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Five Mental Health Practices to Start Incorporating Today
May 29, 2024
May is Mental Health Awareness month! Even though we should be taking care of our mental health year-round, this month is a special time to come together and share resources, support each other, and learn more. In this blog post, I’ll share five practices you can start incorporating today to help improve your mental health. But before we get into it, let’s do a very brief history lesson.

A Brief History Lesson 

After witnessing and enduring abuse at public and private mental health institutions, Clifford W. Beers wrote an autobiography that sheds light on his experiences. His book A Mind that Found Itself  opened people's eyes and helped pave the way for the mental health reform movement. In 1908, he founded the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene which after a few expansions over time, became Mental Health America in 2006. In 1947, the “National Mental Health Act” was passed. This led to the creation of the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1949, Mental Health America launched the first Mental Health Week, which later became Mental Health Month. Now that we’ve gotten our lesson out the way, let’s learn about some practices! 

Setting Boundaries  

This first practice tends to be difficult for many people. If you don’t struggle with setting boundaries, I’m happy for you. If you do, I hope this section offers you some help. You can start by thinking of boundaries as a way of empowering yourself. You have control over the boundaries you set. Although you can’t control how people will react to these boundaries, that shouldn’t stop you from figuring out where your priorities are, and setting boundaries that reflect them.  

For one, you can start by leaving work at work. You’re already spending eight hours a day there. If you don’t get it done that day, I highly suggest leaving it for another day. Another simple way to set boundaries is by adding the word “no” to your vocabulary. If saying “no” is a little too much, you could also try one of my personal favorites: “Unfortunately, I can’t” or “I won’t be able to”. Either way, it’s ok to turn certain things down when it’s too much. Helping and being there for people is great, but you are only one person. I trust that you know when something is too much for you.  

Eating Nutrient Rich Food 

This practice is heavy on the words “nutrient rich”. Sometimes we miss out on foods that can have a great impact on our well-being. Hopefully you can add some of these treats to your diet and start feeling even better! 

Your gut produces a lot of your body’s serotonin, which helps control your mood. Foods rich in probiotics help with gut health. Tofu, kimchi, yogurt, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kombucha are a few options to add to your diet. If these sound like a hard pass for you, there’s also the option of taking probiotic supplements.  

Another way to improve the way you feel mentally and physically, is by eating anti-inflammatory foods. Nuts, turmeric, olive oil, tomatoes, and berries are some options to try out. Laslty, dont forget your fruits, veggies, and water. 

Move Your Body  

Exercising has many benefits, but for the purpose of this blog post, we’ll focus on the mental health gains. Being physically active helps produce endorphins, which helps you feel good. The benefits don't stop there. When you increase your heart rate with exercise, the production of neurohormones like norepinephrine are stimulated. These neurohormones help you better respond to stress. You can learn some more mental health benefits that come from exercising by reading this article on Walden University’s page.

Laugh Out Loud 

One thing about me is that I love to laugh. I’m pretty sure most of you reading can relate. Not only is laughing fun, but it can also help reduce your stress and make you feel more relaxed. When you laugh, your lungs, heart, and muscles are stimulated, resulting in an increase of endorphins being released to your brain. If you need some ideas of where to look for humor, I suggest talking to your funny bestie, watching a comedy movie or show, reading funny books, or watching your favorite, funny YouTuber. I also suggest some mindful scrolling on social media. Be sure to visit the comment section of the funny post, because comments add to the laughing experience. Just make sure your scrolling is intentional and has a time limit.

Practice Gratitude 

A simple “thank you” goes a long way. Practicing gratitude consciously can lessen feelings of anxiety and stress. One way to practice gratitude is by saying thanks when someone does something nice for you. You can even take it a step further by writing a note or sending an email to express gratitude. Another thing you can do is spend some time each day thinking about what you’re grateful for and writing it down. 


I hope you are able to incorporate even one of these practices into your lifestyle. Even though you probably hear this often, I want to say it one more time: your mental health is important. You deserve to have a healthy mind.  

By: Madison Beckford