A Healthy Life is a Healthy Mind
With nearly 44 million Americans affected by mental illness during any given year, mental health and wellbeing is an important part of our overall health and lifestyle. As many as 21 percent or more children ages 13-18 will experience a severe mental health disorder. Mental illness does not discriminate – it can affect anyone at any time in life.
This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is Fitness #4Mind4Body with the goal of educating the public on the dual importance of taking care of our mental health as we take care of our bodies. Mental health is important for physical health just like our physical health is important for a healthy mind. Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and a healthy sleep schedule are important in reducing the risk of disorders like depression and anxiety.
Some things you can do to promote good mental health and wellbeing include:
Get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Eat a healthy diet with a focus on whole grains, vegetables, lean meats and healthy unsaturated fats.
Avoid processed foods and those with excess amounts of sugar, salt and fat.
Exercise at least 30 minutes each day.
Focus on positive conversations and activities with positive people.
Practice relaxation techniques and meditation.
Take time for yourself doing activities you enjoy like exercise, reading or journaling.
Be Mindful with Meditation
The practice of meditation is rapidly gaining popularity, with many people realizing its benefits like stress management, relaxation and becoming more present. Want to give it a try? Learn more about how to meditate and some of the health benefits here.
You can use meditation to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration. People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance.
Here are some science-based health benefits of meditation:
Read the full list here.
Need to relax quickly? Try belly breathing! It's a simple and effective way to manage a stressful situation or to simply relax. Here is how:
Belly Breathing Exercise
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position..
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out.
- Breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling.
- Do this breathing exercise 3-10 times.