MyMichigan Health Provides Tips to Maintain a Good Mental Health
Mental health plays a big role a person’s overall well-being. When mentally healthy, life is more enjoyable, activities are fun, relationships stay strong, and stress can be dealt with more easily. It’s normal for one’s mental health to shift over time due to life circumstances or physical/chemical changes in the brain. The pandemic has shown us the importance of working on our mental health and wellbeing as the nation faced, and continues to face, unprecedented challenges.
MyMichigan Health knows the relationship between one’s physical body and mental health is important. Creating positive habits and building skills that support good mental health will help when facing a challenge, including managing a mental health condition. MyMichigan offers a comprehensive mental health program with experts trained to assist patients at all levels of care: in-patient, crisis contacts, intensive out-patient and office-based care.
Recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month, MyMichigan Health recommends the following tips to maintaining good mental health:
- Food choices and nutrition – The stomach is often called the “second brain” communicating with the brain physically through nerves and chemically through hormones and neurotransmitters. The stomach is sensitive to emotions such as anger, anxiety, sadness and joy. The brain reacts to signals from the stomach. Eating nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, whole grains, nuts and avocados can keep the gut healthy and support a healthy brain.
- Exercise – Regular physical activity improves mood, self-esteem, brain functions and sleep. Just 15 minutes of intense exercise at a time, ten times a week can help prevent symptoms of depression. Walk the dog, play tag with the kids, or do floor exercises during a commercial break. Choose activities that are easy fit into your daily schedule.
- Sleep – The quality of sleep is just as important as the number of hours of sleep. Sleep affects mood, the ability to learn, organ health, immune system and helps the body re-energize its cells and clear out toxins. Good sleep equates to being asleep 85 percent of the time one’s in bed, falling asleep within 30 minutes and waking up no more than once per night for no longer than 20 minutes.
- Stress Management – Stress is a normal part of life, and a little stress can be motivating to accomplish goals. However, too much stress can have physical effects on the body such as increased blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and blood flow to muscles. Learning how to manage stress can consist of a small change but can have big, positive impacts on physical and mental health. Set realistic expectations, shed the superhero urge, tackle one task at a time, exercise, vent with a friend, and consider taking a deep cleansing breath or temporarily removing yourself from the stressors to return when feeling calmer.
- Build a support system – Having supportive people that you can relate to or lean on goes a long way to improving mood and general well-being. Humans are social beings, and our brains are wired to seek connection. A strong support system often prevents mental health issues from becoming unmanageable and can improve overall outcomes when recovering from a mental health condition. Connect with people who share a hobby, consider volunteering and focus on enhancing quality relationships.
Keep in mind that mental illness is a medical condition that is treatable. MyMichigan Health has a team of experts to help. Those interested in learning more about MyMichigan’s team may visit mymichigan.org/mentalhealth.