, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s walk through seven ways to enhance mental well-being.
Just as poor mental health can contribute to physical health issues, inadequate physical health can be detrimental to our mental well-being. Think about how exhausted you feel when you don’t get enough sleep or the burst of energy you receive from working out. The connection between physical and mental health is essential, and experts recommend good nutrition, ample rest, and physical activity to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. Improving our physical health helps our mental health too.
If you want to reduce stress in your life, research suggests practicing gratitude. By expressing feelings of appreciation to ourselves + others, we can boost dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that help regulate feelings of happiness, pleasure, and well-being. Ways to show gratitude include practicing daily affirmations, journaling, and giving back to others. One small act of thanks can make a huge difference.
Connecting with family and friends can be an integral part of maintaining positive mental health. When interacting with others and building social connections, we’re more focused on the present and less likely to feel depressed. Want a double dose of good vibes? Try volunteering at a local charity organization. You’ll feel grateful and connected.
Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and physical illness, while moderate alcohol consumption is associated with improved cognitive performance and reduced symptoms of depression. Cutting down on alcohol consumption can help improve physical health, stress levels, and cognition. So if you’ve been considering ways to improve your mental and physical health, decreasing alcohol intake may do the trick.
Adopting a hobby can increase mental and physical engagement, ease anxiety, and reduce stress. By rediscovering your interests, talents, and strengths, you can recharge, recenter, and remember how gifted you truly are. Hobbies can be creative pursuits like painting and playing an instrument or physical activities like running or playing a sport. No matter what interests you pursue, having a hobby can help improve your mental health substantially.
The mental health benefits of nature seem endless, as nature has been found to improve sleep, reduce stress, cultivate feelings of happiness, and promote positive social interaction. Connecting with nature also increases calmness, concentration, and creativity. Studies have shown that even small doses of nature, such as houseplants and single flowers, can enhance mindfulness and well-being.
If you’ve tried to improve your mental health and are still experiencing severe or distressing symptoms, don’t be afraid to seek help. Talk to your primary care provider or reach out to a mental health specialist to reclaim your mental stability. Know that you are not alone and that help is always just one call away. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, contact NAMI Chicago’s Helpline at 833.626.4244 or SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1800.662.HELP.
For more ways to boost your mental health, try these tips + share your strategies for maintaining positive mental health with us in the comments below. And don’t forget to join our CEO + Founder, Rachel James, and Jacqueline Lauren Yates for an Instagram Live Yoga Session on 05.28.22 @ 11 am CST.
My mental health hasn’t been the best these past couple of years, and since it doesn’t seem to be improving at all, I was thinking of seeking professional help for a proper diagnosis soon. It was assuring when you told us that we aren’t alone and help can be just one call away, which is why we should try to reach out to a mental health specialist to help us deal with the symptoms and reclaim our mental stability. I’ll be sure to do so once I find a mental health clinic to visit soon for an appointment. https://www.themyndclinic.com/
Great information! As a Heath Educator it is key to know and be active with the essentials of life. Some will have their own thoughts on essentials for living a better life or at least strive to do so, but by me saying essentials I mean the dimensions of Health, ie. Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual, Social & Environmental Health.
Keep the content coming Keandrea Kelly! I love your simple way of drawing the readers in and the educational gains from your words! Writing and speaking is powerful..
So many helpful tips here! There are so many alternatives we can take to improve our mental health ourselves. We just have to be willing to take the first steps and be consistent.
Depression was kicking my ass at one point, and still do every now and again. But connection with nature and it’s energy helped A LOT!
Mental health is so important and many of us neglect it unfortunately. I notice when I make it a priority my mood changes for the better. Thank you so much for your great tips!
I’m guilty of neglecting my mental health. We do not always focus on our mental health as we do our physical illnesses. There is a great correlation between the two. It is indeed essential to acknowledge our mental health because it does affect our physical health. In this article, you have provided pivotal information on how we can enhance our mental well-being. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Another great read!!!!
D. White Lindsey
As a Mental Health Professional, I know this all too well and stress self care to my clients and those around me often. This is great advice and I’ll definitely forward this information along.
Thanks for the reminder of boosting my mental health, often I try to ensure those around me needs are met and tend to neglect my mental health. I’m going to incorporate more physical activity, journaling, and nature into my daily living. Great advice!