The Importance of Your Mental Health

In 1949, Mental Health America designated May as Mental Health Month with a goal of encouraging everyone to better understand the importance of mental health. Your mental health refers to your emotional, social, and psychological wellness. This year, the theme is Look Around, Look Within to focus on how your surroundings — including but not limited to secure housing, safe neighborhoods, and robust social connections — affect your mental health.

For today’s blog post, let’s consider five ways to improve your mental health.

1. Fit exercise into your daily routine.

Did you know studies show that just 30 minutes of walking per day helps to brighten your mood and improve your health? If needed, you can break it up into smaller segments — like a 15-minute walk after breakfast and another 15-minute walk during your lunch break. 

2. Prioritize your sleep.

To ensure you get at least seven hours of sleep each night, stick to a consistent bedtime and wake time. Do your best to avoid blue light exposure from your phone, tablet, or television before bed. A well-rested mind and body will help you be your best self for the day ahead!

3. Find activities that help you relax.

It’s important that you unwind after a stressful moment or busy day. You may want to try meditation or breathing exercises with guidance from an app like Calm or Headspace. Other options include reading a book (better yet, a self-help book!), journaling, coloring, practicing yoga, or doing a puzzle. Learning a new skill, like knitting or woodworking, also helps to build your mental fortitude. 

4. Practice gratitude.

At the beginning or end of each day, think about five reasons to be grateful. You can replay them in your mind or write them in a journal. This exercise will help you to find happiness and positivity in your life, no matter what challenges or setbacks you face.

5. Foster your social connections.

Research reveals numerous benefits of quality time with friends and family. One study found that a key difference between very happy people and less happy people was strong relationships. Additionally, during a nine-year study, people with good community ties were two or three times less likely to die, meaning they had an increased life span. Lastly, a more social life can mean better health, as loneliness is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure. 

If you experience mental health struggles that last for more than two weeks, it’s time to seek professional help.

Concerning issues include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Appetite changes that lead to unwanted weight gain or weight loss
  • Struggling to get out of bed in the morning because of energy or mood
  • Difficulty focusing on daily tasks
  • Loss of interest in your hobbies

Together, we can raise awareness about the importance of your mental health when it comes to your overall well being.

In closing, I want to encourage you to take time to check-in with yourself this month. Use this opportunity to connect with your loved ones, learn more about what makes you you, and seek help if needed. 

Contact Dr. Asha Tota-Maharaj, MD at Platinum Primary Care with all your healthcare needs. Come visit us at 2071 Dundee Drive in Winter Park.