How often do you feel “not yourself”?
Are you the one everyone doesn’t worry about?
Are there times when you want to yell, “I’m tired of being strong!”?
The health of our mind is a national public issue according to The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. May is Mental Health Month.
Mental health affects everyone and this year’s focus is on the health of our youth and social connectivity.
What is a mental health?
According to Mental Health America, mental health is how well an individual “…copes with daily life and the challenges it brings.” As adults we hope and believe that we are able to roll with the punches but for our children, it can be quite challenging.
It is estimated that only one in three teens with a mental disorder receives treatment, and Hispanic and Black teens are less likely to receive services for mood and anxiety disorders. I remember one of the hardest things to do as a teen was to talk to my parents. I was afraid and I didn’t always know what was bothering me or why I was feeling a particular way. Plus, how could I articulate what was wrong to them when I could barely sort it out in my head?!?
Mood and anxiety disorders often have depression in common. Mental Health America states that about “…20% of the U.S. population reports at least one depressive symptom in a given month.”
Wow, I’m not alone. AND that is it: you, me, we are not alone!
Flipping into the positive
Live your Life Well (www.liveyourlifewell.org) offers 10 tips to help you feel better. Here is my take on four of them:
1. Put Down the Phone (aka get off the computer, put away the video game)
My fiance and I went out for dinner the other night and as we were looking over the menu, I noticed something alarming. The vast majority of individuals were dis-connected! Conversations were mumurs of “hmm, I see, oh really” mixed in with the quick glances at the phone for a missed call, text message, or other update. What was worse was seeing a family eating in practical silence since the kids were too busy with their phones to socialize. In my day, I would have been slapped (ahem, disciplined) for such disrepectful behavior and yet these children are getting away with it. Tip 1: Connect with Others
Physical activity reduces stress, anxiety and depression. It also helps with weight management and boosts your immune system. Plus being active is a chance to get away from it all and sort through the day’s stresses. Tip 3: Get Physically Active
3. Nourish through nutrition
According to Liveyourlifewell, nearly half of us overeat or eat unhealthy food to cope with stress. However, this is the time we need to eat even better and keep it within proportions. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter in our brains that helps elevate mood, control appetite, regulate sleep and other functions. Vitamin B6 helps convert the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include animal protein, as well as, carrots, bananas, and prune juice. To learn more about vitamin B6 click here. Tip 7: Eat Well
4. Flipping into the positive
It is easy to get sucked into the pit of negativity and easier to stay in it when you find yourself surrounded by negative company. Trying to find the bright side, acknowledging and living in the good aspects may start an upward trend. Try this: Say “good morning” to at least one person once a week and then gradually increase it to seven days a week. The simple act of saying a sincere good morning with a smile helps put others at ease and is a great way to start the day. Tip 2: Stay Positive
It is easy to put on a fake smile and be strong. It is easy to get lost in our online lives. It is not easy to recognize our feelings or why they are occurring. And it is not easy to flip things to the positive but doing so may help you cope with life’s stresses, challenges and lead you to mental harmony.
If you feel your children or yourself are experiencing depression, please consult your doctor or contact a mental health professional right away.