Sponsored Editorial provided by Oasis: The Center for Mental Health
Fall. Summer vacations are over. The kids are back at school. It’s catch-up time at work. The days are getting shorter.
You may have personal concerns: finances, health problems, relationship issues. Add to it the 24/7 news cycle on the upcoming election, natural disasters and global terrorism and it’s no wonder many people feel stressed right now.
The good news? You can do something about it.
Good mental health is connected with how we care for ourselves and what is in our daily environment. This can include what we are exposed to in terms of friends, activities, attitudes, etc. With all the things going on in our world and what we see and hear through the news and others, it takes effort to remain optimistic and in a good frame of mind.
We can only control what is happening to us in terms of our responses and our behavior. It is also true that to some extent we are in charge of our attitude. Put these things together and we can start feeling some control over what may feel out of our control.
When stress mounts, the first step is to focus on taking good care of ourselves: eating healthfully, sleeping enough, exercising regularly. But that’s just part of the anti-stress regimen.
Another important component is limiting our exposure to negative influences that may affect our good mental health. This includes the stream of negativity from the news and certain of our acquaintances and co-workers. What improves our mental health are positive friends and comments and pursuing interests that stimulate us.
We can monitor our stress responses and behavior and adjust accordingly, but it’s also important to look inside ourselves. Whether we see things as “glass half full” or half empty is related to attitude. And according to research cited in the Chicago Tribune (Sept. 7, 2016), a PMA (positive mental attitude) benefits health, longevity, and quality of life.
Staying upbeat, guarding against negative influences, and taking care of ourselves through healthy eating, exercising and sleep makes us more resilient. Think of these as “tools in the toolbox.” We can use these tools to find the positive in stressful times, keep our important relationships on an even keel, and prevent us from adding to the negativity going on in the world. Follow these simple suggestions and see if there is improvement in your overall feeling of happiness and wellbeing.
Kathy Miller, MA, LCPC, is the founder and owner of Oasis: The Center for Mental Health in Annapolis. Oasis is offering free screenings for anxiety and depression throughout October in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week, the first full week of Oct., and World Mental Health Day, Oct. 10.