May Is Mental Health Awareness Month! You Are Not Alone

— Written By Shae King

The 2021 theme for Mental Health Awareness Month is “You Are Not Alone”. Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America strive to bring awareness to mental health by providing advocacy and education on policies impacting individuals living with mental illness as well as their families.

Here are a couple of tips from Mental Health America that will give you an extra mental boost this month.

  • Practice forgiveness

Even if it’s just forgiving that person who cut you off during your commute. People who forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives.

  • Do something with friends and family

Have a cookout, go to a park, or play a game. People are 12 times more likely to feel happy on days that they spend 6-7 hours with friends and family.

  • Take a 30 minutes Walk

Step outside for a few moments for a stroll through a park, or a hike in the woods. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.

  • Soak Up Some Sun for 15 Minutes

Don’t forget to apply your sunscreen either. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.

  • Smile Your Stress Away 

 It may not be the easiest thing to do, but smiling can help to lower your heart rate and calm you down.

  •  Let it all out…on paper. 

Writing/journaling about upsetting experiences can reduce symptoms of depression.

  •  Adult Coloring

Experiencing some feelings of anxiety? Take a trip down memory lane and do some coloring for about 20 minutes to help you clear your mind. Pick a design that’s geometric and a little complicated for the best effect.

  • Track gratitude and achievement with a journal.

Include 3 things you were grateful for and 3 things you were able to accomplish each day.

  • “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” -Albert Einstein.

Try something outside of your comfort zone to make room for adventure and excitement in your life.

  • Treat Yourself!

Boost brainpower by treating yourself to a couple pieces of dark chocolate every few days. The flavonoids, caffeine, and theobromine in chocolate are thought to work together to improve alertness and mental skills.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)    Mental Health America

Written By

Shae King, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionShae KingExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Shae Email Shae N.C. Cooperative Extension, Forsyth County Center
Posted on May 5, 2021
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