The American Psychological Association has named May 16th a Mental Health Blogging Party in an effort to raise awareness about mental health! I have blogged to raise awareness about mental health in the past (here, and here) and am doing so again today, because I believe it is extremely important!
If you read my blog occasionally, you know that I talk a lot about eating disorders and body image, as well as the role of the media and its impact on beauty ideals. The diet industry is notorious for distorting what true physical health looks like. As a result, there are countless books, programs, plans, etc that are designed to promote physical health. While I am all for being healthy, I think that it is important to define what true health really looks like. True physical health is not about dieting, it's not about restricting, it's not about fitting into your skinny jeans. I believe that health goes beyond the physical. Spiritual health, emotional health and mental health are all part of the equation.
What promotes positive mental health?
- Social Support- friendships, being involved in a community..
- Sleep!! 7-9 hours a night!
- Vitamin D- getting a little bit of sunlight can do the trick. Just don't forget to wear sunscreen!
- Moving around and being active can reduce stress and boost your mood!
- Participation in random (and not so random) acts of kindness. Being kind to others and having a positive impact on other people can increase self-esteem and make you feel good!
- Reducing stress, worries and negative thinking.
- Fostering your spiritual health!!
- Laugh! Have fun. Do things that make you smile.
If you find that you are practicing many of these things, and you are having difficulty getting a handle on your mental health or mood, then counseling might be a good option for you! Counseling is a great opportunity to talk to an objective person, who can help you sort out some of your feelings and thoughts, and who can provide some tools to help you manage and alleviate some of the stress that you are experiencing. Many people have a misconception about counseling- which is that you have to be really, really out of sorts in order to pursue it. While feeling out of sorts is a good motivation to pursue counseling, you might be surprised to find that some people who are very healthy pursue it in order to sort out different feelings, thoughts, and experiences! Just like sick and well people visit the doctor, the same goes for therapy! Maintaining your mental health is a crucial part of your overall health, and is something to consider at different stages in life! In honor of the APA's Mental Health Blogging Party, consider today how you might work to improve your mental health!