5 ways to improve your mental wellness
It is estimated that one in three Americans suffer from at least one mental health issue, but research shows that women are at a much higher risk to struggle with a mental health disorder throughout her lifetime than men. As part of this year’s National Women’s Health Week, the Sentara Women’s Health Center brings you a few ways to increase your mental wellness.
- Talk to your physician
- As a first step, talk to your primary care physician about your mental health goals and suggested screenings. He or she will be able to help you form an initial plan and refer you to any specialists as necessary.
- Start exercising
- Not only will exercise improve your overall health, but exercise also releases endorphins, or the feel-good brain chemicals that instantly improve your mood. Talk to your physician before starting any new exercise routine.
- Explore meditation
- Meditation has the power to calm the mind, open the heart and heal the soul. Sounds like it’s worth a shot, right? Start small. Set aside 3 minutes for meditation. Concentrate on your breath.
- Up your sleep
- The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults. Sleep is critical in maintaining mental wellness and can significantly impact your ability to regulate moods and process emotional information and experiences. If you are not getting the recommended amount of sleep, try going to bed 10 minutes earlier each night and gradually building up to the 7 to 9 hours of recommended sleep.
- Practice gratitude
- Did you know that expressing gratitude is related to your self-esteem and well-being? So, look at the bright side and thank the universe for the things that make you happy – everything from your dog to a good cup of coffee.
And, remember, if you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, unable to sleep, irritable or hopeless, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.