The following information adapted with permission from Mental Health America, a national non-profit mental health advocacy organization.
When we're trying to manage life's stresses, how we deal with these pressures can positively or negatively impact our mental health and our overall health and well-being. Finding healthy ways to manage life's challenges can lower the risk of mental health and other health problems and help you feel better overall. Here are some ideas to think about.
1. Connect with others.
Meaningful relationships with others help us to have a balanced view of ourselves and contribute to good mental health. We need to learn to give and forgive to be able to maintain friendships and relationships.
You don't have to cope with stress or other issues on your own. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, support group or counselor can make you fell better. Spending time with positive, loving people you care about and trust can ease stress and improve your mood.
2. Relax your mind. Each person has his or her own way to relax. You can relax by listening to soothing music, reading a book or doing a quiet activity. Art is an excellent activity to relax the mind as well. Also, praying, walking, and massage or massage therapy can also be positive ways to relax.
Balanced exercise helps is a positive for mental health. It releases serotonin in the brain, which works better than Prozac for depression, and is natural, with only positive side effects.
Exercising relieves your tense muscles, improves your mood and sleep, and increases your energy and strength. In fact, researches say that exercise eases symptoms of anxiety and depression. You many not even need to exercise intensely to get the benefits of activity. Try taking a brisk walk or use a stationary bike. Better yet, get a real bike and ride regularly outdoors! Some have found swimming to be such a positive exercise as well.
4. Get Enough Rest. Getting enough sleep helps you recover form the stresses of the day. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Visit the Sleep Foundation at www.sleepfoundation.org for tips on get a better night's sleep. Take the TV out of the bedroom, avoid stimulating music, TV or movies before bed. Avoid any caffeine or large meals at nighttime. Play relaxing music or quiet reading at your bed before going to sleep.
5. Help Others. Helping others builds social networks, improves self-esteem and can give you a sense of purpose and achievement. This goal can be reflected in the type of work one chooses or pursue as well. "There is more happiness in giving than in receiving." Know your limits. Let others know them, too. If you're overwhelmed at home or work, or with friends. Learn how to say "no." It may feel uncomfortable at first, so practice saying "no" with the people you trust most.
6. Keep a journal.
Keeping a journal can help you organize your thoughts, and gain insight. It can be therapeutic and help relieve your mind of worries about the past and present.
Writing down your thoughts can be a great way to work through issues. Some researches have reported that writing about painful events can reduce stress and improve health. You can also track your sleep to help you identify any triggers that make you feel more anxious.
7. Watch your negative self-talk. Try not to put your self down. For example, if you don't make It to the gym this week, don't call yourself lazy. Instead think about the specific factor that may have kept you from going to the gym. "I wasn't able to work out because I had to work late hours this week, but next week, I'll make it a priority to go." The problem is temporary and can be overcome.
8. Get involved in spiritual activities.
Clinical studies indicate that developing your spirituality can result in improved mental, and sometimes, physical health.
Studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, such as greater coping skills, less anxiety and a lower risk of depression. Spirituality may provide a sense of hope, meaning and purpose in life, a way to understand suffering and illness, and a connection with others.
Religious and spiritual practices, such as prayer and [Bible reading], can evoke positive emotions that can lead to better health.
9. Write down three good things that happen to you each day for a week. Also write down why each good thing happened. Thinking about the good things will help you stay positive and have a win-win attitude.
Source: Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org/
10. Here is a 10th (bonus) tip: Turn off the TV and take up art. It relaxes the mind, gives a bit of inner peace, and gets you away from all that depressing news!