May is not just the beginning of summer — for a lot of people, it is also Mental Health Awareness Month. A month for us to come together and raise awareness, fight against stigma, and advocate for education and support for all of those in need. Here are two statistics just to give you an idea of the current state of mental health:
- An estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older – about 1 in 4 adults – suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder each year.
- Nearly half of all Americans struggling with their mental health are untreated, due either to a lack of health care or a lack of knowledge about how to best address their struggles.
For many, I know what you’re thinking: Yes, that’s important but that’s not me. I don’t have a mental health disorder. The truth is that if you’re alive and conscious, you have to be aware of your mental health.
Mental health is not just having a problem but it’s our psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It is the filter you see the world through. It is what influences the thoughts and feelings we have as well as our choices and actions in everyday life.
The World Health Organization describes mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes their potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and can contribute to their community.”
Given that definition, I think we all could agree we need better mental health. Who doesn’t want less stress, anxiety, and better relationships?
The Journey to Mental Fitness: Tips and Action Steps
“Mental fitness” is a term that’s gaining traction in the world of mental health. When we think about our health, most only react to problems they are having. Why not be proactive? Why just manage mental health conditions when we can proactively build mental strength and resilience? Just as we work out to increase physical fitness or lose weight, mental fitness is a process to build and improve our mental health muscles.
“Mental fitness” is not a goal with a finish line. It is a continuous process, a journey that we embark on every day. It involves nurturing our mental health and building resilience to face life’s challenges. Here are some tips and action steps to help you on your journey to mental fitness:
- Practice Mindfulness by being fully present and engaged in the current moment. It’s about acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations without judgment.
- Regular Exercise is not just good for your body, but also for your mind. Regular exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve your mood, and boost your overall mental well-being.
- Balanced Diet can significantly affect your mood and energy levels. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can provide the nutrients necessary for good mental health.
- Quality Sleep is essential for mental fitness. Lack of sleep can exacerbate mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
- Social connections can greatly improve your mental fitness. Spend time with supportive friends and family, join clubs or groups with similar interests, or consider volunteering in your community.
- Seek Professional Help and please don’t hesitate If you’re struggling with your mental health
Remember, mental fitness is a journey, not a destination. It’s okay to not be perfect and have ups and downs. It’s also okay to ask for help. Every step you take towards mental fitness, no matter how small, is a victory worth celebrating.
Mental Health Awareness Month: A Call to Action
Mental Health Awareness Month is a call to action for everyone to take their mental fitness seriously. It’s a time to learn more, start conversations, reduce stigma, and help others feel less alone in their struggles. It’s also a time to focus on our own mental fitness, a time to step back and take steps to improve our mental fitness, and to encourage others to do the same. By understanding the current state of mental health and the concept of mental fitness, we can all contribute to a healthier, more understanding society. Remember, mental fitness is not a destination, but a journey, and every step you take is a step in the right direction.
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