• Amber ANN LMSW, MPH,CHES, LMSW

Tips for Promoting Mental Health


May is Mental Health Awareness Month! The purpose of this post is to share evidence based information about practices that can promote mental health. It is not my intention to imply that practicing these behaviors can prevent symptoms of mental illness or that not practicing these behaviors can cause mental illness. My previous post talks about stigma. Please do not use this information to stigmatize anyone who is experiencing mental illness.

With that being said, here are a few evidenced based recommendations for promoting mental health:

Practice Mindfulness

  • Mindfulness involves staying anchored in the present moment.

  • Focusing on the present moment helps me to not live the past or worry about the future.

  • A good way to practice mindfulness is to focus on your breathing. If your mind wonders, that's ok. Just come back to you breath!

  • Mindfulness can reduce negative thinking and emotional reactivity.

  • Mindfulness decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety.

  • Practicing mindfulness can improve quality of life and reduce stress.

Eat Good Mood Food

  • Foods that are rich Omega 3's can help prevent depression and promote memory and concentration. Avocados, greens and chicken are a good sources of Omega-3's!

  • Cheese and chocolate in moderation can promote dopamine production! Dopamine is a feel good hormone that our brains release into our bloodstream. This is music to my ears!

  • This can mean eating your favorite food too! Studies show that eating "palatable" foods can release mood elevating endorphins.

Exercise

  • Research shows that exercise is effective in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms

  • Exercise promotes self esteem and can decrease social withdrawal.

  • You can reap these benefits by walking 30 minutes a day! Both one 30 minute walks or 3, 10 minute walks are equally effective!

What types of things do you like to do that make you feel good? Comment below!

References:

Photo Credit: National Alliance on Mental Illness

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/#i1523-5998-8-2-106-b2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10610080


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