Embrace Mental Health Awareness Month Since 1949, NAMI and Mental Health America have celebrated May as the month to raise awareness about the importance of having good mental health. Also, it’s their goal to stop the stigma associated with mental health disorders. From our beginnings in 1978, Coleman Professional Services has been active in these directives, too. Approximately 60 million people living in the United States struggle with some form of mental illness, which is 18% of our total population. Most experience anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorders. This year’s theme is an extension of last year’s #4Mind4Body. Below are nine ideas in keeping with and maintaining mental wellness. For the whole month of May, please partake in as many as you can. Strive to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Avoid sugar, salt, saturated fat, and processed food. Eat whole grains, greens, and lean meats. Add yogurt, Keifer, and sauerkraut to your diet for natural probiotics. Drink three liters (or twelve glasses) of water. Engage in thirty minutes of physical exercise. Stay away from toxic situations; instead, have only positive interactions. Be present in all conversations. If you need help in this area, subscribe to Mindful for daily articles and meditations. Schedule a doctor’s visit for a complete physical. Take a mental health screening. In addition to these measures, Mental Health America has identified five other areas to help boost your mental health and general wellness. Animal Companionship Would it surprise you to learn that 80% of households with pets believe their animals bring them happiness and emotional support? While 55% believe their animals reduce anxiety, depression, and stress? For individuals receiving treatment for mental illness, animal-assisted interventions reduce anger, anxiety, and general distress. Spirituality and Religion While spirituality is different for everyone, 29% of the US population identifies as spiritual and religious. Activities associated with these practices affect body chemistry and brain activity. Here are four significant benefits: Practicing meditation can be linked to increased levels of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Reading scripture activates the reward system and positive feelings in the cerebral cortex. Individuals who attend religious services at least once a month have a 22% lower risk of depression versus those who do not. Veterans who identify themselves as highly religious or spiritual show high levels of gratitude and lower levels of depression, suicidal thoughts and alcohol abuse than their non-spiritual peers Humor Laughter increases levels in our brain’s reward system. Endorphins are also released. Humor allows for better interaction with others, reduces anxiety and less burnout on the job. Work-Life Balance Of the full-time US workforce, 40% work fifty hours per week while 18% work 60+ hours per week. Approximately $190 billion per year is spent on healthcare in the US due to workplace burnout and stress. According to Mental Health America’s Work Health Survey: 75% of Americans are afraid that if they tell their boss, they need a mental health day, there will be a punishment. 66% state their sleep is negatively affected by workplace issues 50% partake in alcohol or drug use to cope with workplace stress. Working overtime increases the likelihood of depression especially in men. Social Connections According to Vox, loneliness is associated with higher blood pressure and can be more dangerous than obesity. Here are five ways to combat it: Build strong social relationships. Get outside. Take a vacation, even if it’s a long weekend. Participate in a sport. Play board games, take up a musical instrument or learn to dance. Coleman Professional Services is Here to Support You Please help us #breakthestigma associated with mental health disorders by sharing your success story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we have helped you, please consider supporting us through our many ways to give. Thank you!