Catalina Duarte, Public Relations & Social Media Specialist, YMCA of San Diego County
Being healthy means more than simply being physically active. It's about maintaining a balanced spirit, mind and body. In California, 1 in 6 adults has a mental health need and approximately 1 in 25 lives with a serious mental illness that makes it difficult to carry out major life activities. Mental health concerns range in their severity and duration and can affect a person’s ability to function, depending on the seriousness of the issue. Mental health conditions do not discriminate across ethnicities or economic status, and with a healthy mental outlook, we can work towards breaking down any barriers that keep us from achieving our more tangible goals throughout the year.
As a branch of the YMCA of San Diego County, Youth & Family Services provides an array of behavioral and mental health services for at-risk youth and families in San Diego County. Benjamin Corbett, a case manager and Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at the Youth and Family Services branch, pulled together three tips to boost your mood and strengthen your mental health:
1. Take part in positive experiences:
Engage in activities you enjoy each day to increase your overall positive emotions and reduce stress. When you take part in positive experiences, you generate positive emotions! It also functions as an emotional savings account, when things get tough you have some positive experiences to draw on and help you through.
2. Stay physically healthy:
By eating a balanced diet, going to the doctor when you’re sick, and getting enough sleep, you are less vulnerable when you encounter negative feelings. Physical activity is also crucial, since research has shown that exercise increases the blood circulating to the brain, which affects body chemistry in a way that reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
3. Practice mindfulness:
Being mindful, or staying aware in the present moment, allows you to make conscious decisions to take care of yourself and your mental health. Taking a mindful approach to life helps you pay attention to your mood and understand when you may need some extra help, need to manage stress or anger, or recognize that you are feeling good and enjoying a particular moment.
For class or program information at a YMCA near you, visit www.ymca.org. For more information about Youth and Family Services, visit www.ymca.org/yfs.