Michigan Association of Health Plans

5 Ways to boost mental health this year

This story appeared in Priority Health’s ThinkHealth blog. Read more here

Many of us set physical fitness resolutions, but forget about our mental health.
While losing weight, saving money or quitting smoking are good resolutions to set, taking charge of your mental health might make a bigger difference for you and your family.

Good mental health enables you to handle the natural ups and downs of life, have stronger relationships and maintain physical health and well-being.

Here are five tips to help you boost your mental well-being this year:

1. Meditate

Meditation can be a great solution for letting go of daily stress, frustration or anxiety.

Mental and emotional stress can affect how you feel physically. Often when people are stressed, they feel tired, irritable and are more prone to sickness. By meditating and calming your mind, you can also calm your body. Some highly experienced meditators are even able to control their body functions, including slowing their heart rate.

Mindful breathing is one of the easiest ways to practice meditation. The rhythmic nature of walking or highlighting your daily gratitude is also impactful. A meditation app such as Headspace may be a helpful tool to get you started.

2. Start a Journal

Writing in a journal every day helps you keep track of your thoughts, events and emotions. In fact, many insightful words from influential figures throughout history have been found in their diaries.

Many find it easier to understand thoughts and feelings once they are written. While traditionally people kept journals with pen and paper, these days many people have turned to the internet to write blogs as a form of electronic journaling. Some people to freely write whatever comes to mind, while others prefer to use journals with prompts to help them get started.

If free-hand journaling seems overwhelming, try the five minute journal, available in both paper and electronic formats. The five minute journal is based on positive psychology research and offers morning and evening prompts to help improve happiness and overall well-being.

3. Exercise

No question, exercising impacts physical health. It can help you lose weight, gain muscle and give you energy. But did you know that exercising can also impact mental health? Doing physical activity releases endorphins, which is a chemical that helps make you feel happy. It’s an outlet for negative emotions and can help you work through the excess adrenaline, which can be associated with frustration of anger.

4. See a Therapist

Talking to someone outside of your circle may give you a new perspective and help you learn to cope more successfully. Many feel that they need a specific reason to seek counsel from a therapist but their training makes them a valuable resource if you’ve suffered a trauma, have a mental illness or are simply striving for improved mental well-being.

Therapists can specialize in many different areas including children, families, relationships and grieving. These health care professionals listen to you and offer tools to help you solve any identified problems. To find a therapist near you, check out the Priority Health provider directory. Need help figuring out what to look for in a therapist? Check out these tips.

5. Try Online Therapy

If a face-to-face therapy session is not for you, try an online therapy session. Many mental health providers are now offering online services. You can complete visits with a therapist through online chats, phone calls, and video calls.

This year, don’t forget to make self-care a high priority on your list of resolutions, both mentally and physically. Both go hand-in-hand and lead to overall well-being. Make 2023 your healthiest year yet.

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