Like physical health, how we care for ourselves mentally every day is just as important.
“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, meaning it affects every aspect of our daily lives according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It is vital to know that struggling with mental health is not the same as struggling with mental illness.
“A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental, and social well-being,” according to the CDC.
A good mental health status has many benefits such as high self-esteem, being able to effectively handle stress and having a good foundation for relationships, according to Help Guide.
Choosing to take the necessary steps to improve your mental health is not a sign of weakness.
“We need to look at mental health and emotional health in the same capacity [because it] takes a lot of strength to seek help,” said Dr. Gemma Skuraton, the director of Student Wellness & Health Promotion at Georgia Southern
Here are a variety of steps you can take and practices to try, leading to a better state of mind.
Insight Timer (App)
There are many mobile apps on the market designed to improve your mental health, and they usually are programmed for all ages.
Skuraton recommends Insight Timer.
A free meditation app including features that can improve your sleep, help manage stress and cope with anxiety.
Insight Timer is available on both the App Store and Google Play Store.
Yoga has been scientifically proven to alleviate stress.
There is growing research behind yoga proving that it is a “relatively low-risk, high-yield approach to improving overall health,” according to Harvard Health.
Georgia Southern offers Mindful Yoga, taught by Dr. Angela Landers and Dr. Gemma Skuraton.
Mindful yoga is presented by Health Services and the Counseling Center. The free classes are open to all students and are held on Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Counseling Center.
The Counseling Center also has a relaxation room. It is equipped with massage chairs, adult coloring, sound machines and more.
Physical Exercise / Clean Eating
It has been confirmed that exercise is not only beneficial for you physically but also mentally.
“Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It can help to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation,” according to Health Direct.
Along with exercise, it is important that you are consuming a healthy diet.
Skuraton suggests eating a colorful plate.
“Each one of those colors represents a vitamin or mineral,” said Sakuraton.
Those who consume significant amounts of produce are more likely to be mentally healthier.
“One 2014 study found high levels of wellbeing were reported by individuals who ate more fruit and vegetables,” according to the Mental Health Foundation.
“Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment,” according to the Greater Good Science Center of UC Berkeley
The practice of mindfulness doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as you want it to be.
“I always recommend doing gratitude lists that really is helpful in changing perspective at where you are in that moment and reminding you of focusing on the positive things that you have going on,” said Dr. Skuraton
In addition to many other alternative options, therapy is also a very valuable and effective resource.
“People have to be able to make the distinction for themselves. But I would never discourage anyone from going at any point in time, regardless of where they are in their emotional balance,” said Dr. Skuraton.
On Campus Resources:
Georgia Southern Counseling Center
7000 Compass Point Annex
11935 Abercorn Street
Savannah, Georgia 31419-1997
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255