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Springing Into Better Emotional Health

Springing Into Better Emotional Health

Building Better Mental Health Habits

Just like your physical health, it is essential to look after your emotional health and wellness, too. Drawing inspiration from the spring season, it's time to build healthier habits to allow your mental health and wellness to blossom!

Too Much Stress Can Impact Your Mental Health

Although it’s normal for everyone to experience elevated levels of stress from time to time, prolonged exposure to your body’s stress response, including the hormones your body releases to deal with the stress, can take a toll on your emotional health. When your stress response becomes chronic, it’s harder for hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline to return to normal levels, prolonging their effect on the brain.

Some behavioral health symptoms that can be brought on by prolonged exposure to stress hormones include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Concentration issues
  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Anger and irritability
  • Memory issues
  • Trouble regulating emotions

Why Healthy Coping Mechanisms Are Important

When dealing with persistently high levels of stress, it can be easy to turn to alcohol and other mind-altering drugs to cope with distressing emotions like anxiety and depression. Although this may provide temporary relief, use of drugs and alcohol abuse can lead to substance abuse and addiction issues. This makes it imperative that you find healthy ways to manage negative emotions.

Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

Write it Out

If you ever had a diary growing up, you may be familiar with the idea of writing down your inner thoughts to help you to feel better. There is evidence to suggest that journaling and writing out your thoughts is an excellent way to cope with distressing feelings such as anxiety and depression.

Writing in a journal gives you the opportunity to express yourself openly without the fear of judgement or backlash for your words. Along with giving you a place to vent, keeping a journal helps you to become better at managing your emotions by helping you:

  • Reduce stress levels
  • Manage feelings of anxiety
  • Improve verbal communication skills
  • Improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Prioritize better
  • Track day-to-day symptoms
  • Identify common triggers for distressing emotions

If you think journaling might be for you, here are some tips to help get your mental health journal started:

  • Get a journal that you really like or that you feel represents you
  • Dedicate this journal to only writing about your inner thoughts and feelings
  • Always keep a pen with your journal
  • Try to write something in your journal every day
  • Write out what you feel without censoring or editing yourself

Remember that there are no rules for your journal. You are allowed to write, draw, scribble and create however you like when expressing yourself. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, grab a pen and your notebook and spend some time getting to know yourself!

Stay in Touch with Loved Ones

Another way to cope with stress and other negative emotions is to stay connected with friends and family. Although we are all still doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, you can still find support from loved ones in the following ways:

  • Have regular phone and video calls
  • Watch movies and television shows together that you can discuss afterward
  • Organize group chats with friends and family to stay connected in one place
  • Take online classes together
  • Spend time together outdoors doing activities, such as bike riding or hiking

Get Regular Exercise

Staying physically active is another excellent way to help cope with feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. As we continue to spend more time at home, it provides an excellent opportunity to dedicate time to developing a fitness routine that will help your mental health, too.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways that you can remain active at home, with or without workout equipment. Here are some workouts you can try:

  • Yoga and dynamic stretching
  • Online workout classes
  • Jogging or walking around your neighborhood
  • Taking a walk around your favorite park or hiking trail
  • Deep cleaning your house
  • Indoor or outdoor gardening

Catch Up On Rest

Although many of us are guilty of shaving off a few hours of sleep every now and then to make our days more productive, there is a direct relationship between how much sleep we get and how we feel. Along with being critical to your physical health, getting enough good-quality rest also helps to support your emotional wellness.

Studies have shown that the brain activity experienced during sleep can positively impact your mental health. Improving your sleep quality can help to ward off symptoms associated with the following mental health issues:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Some tips to help you get a better night’s rest include:

  • Keep your room dark and cool
  • Make your bedroom an electronic-free zone
  • Try to go to bed at the same time every night
  • Wake up around the same time every morning
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine before bed
  • Start getting ready for bed 30 minutes before actually getting in bed
  • Take a warm shower or bath to help you relax

If you follow all of these tips, and you still find yourself struggling with your mental health, know that it is okay to reach out for help if you need it. Speak with your primary care doctor or reach out directly to a mental health professional.

Primary and Specialty Care in Ohio

The Southwest General Medical Group, Inc. includes both primary care and specialty care physicians who are committed to providing patients with high-quality medical care. Our team of board-certified specialists and skilled physicians work to raise the bar for excellence in health care service for our community. To learn more about our primary and specialty care services or schedule an appointment, visit our website.