Mental Wellness Has a Role in Health

To Be Healthy as a Whole, Mental Wellness Plays a Role
Posted on 01/10/2018
Mental Health Scrabble Letters

What affects how we act, learn, work, communicate, relationships with others and how we feel about ourselves?  Our mental health.  Good mental health is a key component to living a healthy life, and it’s often overlooked.  What can we do as parents to improve our children’s and our own mental health?  Researchers have identified several tips to help improve or maintain good mental health: manage stress, maintain positive self-esteem, develop coping skills, reduce social isolation, eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and get enough rest.

How do we do all of these things, along with the rest of our responsibilities?  Below are some easy strategies and tips to try and continue working towards good mental health and overall well-being.    

Managing stress: Introduce mindfulness and meditation.  An increasing body of research has demonstrated that meditation is effective in reducing stress and improving health. Meditation has been found to boost the immune system, improve sleep, decrease anxiety, minimize depression and improve overall quality of life. Click for sample meditations.

Maintaining positive self-esteem: Developing and maintaining good self-esteem take time and practice and involves encouraging a positive (but realistic) attitude toward yourself and the world around you and appreciating your worth, while at the same time behaving responsibly towards others. Self-esteem isn't self-absorption; it's self-respect.

Developing coping skills: Identify what triggers you to feel angry or upset, and when feeling this way, acknowledge them, understand it’s ok to be upset and try to think through solutions to overcome or eliminate these triggers. 

Reducing social isolation:  In our digital world, the skill of direct communication with people is being lost.  Take time to actually call someone, or better yet meet with them in person to create more meaningful relationships.  Have face to face conversations with co-workers, family members and your children. 

Eating healthy:  The variety of foods and colors you can include in your diet, the more well-rounded diet you are consuming.  Challenge yourself to include at least 3 different colors on your plate at every meal, with at least one being from a fruit or vegetable.  Start small, and work your way up to 5!

Exercising regularly:  Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day; this does not have to mean going to the gym or a workout class on a daily basis.  It could be walking the dog, biking with your family, sledding, or even mowing the lawn!  Try to increase movement throughout all aspects of your day and decrease time sitting to reap the benefits of exercise and physical activity.             

Resting adequately:  You would not miss an appointment, meeting or event for your child, so make sleep a top priority appointment too!  Consistent sleep schedules are vital for the body to enter into the deep sleep cycle.  Try your best to “schedule” the same bed and wake-up time every day, even on weekends.  Also make sure to turn off all screens prior to shut-eye to signal your brain to relax and ready itself for sleep. 

 "Supported by the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, Minnesota Department of Health and Dakota County Public Health Department"