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How to Protect Your Peace During Mental Health Awareness Month

This Mental Health Awareness Month, we invite you to explore what self-care and inner peace mean to you and how they relate to mental resilience and overall happiness. Discover a few practical ways to protect your peace now and throughout the year.

Emily Becker By Emily Becker
Girl throwing up peace signs and sticking out her tongue

Updated on May 21, 2024

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Spring has sprung, and we’re excited to usher in this spring by celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month at Grow Therapy. This is an opportune moment to remind ourselves of the profound importance of mental health support. Established to shed light on mental health issues and reduce stigma, this month guides us toward greater awareness and understanding of the impact our mental health has on our overall well-being.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, we invite you to explore what self-care and inner peace mean to you and how they relate to mental resilience and overall happiness. In celebration of this month, these are a few practical ways to protect your peace now and throughout the year.

Understanding the Importance of Mental Peace

Mental peace is a harmonious state where emotional, psychological, and social well-being align to foster a sense of overall contentment and stability. This equilibrium allows us to function at our best in daily activities, respond to stress effectively, and maintain healthy relationships. It is crucial in buffering us against the trials of everyday life and nurturing resilience, so we can face the challenges we encounter daily.

When our mental peace is disrupted, it affects more than just our mood; it permeates every aspect of our health. Anxiety, stress, and turmoil in our mental state can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and a compromised immune system. Beyond physical health, disrupted mental peace can impair our decision-making abilities, strain relationships, and decrease productivity. This connectivity amplifies why maintaining mental peace is central to maintaining both mental and physical balance.

Protect Your Peace with 3 Core Self-Care Strategies

Maintaining mental peace isn’t just a luxury but a necessity. Here are some effective strategies to help you get there.

Setting Boundaries

Preserving our mental peace starts with setting boundaries. Boundaries help us define what we are comfortable with and how we wish to be treated by those around us, encompassing emotional, physical, and digital aspects of our lives.

Emotional boundaries might involve protecting your energy by not taking on others’ emotional burdens. Physical boundaries could include personal space or deciding who you allow into your home. Digital boundaries are increasingly important in our connected world, like limiting social media use or not checking work emails during personal time.

To establish and maintain these boundaries, communication is key. Clearly articulate your boundaries to loved ones and those around you. Sticking to your boundaries once they are set is crucial, which might require you to reinforce them periodically. Remember, setting boundaries is a form of self-respect and is vital for your inner peace.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools for maintaining mental peace. These practices help us stay present and engaged in the moment without overthinking past events or worrying about the future. The benefits are profound: reduced stress, enhanced emotional health, and improved concentration.

Simple mindfulness exercises include focused deep breathing, where you concentrate solely on your breath, or mindful eating, which involves paying close attention to the experience of eating. Meditation might begin with short guided sessions, using apps or online videos to help you practice. Even a few minutes a day can make a significant difference in your mental health. You can find more mindfulness practice ideas here.

Experts at the National Institute of Mental Health also cite practicing gratitude as a core strategy for fostering mental well-being. Gratitude is an integral part of mindfulness, and you can practice it by starting your day by writing down what you’re grateful for each morning.

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

The role of diet, exercise, and sleep cannot be overstated when it comes to mental health. These elements of a healthy lifestyle work together to improve physical health, which in turn, enhances mental clarity and emotional stability.

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains provides the necessary nutrients to fuel your body and mind, curbing your risk for health problems. Regular physical activity releases endorphins that boost mood and reduce anxiety and stress, whether it’s yoga, walking, or more vigorous exercise. Remember that moving a little is always better than not moving at all. Grow provider Eshan Sun, MFT, confirms this;

“When it comes to improving our mood, there’s no medication more effective than exercise. Eating healthy is a close second,” he says.

Mental illness and physical illness are both linked to lack of sleep, and most adults need between 7 and 9 hours per night to stay healthy. Good sleep hygiene involves consistent sleep schedules, a relaxing bedtime routine, and a comfortable sleep environment.

Integrating these healthy habits into your daily life is within your reach, and incremental changes can make a significant impact. Start with manageable goals, like adding more vegetables to your meals, taking short walks during your work breaks, or setting a nightly bedtime alarm to remind you to start winding down.

If you start now, during Mental Health Awareness Month, imagine what you could accomplish before the year is over.

Utilizing Support Systems

Leaning on others and leveraging support systems is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength! Finding a network of resources and emotional backing can make all the difference during challenging times.

Professional Help

Knowing when to seek professional help is key to managing your mental health effectively. If you find your emotions are consistently overwhelming, if you’re experiencing persistent sadness, anxiety, or irritability, or if your mental state is interfering with your basic daily functions, such as difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness or just not feeling like yourself, it might be time to seek professional advice.

Seeing a mental health professional online, in the sanctity of their home, can be life-changing.

- Judith Armstrong, PMHNP

Mental health professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed counselors, offer a range of services tailored to different needs. These experts can provide therapy, medication management, and personalized strategies to cope with mental health issues.

Seeing a mental health professional in person can feel daunting, which is why Grow provider Judith Armstrong, PMHNP recommends exploring online options. She says,

“It is more and more common to seek mental health care in the form of telemedicine. This is fortunate for many individuals, especially those who live in rural areas with limited access to mental health care providers. Seeing a mental health professional online, in the sanctity of their home, can be life-changing,” Armstrong says.

Even therapists have therapists, and there’s no need to wait until your emotions feel overwhelming to seek professional guidance. In fact, connecting with a counselor during the good times can help us deepen our understanding of ourselves and cultivate more inner peace.

Community and Social Support

Being part of a community can provide an invaluable sense of belonging and shared experience. Since the pandemic, our understanding of the importance of community has increased drastically. A sense of belonging goes hand-in-hand with emotional support, practical help in times of need, and the opportunity to enjoy the company of those who might share similar interests or insights.

Not sure where to start? Consider joining a local club, attending community events, or volunteering. Well-moderated online forums and social media groups are also great places to find support and connection, especially if you are dealing with specific issues or if physical gatherings are not possible. Empathy, understanding, and a shared commitment to protecting inner peace are on the other side of finding community and belonging for you, your friends, and your family members.

If the gathering is outdoors, even better! The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) says that being immersed in nature is one of the most effective ways to combat mild depression and anxiety symptoms.

Food for Thought this Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to engage deeply with both personal and community mental health issues through targeted activities and educational opportunities.

Awareness Activities to Know About

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Month, many companies and communities offer opportunities aimed at raising awareness and fostering dialogue around mental health. Participating in these activities not only enhances personal understanding but also helps to strengthen community bonds. See if your community hosts events such as mental health walks, advocacy campaigns, or art installations that highlight the importance of mental health. These are all fantastic opportunities to boost your mental well-being and help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health discussions for Americans.

Educational Opportunities

Mental Health Awareness Month is also replete with educational opportunities designed to enhance understanding and provide valuable resources. Expert-led webinars, workshops, and seminars are available on many platforms, often at no cost. For example, the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) hosts several during the month of May and throughout the year.

Therapeutic Approaches to Enhancing Mental Peace

Exploring different approaches with a licensed therapist can be incredibly effective in enhancing mental peace, offering various pathways to better manage emotions and stress.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Helping individuals manage stress and anxiety by reshaping negative thought patterns, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of many pathways to fostering mental peace. CBT operates on the principle that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected and that altering one can positively influence others.

This therapy modality helps individuals identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and gradually replace them with more realistic and positive ones. CBT benefits include improved mood, reduced anxiety, and better stress management, making it a powerful tool for those seeking to enhance their mental peace.

Creative Therapies

Art, dance and music therapies offer unique ways to express and process emotions without words, facilitating a profound sense of tranquility and creative catharsis. Drawing, painting, or making music can be therapeutic, helping to alleviate stress and improve mood. These forms of therapy provide a safe outlet for expression and reflection, often leading to significant insights and emotional release. Note that all creative therapies involve working with a therapist, just in a different way.

Mental Health Awareness Month is your chance to set an intention to prioritize your inner peace. Setting boundaries, practicing mindfulness, engaging in healthy lifestyle choices, utilizing support systems, and exploring therapeutic approaches like CBT and art therapy are all effective strategies to support your path to zen.

Help is within reach, and finding the right support is vital. Visit Grow Therapy to connect with a provider who can guide you toward a more peaceful and fulfilling state of mind. Make this month the start of your journey to better mental health.

FAQs

  • First, set clear boundaries to manage your emotional, physical, and digital interactions, ensuring they align with your comfort levels. Second, engage in mindfulness and meditation practices that help anchor you in the present moment and reduce stress. Third, maintain a healthy lifestyle by focusing on a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and adequate sleep, as these factors significantly impact your mental and physical health. Fourth, utilize support systems by seeking professional help when needed and relying on community and social support for additional backing. Lastly, consider engaging in therapeutic activities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), art therapy, or music therapy to process emotions creatively and constructively.

  • Participating in community events, sharing personal stories and educational content on social media, and advocating for mental health policies can raise awareness about mental health. Organizing or joining activities such as workshops, webinars, and public discussions during Mental Health Awareness Month also contributes significantly to the cause.

  • Support can come from various sources including mental health professionals like therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Community groups, online forums, and local organizations also offer support. Additionally, resources like helplines and websites provide immediate assistance and information.

This article is not meant to be a replacement for medical advice. We recommend speaking with a therapist for personalized information about your mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who can offer support and address any questions or concerns. If you or your child is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should dial 9-1-1 and/or go to the nearest emergency room.

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