couple sitting outside together laughing

Prioritize Your Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Few would argue that your personal, mental health and wellbeing are not a priority. However, we all know that life gets busy. Between work or school deadlines, caregiving responsibilities and day- to-day activities, our wellbeing often gets “put on a shelf.”

 

Oftentimes, we do not consider how low our mental health has fallen in our priorities until it manifests itself in signs of physical illness. In fact, The World Health Organization reports that by 2030, stress-related illness will surpass communicable disease. 1

 

We cannot avoid many of the stressors of life. However, there are various ways to prioritize your mental health that research proves helpful.

 

Practice self-care

 

Proper sleep, exercise and nutrition are a must to maximize your mental health. These activities should be things we engage in every day. Therefore, do not get into the bad habit of only fitting them in when you have time.

 

Consider mindful living

 

Combat stress through activities such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. These mindful activities are proven ways to elevate brain chemistry.  They also  lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone in our bodies.

 

Avoid the lure of consumerism

 

The pressure to wear the latest fashions, participate in retail therapy, or seek status, puts mental and economic pressure on us. Focusing on the important things in life such as relationships, activities we love, faith, etc., brings more happiness and less stress to our lives.

 

Consider therapy

 

Sometimes we have mixed feelings about seeing a therapist. Just keep in mind that many times we seek services to prevent problems. Just as you take your car to a mechanic for preventative service, seeking the care of a trusted, licensed therapist, can greatly prevent problems that occur from day-to-day mental stress.

 

Not sure how to find a therapist that will meet your unique needs? Ask your CCMH primary care physician or search the internet for referrals from reputable organizations like the American Psychological Association.

 

Take breaks everyday

 

What renews and refreshes your soul? A good book? Some music? A long walk? A hot bath? Commit to finding time for such activities every day! Even if it is just 15 minutes, this time will help you “reset”, refocus and clear your mind of negative thoughts.

 

Cultivate friendships

 

If you’re struggling with mental health or even just feeling a little “down,” loneliness can quickly erode mental health. Our society is more connected yet disconnected than ever before.

 

Surround yourself with positive, caring individuals and cultivate these friendships. There is nothing like sharing some laughs and a cup of coffee with a friend to push away negative, destructive thoughts that creep into our heads in times of loneliness.

 

Learn to say “no”

 

Saying “yes” to everything is saying “no” to your mental health. It seems as if we are addicted to being busy in our society. Sometimes we also feel like our success is driven by the number of activities we participate in.

 

Practice saying “no”. Say it in the mirror and practice it with a friend if you must. Learn to always consider your list of priorities. Practice delegating, renegotiating and making changes in your best interest when the demands of life become too much.

 

Ditch perfectionism

 

Being goal driven can be good for our careers yet hard on our minds. Expecting perfection and keeping a jam-packed schedule in pursuit of our goals can also be damaging in the long run. You do not have to accomplish everything right now. Make realistic goals, celebrate small achievements and laugh and learn from your mistakes.

 

Find humor in life

 

Speaking of laughing, as the old Proverb says, laughter often is the best “medicine.”  Humor contributes towards resilience. When we take life too seriously, we become hypercritical, easily frustrated and often just want to give up. Say “no” to tension and strife inside your mind, say “yes” to enjoying and laughing through the journey.

 

Your mental health is most important. It’s more important than any metrics of success- your job, your status, likes on social media, and your grades. Without good mental health, everything else suffers.

 

Struggling with the stress of daily life? Reach out to a CCMH Provider if you need help. Find a list of them at ccmhhealth.com/directory.

 

Sources

 

1 World Health Organization. DEPRESSION: A Global Crisis. 10 Oct. 2102. 

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Benefits of Decluttering Your Home

The new year is upon us. You also probably have a few new things to find a place for after the holidays. For that reason, now is a great time to declutter your home. Not only does decluttering your home give you a great sense of accomplishment, but it can also have some great benefits. According to a recent article in Psychology Today, some of these benefits can improve our health and well-being. 1

 

Here are 7 benefits that will help motivate you to get busy cleaning out your living space soon!

 

Reduce tension

 

If you are in a hurry to get out the door and your children can’t find their shoes or your spouse cannot find a bill that needs to be paid, this can cause arguments. Knowing exactly where important items are located can greatly destress your family relationships and help day-to-day routines go more smoothly.

 

Reduce financial stress

 

When you declutter, you find items you did not remember that you had. Consider decluttering closets, pantries and medicine cabinets. Chances are, you will find an item or two that was on your shopping list. Knowing what you have allows you to better assess your needs and budget your money.

 

Reduce anxiety

 

When things are out of order, we feel out of control. This increases anxiety. Decluttering and organizing can greatly relieve anxiety and help us gain a sense of control over our lives.

 

Find energy

 

Dealing with the anxiety of clutter can make us feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Although it can be difficult to get up and moving at first, exercise helps us feel more energized. We often overlook cleaning as exercise, but every little bit helps!  

 

Improved mood

 

Decluttering gives us a sense of accomplishment. Tackling small challenges gives us inner peace and self-confidence as well as stronger decision-making skills.

 

Decluttering lets your mind wander

 

If you have a job that is very stressful or mentally grueling, participating in an activity that does not require much from you cognitively is very beneficial. Not only are you accomplishing a task that you need to check off your list, but you have time to problem solve and work through things you may feel have taken a “back burner.” 

 

Decluttering can help you give back

 

What will you do with the things you decide to remove from your home? Gently used items are great to donate to organizations, schools and shelters. Also consider having a yard sale for charity. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment at finding a new home for items you no longer need, but you can give the money earned to a favorite charity too.

 

Improved health habits

 

Research shows that decluttering can lead to improved health habits such as better sleep. Better sleep works as a domino effect having many other benefits such as improved immunity, helping us stay at a healthy weight and lowering our risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease. 2

 

If the task to declutter is overwhelming, remember that it does not have to happen all at once. Set aside just 15 minutes a day or focus on one room at a time. Just like improving your health, decluttering is a goal you should not expect to achieve overnight.

 

Sources

1 Boyes, Alice, Ph.D. Psychology Today. 6 Benefits of an Uncluttered Space:
The psychology behind organizing and decluttering.
  12 Feb. 2018.

 

2 National Health Information Center. Get Enough Sleep. 18 July 2018.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Managing Mental Health: There’s an App for That

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. struggle daily with at least one mental illness.1 In recent years, with light being shed on such statistics, mental healthcare has emphasized empowering those struggling with mental health to speak up and seek help when needed.

It is important to be especially concerned for mental wellbeing as we go into the fall and holiday season. Even if you do not struggle daily, factors such as changes in your diet or routine, alcohol consumption, the inability to be with friends or family and less sunlight can trigger “holiday blues.”2

How can technology help manage mental health?

Many apps help manage physical health by promoting dieting and exercise, but what about mental health? With more and more individuals being concerned about managing mental health, a growing number of apps can help. Medical research has not been provided for many of these apps specifically, but the basis of many of them including meditation, breathing exercises, sleep, and relaxation, are all proven techniques to help stabilize our moods. Here are 7 apps to help you focus on mental health management. (All apps were free for both Iphone and Android at the time this research was conducted unless otherwise noted.)

Happify

Do you need help to overcome stress, negative thinking and increase resilience? Happify is an app that helps to manage such feelings. According to the app, 86 percent of the users report having an improved outlook in life after two months of use. The app offers activities and games to ward off negative emotions and weekly  it calculates your “happiness” score. The app uses evidence-based techniques such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and positive psychology to help you form better habits.

Calm

In 2017,  Apple named Calm as their “App of the Year.” The goals of this app include reducing anxiety, improving sleep, and increasing feelings of happiness, clarity and peace. These goals are worked toward through meditation, breathing exercises, music and nature sounds.

Moodpath

Moodpath works as a digital mental health companion that provides insights you can discuss with your doctor by generating an electronic document detailing your assessment after two weeks of use. The app helps screen for symptoms of depression by asking you daily questions. It also has the goal of increasing your awareness of your feelings and emotions. Moodpath contains over 150 videos and psychological exercise.

SuperBetter

SuperBetter is a gaming app that focuses on increasing positive feelings and motivation to take on challenges. Research by the University of Pennsylvania found that those that played SuperBetter for 30 days reported better moods, decreased anxiety and depression and increased positive attitudes toward goal achievement.Also, SuperBetter is designed to assist with chronic illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety.

Pacifica

Pacifica combats daily anxiety and stress using methods such as meditation, mood tracking, CBT and relaxation. The app contains audio lessons and activities, and it assists you at tackling anxiety one day at a time by setting daily goals as well as long-term goals.

Moodnotes

Available only for Iphone for $3.99.

Moodnotes helps you learn about your “thinking traps” and how to overcome them through insights gathered from your thought journal and mood diary. Your feelings and thinking habits are assessed and improved through implementing positive psychology and CBT.

Headspace

Headspace has hundreds of themed mindfulness and meditation sessions to assist you in achieving a happier, healthier life. The app emphasizes reducing stress, building healthier relationships and finding a place of calm.

We hope you find this list helpful. However, no app will ever be able to replace medical care when you have a need. If coping seems like a battle that becomes more difficult each day, please reach out for help. You can find a list of our providers at https://www.ccmhhealth.com/providers/.

Sources
1 National Institute of Mental Health. November 2017. Mental Illness.
2 Greenstein, Laura. National Alliance of Mental Illness. 19 November 2015. Tips For Managing The Holiday Blues.
3 Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania. 2015 June. Randomized Controlled Trial of SuperBetter, a Smartphone-Based/Internet-Based Self-Help Tool to Reduce Depressive Symptoms.

Disclaimer
The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.
Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.
While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

National Suicide Prevention Month Image

September is Suicide Prevention Month

In the healthcare setting it’s easier to think about the patients who might be at risk of suicide than about our peers who might be at risk. But suicidal thoughts effect all groups and occupations. As co-workers, we are in a good position to notice changes that may suggest a team member is contemplating suicide.

Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more of the following warning signs.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or obtaining a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

These warning signs indicate a serious risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new or has increased or is related to a recent, painful event such as a break-up, financial set-back, family disruption or trauma. If you spot one or more warning signs, don’t wait for someone else to act.

The BeThe1To campaign suggests five action steps you can take:

  1. Ask your co-worker, “Are you thinking about suicide?” then listen without judgement.
  2. Keep them safe. If the person has a plan or if they have immediate access to means and intend to take their life, they are in immediate danger and need emergency services.
  3. Be there. Whether in person or on the phone, being there increases connectedness and shows support.
  4. Help them connect, for example, by calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), referring to a mental health provider, reaching out to a counselor or other community or workplace resources.
  5. Follow up. Giving them a call, sending a text, and other forms of contact are an important part of showing support and preventing suicide.

Patients are not the only ones who may be at risk. Our peers in healthcare may be at risk, too. We can help prevent suicide by being aware of these warning signs and by our willingness to act.