10 Tips for Mental Wellness in 2015

It’s the start of a new year and a great time to focus on our overall health. Good nutrition and daily exercise are important to start the year off right, but don’t forget about your mental health. As with our physical health, sometimes we are doing well and other times we could use some help. Working on your mental wellness now may help you face challenges down the road.

There are many ways to improve or maintain mental wellness, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it’s important to seek what is right for you. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of California has a database of classes, events and support groups that can provide additional support if you need to talk about mental health. Another great resource is Mental Health America’s website with information on how to achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives. Practicing mindfulness can also help strengthen your brain. Read more about it here.

Here are 10 tips from Mental Health America for mental wellness in 2015. Click on each for additional tools.

  • Connect with others – Research has demonstrated the benefits of social connection, including increased happiness, better health and a longer life.
  • Stay positive – Thinking negatively can drag down our moods, our actions and even our health. Instead foster optimism, practice gratitude and think positively.
  • Be physically active – Daily physical activity an help your mood by decreasing stress, anger and tension as well as reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Help others – Research indicates that those who consistently help other people experience less depression, greater calm, fewer pains and better health. They may even live longer.
  • Get plenty of sleep – There are many tasks that fill our to-do list, but research shows that you’re more likely to succeed at your tasks—and enjoy greater well-being—if you get some serious shuteye.
  • Create joy and satisfaction – Did you know laughing decreases pain and promotes muscle relaxation? Creating avenues of good feelings can boost your ability to bounce back from stress, solve problems, think flexibly and even fight disease.
  • Eat well – Food can boost your energy and fuel your brain, and good nutrition can help at times of stress. According to a recent survey, nearly half of Americans overeat or eat unhealthy food to cope with stress. If you are feeling stressed, find healthier ways to feel better like taking a walk. 
  • Take care of your spirit – Spirituality can mean something different for everyone. Connect to what you find meaningful. Whether it is in a higher power, other people, in nature or kindness, spirituality offers many possible benefits including better mood and less anxiety.
  • Deal better with hard times – At some point in our lives, most of us will face times that are extra stressful. At those times, having strong coping strategies can make a huge difference. Research shows those who spent time writing about a difficult event had better health and less depression. 
  • Get professional help if you need it – If the problems in your life are stopping you from functioning well or feeling good, professional help can make a big difference. Remember that you don’t have to be in a crisis to seek help. A mental health professional can help with coping strategies and problem solving.