18.6% of Black adults, 16.3% of Latino adults, 13.9% of Asian adults, and 28.3% of American Indian and Alaskan Native adults are living with a mental health condition. LGBTQ+ individuals are two times more likely to have a mental health condition than straight and conforming adults. These communities not only struggle with access to resources but also struggle with the stigma that surrounds depression, anxiety, and other disorders. It's crucial that we help break that stigma, so here are five tips we discussed with Lady Lake psychologist Dr. Cathleen Civiello about what you can you to consciously and continuously improve on your mental health.
1) Write your stressful day down.
Sometimes the most significant stress relief is to get the stress out. Dr. Civiello suggests writing out your day in detail as opposed to ruminating about the experience and says it has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Whether it be handwriting or typing on the computer, even five minutes can make you feel better.
2) Go for a short walk.
Going outside, being exposed to sunlight and getting your mind off work or school for a couple of minutes can have a meaningful effect on your brain. When you're feeling sleepy, anxious, bored, or you want to be active, consider taking a ten-minute walk, and you may be surprised at how much it can affect your mood.
3) Keep an achievement and gratitude journal.
An achievement and gratitude journal is something that helps you reflect on your day and focus on the positive things you did. There are apps for your phone, specialized journals you can buy online, or you can just come up with prompts and questions yourself. Dr. Civiello says the important thing is to keep a positive mind frame.
4) Talk to someone you love.
When or if writing out your feelings doesn't make you feel better, talking to a family member, or close friend may. Call them on the phone or ask them to get coffee. Getting advice, encouragement, and support from someone you love and trust can be the thing you need to improve your day or week.
5) Get enough sleep.
Those with mental health problems are more inclined to have a sleep disorder or insomnia. Dr. Civiello talks about how sleep is essential for every aspect of life, but without quality sleep, our mental health can deteriorate rapidly. Make sure you are getting seven to eight hours a night, but if you're still waking up tired, it may be beneficial to make an appointment for a sleep study.
Living with a mental illness isn't easy, but you don't need to do it alone. If you feel like you need to talk to someone, or you want more advice for improving your mental health, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Civiello or one of our other psychologists.