May is Mental Health Awareness Month and has been since 1949. Sometimes it seems as if there is something vying for our attention every week, so it’s fair to ask,“What is mental health and why does it deserve a month of awareness?”
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines mental health as the condition of being sound mentally and emotionally that is characterized by the absence of mental illness and by adequate adjustment especially as reflected in feeling comfortable about oneself, positive feelings about others, and the ability to meet the demands of daily life. This is something we often take for granted, until the stresses of everyday life begin to build up and steal the joy from life. When that happens, we do not feel comfortable about ourselves, nor do we have positive feelings about others, and we often doubt our ability to meet the demands of our daily life. So attending to mental health is vitally important and something not to be neglected!
What steps can we take to care for our Mental Health? It’s actually fairly simple:
- Take time for yourself. Do things you enjoy in order to energize yourself. It doesn’t matter so much what you do, as long as you enjoy doing it.
- Spend time with others who make you feel good. You know how some people drain you by being negative, while others lift you up? Guess which ones you want to spend as much time as possible around!
- Eat as healthfully as possible and move as much as you can. Your brain will thank you for it, and you’ll feel so much better (emotionally, as well as physically).
- Learn something new. Whether it’s how to juggle, a new language, a new app, or a new cuisine, mixing it up will keep you engaged and mentally healthier.
- Be grateful for the small things, as well as the big things. Always practice gratitude.
- Laugh. Especially at yourself! Proverbs 17:2 in the Bible says “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” Keep your heart merry.
If you follow these steps and still find yourself slipping into depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or isolation, remember there is hope and help. Call Mercy Concern at 330-489-1415 to schedule a time to speak with one of our professional counselors.