Mental Health Matters: Ways to Improve your Mental Health

Written by Nancy Miller, Founder & Director, 1n5, and Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Marketing, Downtown Main Library

May is Mental Health Awareness Month is a great time to check your mental health and incorporate healthy habits and techniques all year round.

Four Methods to Improving Your Mental Health

One in 5 people will experience a mental health condition at some point in their life; however everyone can take care of their mental health to meet the challenges of life in the healthiest way possible. There is no one size fits all approach to attending to our mental health, but here are some ideas that you can try out:

1. Gratitude

Gratitude doesn’t mean we are living in the land of constant sunshine or toxic positivity. Rather, it’s the act of searching for a few small things that you are grateful for even amidst the challenges you're experiencing. By participating in a month-long gratitude challenge, like writing down three things you're grateful for each day without repeating anything, we can train our brains to notice the positive things that exist amongst the difficult.

Sometimes, expressing how you’re feeling about mental health can help, and can even be done as a family by reading together:

2. Breathing

When we experience a stressful situation, our body's stress response is activated. This is often referred to as the fight/flight/freeze/fawn response. Practicing 4-7-8 breathing, opens a new window can help calm our body and daily practice can prepare you to tap into the breathing technique when you need it. Add calming music to this exercise using Freegal, opens a new window (free with your library card) to tune out distractions and focus on your breathing.

3. Three Daily Questions

Dr. Brene Brown interviewed author and activist Karen Walrond and asked how she finds joy amidst times of struggle. Walrond shared one practice of asking herself three questions each day to illuminate how she is feeling and what actions she might take to feel more well:

  • How can I feel connected today?
  • How can I feel healthy today?
  • How can I feel purposeful today?

Explore more lessons from Dr. Brene Brown in CHPL’s collection, opens a new window.

4. Find a Mental Health Provider

Getting help from a trained mental health provider may be the best place to start when taking care of our mental health. MindPeace Cincinnati’s, opens a new window tool to search for community providers is a great resource to find providers right for you.

Try one or two of these practices during May and see how you feel. Tap into one of these strategies daily so you can turn it into a routine practice.

Learn more about mental health and wellness by participating in 1n5’s month-long “Get Curious About Mental Health, opens a new window” campaign and exploring CHPL’s collection of mental health resources, including this list of nonfiction and fiction books for teens, opens a new window.