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Exercise good mental health all year round

In observance of spreading awareness for good mental health day here are some tips to exercise good mental health. Exercising good mental health shouldn’t be limited to one day, in fact, it should be a lifetime goal.

Exercise good mental health all year round

World Mental Health Day was first celebrated in 1992 and was established by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global organization with members in more than 150 countries. It’s observed every October 10th to focus on raising awareness of good mental health and the importance of how psychological health issues affect the world.

 In observance of spreading awareness for good mental health day. I want to clear up a common misconception, which is, being happy all of the time is good mental health, I’d also like to add – there is no such thing as “happily ever after.” These made-up notions of happiness set unrealistic expectations and want us to believe that if we are not constantly in a state of happiness then we are less and inadequate and can lead to feelings of self-consciousness and in many cases symptoms of depression, and other mental conditions. 

 This dangerously skewed perception of happiness is spread through popular culture and has us believe that a person can and should arrive at a destination of time where they are happy and maintain that happiness from that point “ever after.” Causing many of the mental health issues that are experienced today. 

The truth is that “happiness” is just one of seven basic emotions that human beings experience throughout a typical day. Arguably it’s the favorite of the emotions to experience because it’s tied to feelings of contentment, joy, gratification, satisfaction, and well-being, but it’s not possible to only experience happiness. The other six emotions: anger, fear, disgust, sadness, surprise, and contempt, also have a healthy role in the human experience, too. 

“Good mental health is measured by a person’s ability to accomplish functions and activities, including the skill to learn, the ability to feel, express and manage the range of emotions that occur daily. Also, the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others.” According to World Mental Health Foundation

 Like any aspect of your health, mental health needs to be nurtured and monitored to continue maintaining a healthy mind. Practice exercising your mind this World Mental Health Day and practice these 5 steps to restore mental well-being and zap away negativity.

5 things that zap your mental health

1. SUPPORT GOOD MENTAL HEALTH: Stand up straight, keep your outlook positive and smile!
Feelings of sadness, anger, and fear are usually brought on by reasons beyond our control and can make us feel like victims of the circumstance. In reality, we do have control over how we choose to react to the circumstance. By making small choices to stand straight and look for positive elements in every situation, this will affect your mood more than you may realize. Studies show that smiling can trick your brain into feeling happy and boost your overall health, too – a bonus!

A smile spurs a powerful chemical reaction in the brain that can make you feel happier. Science shows that the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system, and possibly even prolong your life.”

It’s no surprise that when illustrators want to convey that a character is sad they draw them slouching and looking down, this is the universal queue that a person is overcome by sad emotions. Published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. Scientists found that when people were asked to walk with shoulders slouched, hunched over, and with minimum arm movements, they experienced worse moods than those who walked chin up, shoulders back and kept a sunny outlook.

By adding exercise to your daily routine can help get your mind moving, too. By implementing some form of exercise to your schedule just three times a week, will decrease the risk of being depressed by 19%, according to a new study in JAMA Psychiatry. The study concluded that after following more than 11,000 people born in 1958 up until the age of 50 and recording depressive symptoms and levels of physical activity at regular intervals, University College London researchers found a correlation between physical activity and depression

Furthermore, depressed people were less likely to be active, while those who were active were less likely to be sad. In fact, for every time they were active, depression risk decreased.

3. SUPPORT GOOD MENTAL HEALTH: Get a good night sleep regularly
Sleep affects every aspect of your life and is one of the essential factors in maintaining good mental health. Rest is how our bodies regenerate, heal, and regulate itself, and without it, we would breakdown. Although eight hours of sleep are standard, everyone is different so it’s important to know how much sleep you need. Sleep and mental health are closely connected and the lack of sleep can affect your mental health and psychological state and mental health. That is why it’s so important to speak to a licensed therapist about sleep problems. It’s also important to note that Insomnia or problems sleeping are very common in patients who suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other similar conditions.

4. SUPPORT GOOD MENTAL HEALTH: Limit your phone time
Smartphone use has changed the landscape of our world and has brought the world closer together as virtual neighbors. According to Statista, there are 2.71 billion smartphone users in the world today – This data means that in the world of wireless, 35.13% of the world’s population have a smartphone today. Ironically, increased smartphone usage has led to people feeling more lonely and depressed.

For your own mental health purpose, you should ask yourself when the last time that you were completely electronic-device free? If you can’t remember, that may be a sign that you spend an excessive amount of time on the phone. Luckily this is a simple fix. Create and declare an electronic-free period of time, where you abstain from all devices once a week, even if just for half a day and note your mental differences.

5. SUPPORT GOOD MENTAL HEALTH: Connect with people
Good mental health is the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others. If you’ve noticed that in your fast-paced life that you have slowly replaced human interaction with a screen? Or, your primary tool to connect with family and friends is through texting and social media platforms? If yes, then you may not be having meaningful contact with other people and this can begin lessening your experiences and feelings. Not having face-to-face connections, and only virtual ones may impact our ability and interest in sitting in the same room with someone and talking with people face-to-face.

By declaring an electronic-device free time this, too, will help regulate and keep good mental health. So put down the phone, turn off the television, and pay attention to what you are doing and what is going on around you. Challenge your friends and family to do the same. This will allow your brain to process everything that is happening to you in real-time could be the best thing you can do for your mental health.

I hope these exercises are of value to you as they are ways to help stat mentally healthy through life’s challenges. But, let’s face it – life can be difficult and you may need a professional to talk to about your mental health. Whether it’s everyday stress or an unexpected crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you need someone to support you in facing life’s challenges, our carefully-vetted licensed psychiatrists are here to help. Get the care you need at a time and place that works for you. Schedule a checkup to talk to one of our MDLIVE board-certified mental health professionals today.

Our licensed therapist and psychiatrists treat a variety of non-emergency medical conditions including:
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Raffaelo Zucco