If you are planning on making a few New Year’s resolutions, consider adding improving your mental health to the top of the list.
Making vows of self improvement can jumpstart a persons enthusiasm as another year approaches. A “clean slate” mentality is often the push people need to adopt a healthier lifestyle. While physical goals such as working out or losing weight often take top precedent in New Year’s resolutions, as a behavioral healthcare provider, KVC Kentucky would like to remind everyone that mental health is just as important.
Lindsay Holmes, Healthy Living Editor for The Huffington Post, shared a recent article highlighting 16 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health In 2016.
“Mental health affects how you think, feel and act on a daily basis, as well as influences how you handle stress, make decisions and connect with others”.
Here are 16 ways anyone can improve their mental health in 2016:
1. Talk to your doctor.
As with any physical transformation, consulting your doctor is a wise first step toward improving your mental health. General physicians can help refer you to a clinician.
At KVC Kentucky, our on-site, board-certified, child psychiatrist Dr. Marc Cruser is able to help clients design a specific treatment plan tailored to their individual needs.
2. Practice gratitude.
The phrase “it’s the small things in life” really can be true. Making sure to acknowledge the things you are thankful for can improve your mental wellbeing.
3. Try meditation.
Practicing meditation for 5 minutes before the day begins and before bed can relieve tension and refresh your mind. Meditation isn’t all about mantras or om’s either. It can be as simple as focusing on breathing in and out while reflecting on your strengths.
4. Write in a journal.
Write it down and forget it! This practice is often recommended by our KVC clinicians as part of client therapy. Studies show that writing in a journal may help clear your mind and give you better self-reflection.
5. Go to therapy.
According to Holmes, “Just like you’d see a doctor for a physical illness, the same standard should apply to mental illness”. Talk therapy is one of the most common forms of therapy that has shown growths in popularity over the past few years.
6. Exercise at least a few times per week.
Aside from helping a persons’ physical health, exercising releases endorphins, a “feel-good” chemical which can help manage depressive symptoms, improving your overall mental health.
7. Lean on your support system.
Social interaction and companionship is imperative to mental health. Call up your good friend to go to dinner one night or go see your loved ones. You may be surprised to find you have more support than you think. One service provided by KVC Kentucky is family therapy, which is designed to address relationships among family members to improve communication skills between them.
8. Educate yourself.
Mary Giliberti, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, says, “It’s important to get educated and empowered. Learn about the conditions and seek out assistance from a professional and other people.”
9. Adopt a well-balanced diet.
Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet will give your mind the boost it needs for better overall health; this includes mental health too.
10. Listen to sad music.
It’s ok to cry every now and then. It’s even ok to sing out that Adele song at the top of your lungs! Purging the bad feelings can boost your mood. Check out this list of “need a good cry” songs.
Change can be good. Going on a trip can help you find a new perspective and give you something to look forward to in the meantime.
In Kentucky, we recommend a hike in Red River Gorge, taking a dip in Lake Cumberland, and exploring Mammoth Cave. Check out a full list of amazing travel sites in Kentucky and plan your next destination.
12. Sleep more.
A lack of sleep can be detrimental to your overall health. Try developing a nighttime routine that will help you unwind and relax. A warm bath, hot, decaffeinated tea, and reading can all help get your mind prepared for a good nights sleep.
13. Do a digital detox.
Social media can make you feel like everyone else’s happiness is staring you in the face. It’s this internal comparison that makes it difficult to focus on the positives in your own life. The best way to shut off these depressive feelings from social media is to turn it off, or at the very least, decrease the time you spend on social media daily.
14. Express kindness toward someone else.
Kindness is catching. Studies show that simply being nice to someone else can make you happier too.
15. Learn to say no.
Practicing self-care is a top priority preached by leadership staff here at KVC Kentucky. It can be easy to become overwhelmed at times in all areas of life. So when the situation allows, speak up and say no if you don’t want to do something. You may find that this empowering two letter word can give you some relief.
16. Talk to others about mental health.
At KVC, our mission is to enrich and enhance the quality of life for individuals, families and communities by providing comprehensive and compassionate medical and behavioral healthcare, social services and education. The only way our culture is going to be freed from the stigma of mental illness is if the conversation continues about it.